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But there is no time to waste! The public at large is slowly becoming conscious of the revolution that is coming on the Internet: the more than 1,300 new generic Top-Level Domains that will soon join the .COM, .BIZ and .NET extensions. The benefits are obvious: thanks to their incredible diversity, they offer every company or individual the opportunity to get a domain name that clearly expresses its identity, and that is cheaper than the more expensive and rare .COM domain names. However, what most of them do not know is that time is beginning to run short: if you want to register your trademark or the name of your company, or even an ordinary generic term like thefastest.taxi or manchester.immo, you need to act NOW!
Good domain names are becoming scarce. Fortunately, a few years ago, ICANN, the organisation in charge of the Internet domains, has taken the drastic decision to completely open the Internet by allowing new generic Top-Level Domains. 1,300 applications have been submitted. For trademarks, such as .ACER, .LOREAL and .YAHOO. For geographic TLDs: cities like .GENT, .AMSTERDAM and .BERLIN, but also regions like .VLAANDEREN, .SCOT (Scotland) and .FRL (Frisia). For generic TLDs related to certain sectors, lifestyles, hobbies or sports: .TAXI, .TRADE, .BAR, .CAFE, .DIET, .FILM and .ART, but also .FUN and .BUZZ. In short, there is something for everybody.
Sunrise & General Availability
Strict procedures have been put into place to make sure that the launch of the gTLDs does not turn into chaos. For each new gTLD, there is a Sunrise period, where trademark owners and companies get the opportunity to register the name of their brand or company before the others. Only after that can the domain names be registered by the public at large (general availability).
And that is where the problem lies. Many trademark owners and companies are not aware that, for several new gTLDs, the Sunrise period has already begun – sometimes, it is even closed! They also do not know about the existence of the TradeMark Clearing House, a procedure that was designed to automatically protect trademark owners and companies – and that is a real shame.
Trademark Clearing House & Trademark Claims Notifications
You must know that, after a one-time registration in the TMCH database, which contains all sorts of registered trademarks and company names, your brand name is automatically reserved during the Sunrise period of each new gTLD that is launched, without any obligation to actually register domain names. After the Sunrise period, the Trademark Claims Notifications system also enters into force during a certain period: when someone wants to register a domain of which the word matches the trademarks you registered with the TMCH, the TMCH will notify this person of the fact that the name he/she wants to register is a registered trademark. If this person registers the domain anyway, you will be notified, which will enable you to take the necessary measures.
First come, first served
Time is also running short for all those who want to register a more generic domain name in the new gTLDs, like thecosiest.bar. As soon as a new gTLD is launched and made available to the public at large, there is no time to lose, because who comes first gets served first. This is why you should use the free pre-registration system that companies like Combell, the hosting company from Ghent, provides. There, you will also find the many new gTLDs that are (or will be) available, so that you can find some inspiration for a domain name that gives you a clear identity online. No more neutral Jansen.com or Jansen.be, the time has come for Jansen.SHOES, .TOYS or .FLOWERS. Make sure you do not miss the boat!
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