New adult domain: companies need to act

Companies have been urged to protect their trademarks online following the decision earlier this year by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) to introduce a new top-level Internet domain for the adult entertainment industry.

Mike du Toit, director in the intellectual property department at Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs, says there is a risk that company’s trademarks could be registered under the new .xxx top-level domain.

“It’s not difficult to recognise the marketing potential of domain names such as, or for online adult entertainment websites,” Du Toit says.

But, he says, there is a way out for companies that want to protect their intellectual property being used in the new top-level domain. “Provision is made for trademark owners to register their trademark defensively within the .xxx top-level domain,” he says. “Once blocked, no party will be able to register a domain containing a trademark proprietor’s property.”

From 7 September to 28 October, trademark owners outside the adult entertainment industry can apply to have their trademarks reserved as a domain name in .xxx, in which case those trademarks will be prevented from being registered as future domain names, Du Toit says.

“This blocking of such domain names is a once-off process that will permanently remove those domain names from the pool of available domain names.”  — Staff reporter, TechCentral

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  • Robert MacLean

    Considering .xxx is the start of gTLD (Generic Top Level Domains) how often will this be since the number of TLD’s that will appear over the next few years is going to spike.

    Sounds like a lot of work for copyright lawyers but no real easy process for people and businesses to use.


    But what does the future really hold for ICANN’s new TLDs?

    Bearing in mind that ICANN won’t allow applications from
    individuals or sole proprietorships, effectively ignoring the interests of the
    vast majority of Internet users worldwide.  Add in non-refundable deposits of $185,000 per
    extension, $500,000 for “integration” plus potentially unlimited
    annual costs and expenses etc, and how many new TLDs will actually see the
    light of day?  Is this a commercial
    venture or simply a loss making exercise in vanity?   

    ICANN’s main aim has always been to convince Internet users
    they’re the only game in town and to try and herd everyone into a tiny part of
    an otherwise infinite universe….but that’s like telling people that the only
    place they can shop anywhere on Earth is a “convenient” Kroger store in
    Cincinnati.   Yes, the current ICANN
    Internet set-up may be “convenient” right now, but then some years ago sending
    a telegram was convenient and sending an email meant inventing the computer
    (and World Wide Web).  So….before
    making any “investment”, it’s worth considering whether instead of
    bringing organisations to the forefront, ICANN’s new TLDs will actually isolate
    you.  It’s also worth considering that
    the Internet is evolving with more fitting and less expensive options are
    coming on-stream.  

    Increasingly ICANN finds itself under pressure to
    modify.  The rules have changed and
    Alternatives are already available; for example as well as “Dotcoms”,
    there are now free “Dashcoms” (at sites like, you can already
    create domains like “sports-com” or “happy-birthday” at zero
    cost).   As ICANN realises that
    competition is finally at hand, the true value (or the true cost) of their TLD
    “opportunities” will become all too apparent.  Still, look on the bright side, at least
    ICANN and their associates will have made money from your efforts.   

    Disclaimer: Author provides dashcom (not dotcom) domain


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