As of March 26, 2013, trademark owners may submit their trademarks for inclusion in the “Trademark Clearinghouse,” which may be a valuable tool for minimizing the potential for abuse resulting from the imminent expansion in the number of generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs). Inclusion in the Clearinghouse will give the mark owner the opportunity to register the mark in each new gTLD before the general public and will provide other notice benefits as well.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is involved in a process that will greatly expand the number of gTLDs. Currently there are around twenty active gTLDs, of which “.com” is the best known. Soon new gTLDs will be implemented and hundreds more may follow. To address some of the concerns regarding the correspondingly expanded potential for trademark abuse, ICANN has authorized the establishment of a Trademark Clearinghouse to allow trademark owners to submit their trademarks into a centralized database for verification.