U.S. Businesses Complain of .XXX Domain Shakedown

On 31.08.11, In Legal Industry, by Blake Houser

8/31/2011

As part of their preparation for the December launch of the new triple-x Internet domain, lawyers for some of the most famous brands in the United States are right now scrambling to prevent a potential rip-off of a valuable asset – their clients’ corporate Web addresses.

Early applications are now being accepted by the domain operator overseeing the .xxx domain from various brand owners who wanted control over their names online. According to the ICM Registry, it already has received more than 900,000 “expressions of interest” from corporations that desire to pre-register their trade names or prevent others from creating, for instance, a Coke.xxx or Barbie.xxx.

While several providers of adult-content are paying the $200 fee because they want to utilize the domain, many non-porn brands ranging from Budget Travel and MTV Networks to the Red Cross are pre-registering to prevent potential legal battles in the future with cyber-squatters who register trade names with the objective of reselling them.

Porn and conventional businesses in a similar way complain that they are being compelled to purchase domain names that they do not want, do not need and will not use. They compare the practice to a stick-up.

Kristina Rosette, a trademark attorney from the law firm Covington and Burling, said, “Many feel they’re being blackmailed to protect their brands.” She also added that requiring pre-registration charges to protect trademarks is not unusual among domain registries, which then include the estimated income in their business plans and projections.

 

Blake Houser

Client Relations Manager at The Wells & Drew Companies
About the author:
Blake Houser is Client Relations Manager at Wells & Drew. In addition, he is the third generation in this family-owned speciality printing business.

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