Until now, we were familiar with .com, .net, .es and .it, but we will now encounter domains such as .microsoft, .apple, .paris, .madrid, .hotel, .turismo, .shop. On 12 January, the term opened for submitting new applications and the enterprises that decide to opt for these new domains have until 12 April next to complete all the procedures.

The ICANN (the body with the power to assign domain names) plans to publish a list of the applications submitted 15 days after said date.

Regardless of whether or not they have decided to go for a new domain, businesses need to be watchful of the coming situation and monitor the proposals that have been submitted for several reasons.

On one hand, to make sure that the applications do not enter into conflict with their marks.

On the other, to keep informed about the new domain names that arise in case they are interested in registering a domain for the activity sector to which they belong to prevent it from being used by third parties.

In other words, the new gTLDs (domains) that have been announced could be, among others, .game, .hotel, .radio, .shop, .wine, .food,  etc. 

If I own a trademark and belong to the radio sector and the owner of the new .radio  opens its register to the community, I will have to assess whether or not I am interested in registering my trademark under the domain.

This is why it is important to monitor the applications that are to be submitted.

The domain situation will be topsy-turvy this year and businesses will have to adopt a number of measures to avoid possible violations caused by the registration of these new domains.

The ICANN itself has drawn up a number of mechanisms to counter any possible conflicts, including the creation of a database to query marks and to inform owners when third parties try to register them as a domain.

That is why businesses need to register their trademarks with this soon-to-be-created organisation (Trademark Clearinghouse). 

An agreement has also been adopted to launch a process that blocks the domain immediately in evident cases of piracy affecting the new gTLDs and there are plans for it to be extended to every domain. With this procedure, the domain can be blocked in 24 hours.

In view of the situation, businesses need to adopt control and surveillance measures to afford their marks greater protection and to ensure that the appearance of new domains does not have a negative effect on the company.

From the domains department, we will continue to keep you informed of events as they happen and the various service proposals for you to monitor your mark and avoid possible conflicts arising from the launch of the new domains.