More than 5,000 trademark owners have registered under the Trademark Clearinghouse, a move that will help protect brands ahead of the launch of the new gTLDs.
On Tuesday ICANN said that many businesses still have yet to act, which could leave them at risk to intellectual property infringement.
Launched in March, the Trademark Clearinghouse is a centralized database of validated trademarks operated by Deloitte. It is the only universal means for a brand owner to protect their marks during the launch of new gTLDs.
According to ICANN, analysis of the marks submitted so far shows that less than 2 percent of trademarks registered come from industries producing goods with significant safety implications if sold through unofficial channels online. Around 1 percent of marks submitted so far come from companies manufacturing cosmetics, while 0.8 percent relates to pharmaceutical and medical products. Without registering marks, ICANN argues that brand owners leave themselves open to cybersquatting and typo-squatting. Last year, a whitepaper by NetNames said that cybersquatting costs trademark holders more than $1 million per brand.
Less than 10 percent of the marks entered into the TMCH relate to clothing and footwear, which could leave household apparel brands vulnerable to infringement, ICANN said. In the past, brands like Louis Vuitton have dealt with typo-squatters who sell counterfeit goods.
The highest number of applications submitted to the TMCH relate to scientific or teaching apparatus, 23 percent, while trademarks associated with advertising or business management account for 22 percent of registrations. Sporting or entertainment account for 16 percent of registrations.
Forty-four percent of US trademark owners originate from the US, while 10 percent of mark holders in France lead the number of registrations recorded in Europe. ICANN said the participation of trademark agents acting on behalf of rights owners may thwart these numbers though.
The survey shows that almost two thirds of the records are registered for a single year, 38 percent have been registered for 3 years and just 2 percent have opted for five years. It will cost mark holders between $95 and $150 per year per trademark record.
“It’s positive to see good early take up with holders proactively recording their trademarks in the TMCH, but for mark holders who are yet to do so it is critical to take these steps now,” Jan Corstens, Worldwide Project Partner, Deloitte said in a statement. “This is all the more important when there is a clear consumer interest in doing so. The TMCH is the only available mechanism that offers trademark protection across every single new domain extension being launched. Failing to enter the TMCH and being unaware of who may intend to abuse your trademark in order to potentially market imitation goods or services can have serious consequences.”
Since it can take up to 30 days for submissions to be processed, Corstens said that trademark holders should not wait until new gTLDs launch before submitting data.
Do you think it is important for brands to protect their trademarks ahead of the new gTLD release? Let us know in a comment.