Following the April 12 deadline to submit new generic top-level domain names gTLDs to ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) applicants — including insurance companies — have been waiting with bated breath for "Reveal Day," when they can begin the arduous task of reviewing applications for purposes of brand protection. However, a glitch in the TDL Application System (TAS) has delayed the process, and ICANN has given itself until April 27 to provide an update.
As we reported last year, the new round of submissions will vastly increase the number of Internet generic top-level domain suffixes (gTLDs) over the prevailing 22 — which include .com, .net and .org — by allowing parties to apply for gTDLs, including branded domain names at a cost of $185,000 per application.
ICANN's statement notes that TAS will be open for at least five days to give applicants opportunity to review and complete their applications. All insurers and other applicants can do in the meantime is keep on top of ICANN's updates, says Kanchan Mhatre, EVP, Melbourne IT Digital Brand Services. That's important because an anticipated number of gTLD applications in excess of 1,500 will make for a massive review effort:
With at least 25 pages of critical information in each application to review, there could be 37,500 pages of application data that insurers will need to be prepared to research to find any TLDs that could possibly pose a risk to their trademarks or brand. Doing that manually will be a very time-consuming task, so whether an insurer has applied for a new TLD or not, the time to consider how they'll handle the application risk review process is now.
Insurers finding a gTLD application that may infringe on their legal rights can take advantage of a 60-day comment period, during which an ICANN evaluation committee will consider objections. Insurers can make more formal objections after that period, Mhatre comments.
Mhatre characterizes the review process as likely to be expensive and time-consuming, but says that insurers will apply various strategies to minimize its impact.
"We expect legal teams will leverage external expertise and tools to conduct custom searches on multiple criteria in any gTLD application," Mhatre says. "That way, they can efficiently identify potential legal rights infringement or criteria that could warrant a community objection, or potential string similarity."