Hundreds of new top-level domains (nTLDs) have been introduced since 2013, opening up a range of new opportunities for companies representing leading brands to expand their domain portfolios. The downside to this is that many new opportunities for cybersquatters are also created. These fraudsters unlawfully secure new top level domains with well-known brand names for themselves, which they then abuse by using them for dubious transactions.
Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH)
Protecting your brand in relation to new top level domains
For brand owners who have already registered their brand name with the TMCH, there is the Trademark Registry Exchange (TREx). This enables unauthorised domain registrations by third parties to be blocked. By also entering a brand-related term in the domain protected marks list (DPML) over 200 new TLDs containing this brand term are also blocked following the sunrise phase.
In order to protect companies from the increased level of risk, ICANN has established the Trademark Clearinghouse. The platform was provided by IBM and Deloitte and since being established has performed valuable work in the field of brand protection.
Functions of the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH)
Companies can register their brand names with the Trademark Clearinghouse and then gain access to the sunrise registration for new gTLD registries and to the Trademark Claims Service.
Each new top level domain has an obligatory sunrise phase which lasts for at least 30 days. During this period, a matching brand domain with the new extension can be secured for a company registered with the TMCH. After expiry of the sunrise phase, ANYBODY- i.e. also fraudsters – is able to register the brand domain with the nTLD.
Trademark Claims Service
In order to ensure brand protection following the sunrise phase, ICANN has introduced a notification service: As soon as a domain is registered with a brand name which is known to the TMCH, the registrant is informed. However, if the registrant continues with the registration, the brand owner is informed and, if necessary, can take action against this.
Trademark Clearinghouse guidelines
By registering brand names in the TMCH, the regular brand domains such as trademark.sport or trademark.food are monitored and protected. Composite domains with additional generic or geographic terms such as trademark-city.nrw or trademark-buy.app are not protected.
In the case of word marks with specific symbols such as “&”, specific domain combinations can be specified which are to be protected.
For example, the following domain names could be protected for the brand A & B: ab, a-b, aandb, aand-b, a-and-b, a-and-b, etc.
- Brands with a dot, which are equivalent to a domain, may not be submitted. For example: .icann or icann.org is not possible.
- Brands with a hyphen are also be entered with this as a possible domain string. The variant without a hyphen is not possible.
Competent assistance with TMCH registration
Would you like to know which brands are appropriate for registration in the TMCH and how many different domains you are able to secure? Want to know how to provide Proof of Use? The experienced brand experts at EBRAND Services are happy to advise you.
You do not need to do anything. Instead, allow us to enter all the data required and forward it to the Trademark Clearinghouse.
Thanks to EBRAND Services, you will never again miss the launch of a relevant top level domain. We inform you of the sunrise phases in good time and also provide you with information about possible registration requirements.
When using the TMCH via EBRAND Services, there’s no need to transfer the registration fee via credit card to ICANN. Instead you receive a proper invoice from us.