–Sharon Armstrong, Attorney

Today ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, better known as the company that basically runs the Internet, begins accepting applications for generic top level domains.  Most users know top level domains such as .com, .org, .edu…and even .xxx.  Now, under this new program, organizations can apply to use virtually any term, including words in non-Latin languages, such as Cyrillic, Chinese or Arabic.

Since Susan’s post about the introduction of ICANN’s new program here, ICANN has been busy putting together a slew of information about how organizations can obtain a generic top level domain, including an exhaustive 349-page guide.  Here are some of the highlights:

  • Any established public or private organization anywhere in the world can apply to create and operate a new generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) registry.
  • An applicant for a new gTLD is applying to create and operate a registry business supporting the Internet’s domain name system. This involves a number of significant responsibilities, as the operator of a new gTLD is running a piece of visible Internet infrastructure.
  • Trademark owners cannot reserve their trademarks.  However, registries will be required to operate sunrise or intellectual property claims services for the protection of trademarks.
  • Certain terms, other than private party trademarks, are off-limits.  These include “AFRINIC,” “RIPE,” “INVALID,” and “WHOIS.”
  • No numbers or dashes – new gTLD’s must consist entirely of letters.
  • Formal objections to an application – including objections based on trademarks – will begin two weeks after the close of the application window.

Find out more about the whole shebang here.