The current domain name system, which has 22 generic top level domains or gTLDs (.com .net ,org etc), and 248 country code top level domains, (one for each country) .es .pt .mx etc. is about to undergo a radical change as ICANN, (the internet international regulatory organisation for domain names) has approved the assignation of new generic top-level domains or gTLDs for registered trademarks, countries, generic names etc. (.hotels, .food, .barcelona, .zara, .book, etc.).

With the advent of these new gTLDs, there is a likelihood that conflicts between domain names and trademarks will increase, and in order to safeguard these intellectual property rights, ICANN has set up the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH).

The Trademark Clearinghouse is a worldwide database which will protect registered trademark holders in any country in the world from third parties registering a domain name with one of the new gTLDs that may coincide with a registered trademark.

Registered trademark holders (for example, in Spain) may file an application to register their mark at the Trademark Clearinghouse for a period of one, three or five years.

The Trademark Clearinghouse has a two- pronged approach:

  • It will enable trademark holders who have filed their mark at the Trademark Clearinghouse and who have attested to its use, to choose to register a gTLD (for example,, etc.) during the so-called Sunrise phase, or that of preferential registration. Only trademarks registered at the Trademark Clearinghouse may request a gTLD during this phase.
  • If a third party files a gTLD which coincides with a trademark filed at the Trademark Clearinghouse, the holder of that mark will be notified so that they may decide if they want to block the domain in question (because its registration would be detrimental to the trademark owner).

HERRERO & ASOCIADOS will undertake registration of your marks at the Trademark Clearinghouse in an efficient and responsible manner and keep you regularly informed of any events, in the defence of your interests.

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