ICANN announces '.name' to launch in New Year


The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has approved '.name' as a new generic top-level domain (gTLD), to be launched on January 15 2002. The deadline for pre-registration of '.name' domains and filing of defensive registrations is December 17 2001. During this period, registrations will be granted on a random basis. After the registry is launched, registrations will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Unlike the two recently approved gTLDs, '.info' and '.biz', '.name' is specifically intended for personal names and will be available in the third level (ie, 'john.doe.name'). For the purposes of registration, a 'personal name' is defined as a person's legal name or a name by which the individual is commonly known, including stage names and pseudonyms. To be eligible for registration, the subject name must be (i) the personal name of an individual, or of a fictional character for which trademark or service mark rights can be claimed, or (ii) a personal name with additional characters (eg, john.doe2.name).

Owners of registered trademarks and service marks, regardless of whether the marks comprise names, can take pre-emptive measures by applying for one of two types of defensive registration, which will continue in force for 10 years. A premium defensive registration will block those seeking registration of exact and confusingly similar variations of registered marks, regardless of whether the subject mark appears on the second or third level. A standard defensive registration will prevent registration of exact matches of a trademark or service mark.

Douglas Wood and Linda Goldstein, Hall Dickler Kent Goldstein & Wood LLP, New York

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