The new Top Level Domains (TLDs) set to be introduced by ICANN may be vulnerable to serious intellectual property issues, according to research from the ICANN-approved Trademark Clearinghouse. Domain names related to established brands are already being sought out for purchase by third parties. According to the research conducted by Trademark Clearinghouse, "unknown entities" have already reserved domain names relating to 80 percent of the U.K.'s 50 most valuable brands under the domain name .WEB. These same buyers have attempted to pre-order 78 percent of the U.K.'s top 50 brands under the .ONLINE domain, 70 percent under .SHOP and 68 percent under .BLOG.
"Although the new gTLD program is set to enhance competition, innovation and consumer choice on the Internet, our research shows that some of the U.K.'s biggest brand names are at risk of IP infringement online as new TLDs are rolled out - with other parties keen to capitalize on the traffic and illegitimate opportunities a branded website will generate," Jonathan Robinson, strategic consultant to the Trademark Clearinghouse, told The Drum. "This potentially compromises the reputation of each brand targeted."