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The Trade Mark Clearinghouse: Strengthening Your Trade Marks Against Domain Names

With over a thousand open new generic Top Level Domains (gTLD) launching in 2013 and 2014, ICANN has established a service called the ‘Trade Mark Clearinghouse’ (TMCH). The TMCH will act as a single database of trade marks to help protect brand owners and their rights.

By acting to register their interests, owners of registered trade marks will have a simple and cost effective solution that will help them safeguard their rights and enable participation during the launch periods of the new gTLD program. The TMCH service is not mandatory, however; it will provide a level of brand protection not seen before in the history of the internet.

The TMCH: Key facts

  • Trade mark owners will be able to submit their trade mark information to a centralised repository.

  • Once the trade mark information has been verified, the trade mark owner will be able to select corresponding domain names.

  • Trade mark owners will have the option to be informed when another party attempts to register a domain name that matches their record in the TMCH.

Why participate in the TMCH?

  • The TMCH will afford greater protection against the increasingly common ‘cyber squatters’, including first rights to matching domain names and timely notification of possible domain name conflicts.

  • The TMCH may simplify trade mark portfolio management and minimise the need to engage in costly litigious exercises to defend trade mark rights against domain name holders.

  • Trade mark owners will have the possibility to suspend any domain names that may infringe their registered trade mark.

If you own a trade mark and value your brand, then the TMCH service may be for you.

In order to obtain further information about the TMCH service and how we can help you please contact us at tm@fal-lawyers.com.au

Author: Fabiola Dos Santos, Senior Trade Marks Attorney

15 March 2013