TMCH gets its first .jobs


The introduction of new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) has seen the creation of new rights protection mechanisms (RPMs) which seek to safeguard the rights of trademark holders under the new gTLDs, both during the pre-launch sunrise period and, going forward, when domain name registrations will be made generally available.

Underpinning these new RPMs is the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH). The TMCH will provide authenticated trademark information worldwide to new gTLD registries and to domain name registrars, and will act as a central repository for trademark data to be used for the RPMs for all of the new gTLDs. By submitting their trademark data to the TMCH on a one-time basis, brand owners will be able to protect their trademarks across all of the new gTLDs as they launch. The TMCH is a new concept that has been introduced as part of the new gTLD programme and, as such, it has never been used before. However, this is about to change as a result of the liberalisation of the existing sponsored top-level domain (sTLD) ‘.jobs’.

‘.jobs’ was one of the sTLDs that were applied for during the 2003/2004 application round and was delegated to the root in 2005. The ‘.jobs’ sTLD is operated by Employ Media LLC and is sponsored by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Initially, registrations under the ‘.jobs’ sTLD were restricted to companies and entities that were members of the SHRM or were actively involved in human resource management for companies. However, Employ Media intend to liberalise the ‘.jobs’ sTLD, which will enable a larger base of potential registrants to apply for domain names under the TLD.

As part of this liberalisation process, Employ Media intends to offer a sunrise period to enable trademark holders to secure domain names before ‘.jobs’ is opened up to a wider audience. Employ Media has elected to use the TMCH to support the sunrise period and this will thus be the first test of the TMCH systems and process on an actual live TLD. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers has welcomed this move by Employ Media and it is being seen as a critical test of how the TMCH will work in support of a sunrise process.

At the time of writing, Employ Media had not confirmed any dates for the sunrise period or whether it would offer protection to trademarks that have not been submitted to the TMCH. While it is highly likely that trademarks from outside of the TMCH will be accepted, it is possible that, in order to simplify the sunrise process, Employ Media may restrict participation in the sunrise period to those trademarks that have been submitted to the TMCH to participate in the ‘.jobs’ sunrise period.

David Taylor and Daniel Madden, Hogan Lovells LLP, Paris

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