Media Mention

David Weslow Discusses Risks and Opportunities Associated with New gTLDs

U.S. News & World Report
January 29, 2014

David E. Weslow, a partner in Wiley Rein’s Intellectual Property Practice, was quoted by U.S. News & World Report yesterday in an article about the potential pitfalls and opportunities associated with the implementation of new generic top-level domains (gTLDs).

The first of the gTLDs became available today for “open registration,” offering companies a chance to customize their website address by using new extensions such as “.bike,” “.clothing,” and “.venture.”  More extensions, ranging from “.art” to “.web,” will become available in the coming months.

While the additional domains offer new business opportunities, they also present risks for companies with established brand names and reputations that might be challenged by look-alike domain names, Mr. Weslow told U.S. News.  “All businesses should now be developing a selective registration strategy for registering domain names that correspond to their company names and trademarks,” said Mr. Weslow.  He noted that relatively few organizations worldwide have so far taken advantage of a Trademark Clearinghouse that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) created to protect trademark rights.

Another danger of the new gTLDs is that some may be more vulnerable to use in furtherance of unlawful activities such as cybersquatting and phishing attacks than others.  “Not all [new] domains are created equal,” Mr. Weslow said. “I’m aware of .bank and .insurance having committed to extra safeguards and operation parameters with ICANN to make sure that those extensions are limited to legitimate businesses in the industries.”

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