New Icann rules could end defensive registrations

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New Icann rules could end defensive registrations

Green light for customised TLDs will cause firms to rethink their domain name strategies, say experts.

Icann's decision to green light the application for customised top level domains (TLDs) could reduce the incidents of cybersquatting but is likely to require firms to rethink how they manage their domain name portfolios, according to experts.

The decision made by internet oversight body Icann could allow in theory the creation of any TLD with up to 64 characters, including regional specific suffixes, generic words or brand names.

But with the potential to create any domain name means brand owners will probably have to give up the strategy of defensively registering any permutations of their own name, according to Jay Daley, IT director at .uk registry Nominet.

"They won't be able to manage it," he added. "IP holders will need to look at taking a more realistic approach – concentrating their brand on one name and then taking on others who might [infringe their copyright]."

Robin Fry, partner at law firm Beachcroft, agreed, adding that the new rules could also deter cybersquatters.

“If businesses and their customers are comfortable with any one of a range of domain names, then they can't be blackmailed into buying name from an avaricious opportunist," he said.

Icann has already selected an auction provider to auction domains, although there are still likely to be contentious disputes between firms going after highly sought after generic names such as Mars, warned Daley.
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