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Ten Things You May Not Know About the New gTLDs

By Lynne Boisineau of McDermott Will & Emery LLP

On January 12, 2012, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the nonprofit organization that is responsible for managing the Internet’s top-level domain name space (e.g. , “.com,” “.net,” “.edu,” etc.), will begin accepting applications from established corporations, organizations, or institutions in good standing wishing to create and secure for themselves new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) (for now, applications from individuals or sole proprietorships will not be considered). The application process will be complex and expensive; nonetheless, the possibility of a company owning its own top-level domain is generating a great deal of attention around the globe. Among the chief benefits is that companies will have an opportunity to turn their brand names into gTLDs (e.g., “.canon”, “.unicef,” “.deloitte,” etc.) which may achieve a level of branding of unprecedented proportion. The new gTLDs may also help some companies reduce or possibly eliminate the costs of policing their existing top-level domains (i.e., “.com,” “.net,” “.info,” etc.) for unauthorized uses of their brands as domain names, as such companies migrate from their existing domains to the new gTLD, which would eventually become the location of the company’s only official web presence on the Internet. In addition, companies in a particular industry may form a consortium to apply for an industry-...

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