Later this year, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is set to make available a wide range of new internet addresses.
While these new addresses will offer businesses new opportunities for marketing and branding, they may also present challenges in the realm of intellectual property, since many companies may wish to reserve domain names that incorporate their brand identities.
According to ICANN, the expansion, which is set to be implemented on June 20, will enable generic top-level domains. This will open the possibility for web addresses ending with extensions, such as ".music", ".London" or ".sport".
Many companies may try to obtain extensions that include their company names, such as ".canon" or ".ibm".
Until now, there was a limited number of top-level extensions. Popular addresses often ended in ".com" or ".org". More recently, some companies have begun using less common extensions, such as ".biz" and ".info".
According ICANN-accredited domain name registrar EnCirca, the ".com" extension currently accounts for approximately half of the 200 million web addresses in use.