Companies have been urged to protect their trademarks online following the decision earlier this year by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) to introduce a new top-level Internet domain for the adult entertainment industry.
Mike du Toit, director in the intellectual property department at Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs, says there is a risk that company’s trademarks could be registered under the new .xxx top-level domain.
“It’s not difficult to recognise the marketing potential of domain names such as Viagra.xxx, Barbie.xxx or ToyRUs.xxx for online adult entertainment websites,” Du Toit says.
But, he says, there is a way out for companies that want to protect their intellectual property being used in the new top-level domain. “Provision is made for trademark owners to register their trademark defensively within the .xxx top-level domain,” he says. “Once blocked, no party will be able to register a domain containing a trademark proprietor’s property.”
From 7 September to 28 October, trademark owners outside the adult entertainment industry can apply to have their trademarks reserved as a domain name in .xxx, in which case those trademarks will be prevented from being registered as future domain names, Du Toit says.
“This blocking of such domain names is a once-off process that will permanently remove those domain names from the pool of available domain names.” — Staff reporter, TechCentral