On 20 June 2011, ICANN’s Board approved a program that will add to familiar top-level domains such as .com, .org, and .net, the possibility of having almost any word in any language as a top-level domain. This massive expansion of the number of possible domain names calls for an equally significant communications campaign to raise global awareness about the program. The rest of 2011 is a communications period dedicated to raising awareness around the world about the opportunity and risks associated with applying for a new gTLD. The Application period opens 2012-01-12 and will run for 90 days (until 2012-04-12), and the evaluation fee is set at $185,000, with approximately a one-year approval cycle. This is sure to raise a number of trademark battles and be an expensive new vanity asset for organizations, particularly multi-national corporations.
IP attorneys need to be advising their corporate clients about this, so steps can be taken to protect corporate tradenames and trademarks.
For information, see the ICANN new gTLD FAQ sheet
For those interested in possibly applying there is an Applicant’s Guidebook.
ICANN has issued a request for proposals (RFP). The objective of the RFP is to retain an advertising agency to help ICANN develop, implement and measure the success of a global advertising and awareness campaign for new generic top-level domains (new gTLDs), stating:.
“Please review the attached RFP for an overview of the program, our vision and proposal requirements. Send any questions about the RFP to email@example.com by 11 July 2011. Responses to inquiries will be posted to a community wiki by 13 July 2011. All responses are due by 8:00a Pacific time, Monday, 18 July.
RFP – New gTLD Global Awareness Campaign
http://www.icann.org/en/topics/new-gtlds/rfp-new-gtld-global-awareness-campaign-05jul11-en.pdf [PDF, 633 KB]”