The Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH), designed to protect trademarks in new generic Top Level Domains, launched today (26 March).
The TMCH has been developed to be a global repository for trademark data to protect trademarks. As of the launch, rights holders will be able to submit trademark data for verification.
The TMCH will enable companies and individuals to protect their trademarks as the new gTLDs are introduced. Rights holders whose trademark information has been verified by the TMCH will have the opportunity to participate in a set of services designed to help protect their rights.
To validate a trademark, rights holders can submit trademark data from 26 March at trademark-clearinghouse.com. Deloitte Enterprise Risk Services is responsible for verifying these trademark submissions.
Having their data recorded in the Clearinghouse, Deloitte consultant Jonathan Robinson explained to Intellectual Property Watch, “does not secure them their name in every single registry. Every single registry will have its own policy.” One registry policy might limit registration in a zone to entities based in Africa, for instance, while another might only be open to a certain language or community group.
ICANN is working with IBM on management of the TMCH database, including provision of relevant data to new gTLD registries and registrars for Sunrise and Trademark Claims services. These systems are anticipated to be operational later in 2013.
The TMCH will include centralised verified trademark data for every gTLD Sunrise and will notify brand owners if a domain name in any of the new gTLDs that match their trademark.
There are varying fees [pdf] depending on how many trademarks one wishes to protect, with those wishing to register limited numbers of trademarks described as “trademark holders” while “trademark agents” are described as most likely being a company or entity representing multiple individual trademark owners that want to register trademarks on behalf of the individual trademark owners.
The TMCH is offering a number of services – trademark registration for one, three or five years, trademark renewal and registering additional domain names than is standard where applicable.
The Basic Fee Structure is quite simple – for one trademark registration for one year it is $140, three years $435 and five years it is $725.
The Advanced Fee Structure is a little more complicated with prices varying on the number of years and the number of “status points.”
For rights holders that register their marks with the TMCH, the benefits they will receive are Sunrise periods for eligible trademark holders to register their marks as domain names in advance of the general public and during Sunrise and Claims periods, the TMCH will alert rights holders when a domain name is registered that matches the rights holder’s mark in the Clearinghouse.
There is in-depth information on the Clearinghouse, including technical specifications and a historical archive documenting its development available here.