The Trademark ClearingHouse has been set up by ICANN in order to protect the trademark owners with the arrival of hundreds of new extensions (new gTLDs), such as .GURU, .BERLIN, .XYZ, etc.). With a trademark validated by the TMCH and the trademark within the Trademark Data Base (TMDB), the trademark’s owners has 2 advantages:
To be able to register a domain matching exactly the trademark in the TMCH during the priority period (or Sunrise).
To receive the ‘claims notifications’, which are the notifications when a domain is registered under the exact match of the trademark.
However, two recent facts could impact negatively this rights protection mechanism (RPM) for the trademarks owners.
During its 50th meeting in London in June, ICANN has announced that it could release some names which have been blocked for technical reasons. These are the famous names in “Name Collision” (see the link for the article on this topic published by IP Twins below *) for which a list has been established for each extension. See these lists on the ICANN Website, click on "List of SLDs to block" for each extension. The main issue with these ‘released names’ is that there no Sunrise period will apply. It will be for sure an issue for the trademark owners, since, although their trademarks are in the TMCH, they will not be able to register them under the Sunrise priority. Moreover, some “Name Collisions Lists” include trademarks…
The second issue has been raised recently by the .PARIS Registry. This Registry intends to implement a double priority system during the Sunrise period. See the launch program (here. This system would allow a non TMCH trademark, but active in France, to benefit from a priority over a TMCH mark. However, this remains to be approved by ICANN. Although the Registry wants to promote French and Parisian businesses, it seems that this system is a breach of the trademarks owners’ protection such as set up by ICANN. It would send a very bad signal to others registries if approved by ICANN.
*On "Name Collision" please see the article published jointly by IP Twins and Stobbs IP in the Intellectual Property Magazine, May 2014 issue. Click here