IP: Trademark liability and the .xxx domain

A designated opt-out period helps trademark owners safeguard their rights.

This September marked the launch of the new web domain .xxx, created to consolidate and filter adult entertainment content online. While the domain is intended for use by the adult entertainment industry only, trademark owners operating in other areas should be aware of the potential risk that their mark may be registered in .xxx without their knowledge or consent. This means that a person seeking www.yourtrademark might end up at an adult site www.yourtrademark.xxx, resulting in potential extortion and negative repercussions for the brand if the trademark owner does not take necessary preventive steps.

Trademark owners can and should safeguard their rights. ICM Registry, the firm behind .xxx, allows trademark owners to opt out of the .xxx domain, essentially blocking registration of their brands as .xxx, thereby preventing use of the brand as a .xxx web address. The ability to opt out is offered to all trademark owners for a one-time fee but will only be available prior to the .xxx launch, otherwise known as the “Sunrise Period.”

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Joe Johnson

Joe Johnson is a partner in Lathrop & Gage’s Springfield, Mo., office. He is a licensed patent attorney and prosecutes patent and trademark applications in...

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