TRADEMARK OWNERS CAN ACT NOW TO PROTECT RIGHTS BEFORE DOT-BIZ AND DOT-INFO DOMAIN NAMES REGISTERED TO OTHERS

Recently the .biz and .info top-level domain names have been approved. This creates new risks for trademark owners who should act now to protect trademarks against potential cybersquatters or other users. Trademark holders must act before July 9, 2001 to avail themselves of the fullest protection from third parties that may register .biz domain names based on the trademark owners' registered or common law trademarks. Trademark owners with national trademark registrations must act before about July 29, 2001 to avail themselves of the fullest protection from use of their trademarks in .info domain names. Each top-level domain has its own associated procedure that permits trademark owners certain opportunities for additional protection.The .biz domain name registration process is controlled by Neulevel, Inc. Neulevel allows IP claims to be staked by trademark owners. By filing an IP claim, applicants who apply for a particular domain name that matches a trademark for which an IP claim is filed, are alerted of the trademark. Therefore, anyone who registers or attempts to register a domain name matching a trademark for which an IP claim is filed, will be informed of the name of the trademark owner, a description of the goods and services, and the date on which the mark was first used in commerce, as well as the person to whom to address legal correspondence. This allows trademark owners to work out any conflicts in advance of a domain name ending with a .biz extension being used and to alert cybersquatters and would be infringers of trademark rights. In addition, filing an IP claim before the deadline provides claimants with entry into the start-up trademark opposition policy (STOP) for resolving conflicts.The .info domain name registration process is controlled by Afilias. The registration process for these domain names have an early application process available to trademark owners with national registrations. Therefore trademark owners are provided the first opportunity to register .info domain names.


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