Sunrise Registration Services: 5 New Steps to Protect Your Brands From Cybersquatting

With ICANN’s approval of hundreds of new domain names such as .guru .ninja .wiki and .store it becomes important for brand owners to take a few additional steps to protect their brands from unauthorized use. ICANN has given brand owners the right to register matching domain names before the general public as part of the launch process for each of the new domain registries called a “Sunrise Period”. There are 5 steps to follow in order to take advantage of this right.

1. Register A Trademark For Your Brand. This can take 6 – 12 months so start early. You do not need an attorney and can register directly with the United States Patent and Trademark Office however, we strongly recommend at least a consultation with experienced trademark counsel such as InternetLitigators. A registered trademark is required to be eligible for sunrise registration.

2. Apply for Registration in the Trademark Clearinghouse. Only brands that are registered in the Trademark Clearinghouse are eligible for sunrise registration within the new domain name registries. It is relatively inexpensive but provides additional protection for your brand beyond participation in the sunrise periods. As with the trademark registration, you can do this yourself but we strongly recommend that you consider a Trademark Clearinghouse Agent such as JACO Digital. Registration in the Clearinghouse is required for all sunrise registration periods.

3. Select your Domain Names. You can find the entire list of new domain name registries here. Review the list (it is quite long) and begin to determine the domain registries in which you might be interested in registering your brand.

4. Follow the Sunrise Registration Period timelines. Once you know which domain names you are interested in you can find the list of sunrise registration periods here. Be sure to submit your application timely. You will also need to determine who is taking applications for sunrise (not pre-registration) applications.

5. Register your new domain name. Once you locate a registrar that is accepting applications for your domain for sunrise registration you will use information from your clearinghouse registration to apply for the domain. Be sure that you are applying for “sunrise registration” and not pre-registration which is generally available to the public and is not a priority registration.

The process is lengthy and will cost in the range of a few thousand dollars for all of these steps however it is far less expensive than chasing down a registrant that registered your brand for their own use.