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.XXX Domain Names: Rollout Starts in September 2011

The rollout of the .XXX domain is scheduled to start in September with a Sunrise Period lasting approximately 30 days. The Sunrise Period will give brand owners the opportunity to exclude their trademarks as .XXX domain names.

Here are the basics.

What are .XXX domain names?

These are domain names that are intended to be used by parties in the adult industry.

Why is the launch of the .XXX extension relevant to brand owners OUTSIDE the adult industry?

Once .XXX domain name registrations begin, nothing will prevent a party from attempting to buy domain names consisting of the trademarks of others, even if those trademarks have already been registered as domain names using existing extensions.

How can brand owners protect their trademarks?

The rollout of the .XXX domain names will begin with a Sunrise Period, where trademark owners may either exclude or reserve their trademarks within the .XXX system. The Sunrise Period will last about 30 days.

What type of evidence of rights does a brand owner need to provide?

Only registered trademarks may be relied upon. A trademark application or common law trademark rights are not sufficient. As well, the excluded domain name must be identical to the trademark registration. A copy of the trademark registration will be sufficient.

Does my mark need to be registered by a certain date?

You can rely on a trademark registration that was registered by the Sunrise Period.

Can a licensee apply during the sunrise period?

Yes. Trademark licensees applying to block or reserve a given domain name will also have to submit a form, executed by both the applicant and the registered owner of the relevant trademark, authorizing the applicant to proceed with the reservation application.

How much will it cost per domain name during the Sunrise Period?

The estimated cost will be US $200-300 per domain. This is a one time fee.

How long will a block on a domain name last?

Right now it’s at least 10 years. However, this could change.

During the Sunrise Period, what if I apply to exclude my mark and another party at the same time applies to get my mark to use as a domain name?

The party applying to use the domain name will be advised of your rights. However, ultimately it will have the option to register and use the domain name.

If my company secures a .XXX domain name will it show me as the owner?

This is undecided as of yet. However, ultimately brand owners should be able to conceal their identities by way of a privacy service at the Registrar level.

What happens to the trademarks I launch after the Sunrise Period, or if I miss the Sunrise Period entirely?

After the Sunrise Period, there will be a 14 day quiet period followed by a Landrush Period lasting approximately 14 days. After this stage, the General Registration Phase will begin, which is first come first serve. Both the Landrush Period and the General Registration Phase will be reserved for members of the adult industry. 

Down the line, will the UDRP apply to .XXX domain names?

Yes. As well, a rapid takedown procedure is being contemplated to pull sites down within 48 hours in obvious cases of abusive registrations.

What should we do next?

Determine which of your marks you want to protect and start preparing for the September launch. No specific date in September, however, has been assigned.

If you have any questions, please contact your Gowlings professional.

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