–Dan Kelly, Attorney

Time is running out to take defensive action for opting registered trademarks out of the forthcoming “.xxx” domain space.  Depending upon the registrar that you use to do this, an opt-out application is due by October 28, 2011, will cost around $300, and will prohibit third parties from registering opted-out trademarks as second level domains in the .xxx space.  For instance, if your company owns the trademark BRAND®, it can prohibit third parties from registering “brand.xxx” as a domain name by filing an opt-out application.  Additional information is available at the ICM Registry website here.  ICM Registry is the sponsor of the .xxx domain space.

As I have detailed elsewhere, the costs for recovering a cybersquatted or typosquatted domain name is typically thousands of dollars, and there is no guarantee that a domain like “brand.xxx” will be recoverable if it is registered.  The opt-out will exempt the relevant trademark from registration as a second-level name for any reason.  While I have heard complaints that this seems like a stick-up, opting out is a relatively cheap defensive measure in the evolving Wild West of the Internet that will make sense for many registered trademark owners.