EXPERT ADVICE

.XXX Sunrise B: Brand Owners, Protect Your Assets!

Now that summer is ending, brand owners need to think about which brand names they will opt out of registering for the .XXX top level domain name (TLD) Sunrise B launch.

As most people are aware, the .XXX registry will be the first TLD targeted at the adult entertainment industry. Trademark owners outside of this industry that want to safeguard their marks from being used with a .XXX Web address can do so during Sunrise B, when they can apply for their mark to be “opted out.”

The ICM Registry, the company behind the .XXX domain, will allow brand owners a 50-day “sunrise period” from Sept. 7 through Oct. 28, so brand owners outside of the adult entertainment community will need to wake up from their summer slumber and decide how many of their top brands they will want to protect with the opt-out provision.

Right to Exclusion

The ICM Registry will verify that the brand owner applying to opt out has a valid trademark registration and then, upon approval, will preclude the mark’s character-string from the registry. This will mean that there will be no website or email for the protected BRAND.XXX. The character string will be directed to a standard page indicating only that the string is blocked from use through ICM’s Rights Protection program and will be blocked from registration.

The corresponding “who is” information will contain standard ICM Registry contact details, so no one will be able to tell whether it was the IP owner or another organization that blocked the term.

Brand owners will not own the .XXX registration but will have bought the right to have their term excluded from registration. This blocking registration will cost between US$200 and $300 per trademark and will run for the length of ICM’s contract with ICANN (at least 10 years).

No Time to Lose

After Sunrise B ends, there will be two more phases: the Landrush period and the General Availability period. The Landrush period will run for approximately 18 days starting on Nov. 8. During this limited period, only members of the adult-sponsored community can apply for .XXX domain names. Apart from being a member of the adult-sponsored community, there are no trademark or pre-ownership rights requirements during this phase of the launch.

The General Availability period will begin Dec. 6, during which .XXX domain names will be allocated to applicants on a first-come, first-served basis. Accredited registrars will accept applications from non-members of the adult-sponsored community for non-resolving .XXX domain names.

The intention is to protect their intellectual property for personal domain names, company domain names, product domain names, etc., which did not have prior qualifying rights under Sunrise A [*] or Sunrise B. This will be the time for brand owners who want to prevent their brand variations from being registered to take advantage of defensive .XXX registrations.

Brand owners that are not in the adult entertainment community need to develop their Sunrise B strategy quickly and begin to assemble their trademark registrations for the marks they would like to protect. With the summer winding down and Sept. 7 quickly approaching, now is the time to put together and execute a strong protection strategy!


*Sunrise A phase is scheduled for Sept. 7 through Oct. 28 and is for members of the adult industry with verifiable trademarks or owners of exact matching domains in other Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) TLDs.

Steve Stolfi is vice president of sales and global partnerhips at Corsearch.

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