ICM Registry, the company that administers the .XXX sponsored top-level domain (sTLD), announced this morning that it was suspending domain registrations “that appear to involve unmistakable, blatant cybersquatting.” The announcement came in the wake of suspicious registrations for famous trademarked names including BusinessWeek.xxx, CNBC.xxx and WashingtonPost.xxx, among others. ICM’s swift move to suspend the questionable registrations is commendable and shows that the registry is committed to protecting trademarks and enforcing its own policies.
However, this morning’s news also highlights a key pitfall of Sunrise Periods: in order to be effective, brands must participate in them. FairWinds recently reported that 75 percent of Fortune500 companies participated in the .XXX Sunrise Period B by blocking either their many company names or names of their key brands. In our view, this high rate of involvement indicates a significant level of awareness of the .XXX Sunrise Period among businesses. Unfortunately, certain companies did not choose to participate, and had to either register their domains defensively, or deal with cybersquatting. With the Internet poised to expand with ICANN’s New gTLD Program, the lessons from the .XXX Sunrise Period—and the precedent set by ICM’s swift response to cybersquatting—will be worth watching.
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