New Registration for .xxx Domain Names

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”) is registering a new top-level domain xxx, despite numerous objections from various groups. Some believe that the creation of the .xxx top-level domain (TLD) will effectively create an official internet ‘red-light district’ while others hope that this will help get the pornographic websites off of the main internet trafficways and into the back alley’s.  Whether you like it or not, companies have to address these issues now, or pay a lot down the road.

Typically, with a new top-level domain, a “land grab” begins with everyone rushing to get great names.  That will selectively begin on November 8, with the general public registration process beginning on December 6th.  However, unlike prior registration processes, the new .xxx registration process is allowing owners of registered trademarks who do not want to see a “.xxx” at the end of their brand name to pre-register to prevent others from tarnishing or stealing their trademark or brand names in connection with the new .xxx domain suffix.

Sunrise Registration .XXX
The registration process allows for different mechanisms for trademark owners to protect their brands in the new .xxx TLD.  If preregistration is not addressed, there is a risk that someone can associate your brand name with sexually explicit material – which may cause customers to be misdirected to when searching for your products or services on the Internet.

The sunset provisions include:

  • a defensive registration process during the “sunrise” period when .xxx takes effect
  • a Start Up Trademark Opposition Procedure (“STOP”)
  • a “Rapid Takedown” procedure for the clearest cases of abusive registrations

Sunrise Process
The sunrise period begins 7 September 2011 until 28 October 2011. During this “sunrise” period for .xxx to take effect, trademark owners not in the adult entertainment industry can request that their registered marks be blocked from registration by third parties using the .xxx domain. This will require payment of a onetime fee.  If you are seeking to preregister an adult website having a registered trademark, you can also preregister your domain name during this same time period.

Registration during the sunrise period, if successful, will allow the trademark owner the ability to reserve or block the registration of its trademark within the .xxx TLD.

Opposition Procedure
If preregistration process is not utilized, the STOP procedure may allow a trademark owner to prevent a proposed infringing use from being activated on the .xxx registry for a limited time, while an opposition procedure takes place.  The STOP procedure must be utilized during this short Oppostion time period, otherwise the domain will be registered.

Rapid Takedown
If a trademark owner wishes to contest the use of a domain name utilizing a trademark within the registered .xxx domain, the trademark owner may initiate a “Rapid Takedown” procedure. In order to initiate such an action, the trademark owner must provide “a short and simple statement of a claim involving a well-known or otherwise inherently distinctive mark and a domain name for which no conceivable good faith basis exists” in the .xxx registry. The claim may be reviewed within 48 hours whether to initiate the rapid takedown procedure, although such determination will not prejudice either party’s ability to pursue another dispute mechanism.

Please contact us if you have any questions regarding the .xxx domain registration process. (913-345-0900)

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