As a greater proportion of commercial activities migrate to digital platforms, companies are quickly realizing that trademark management strategies must be as vigilant online as they have been offline. But according to the latest survey conducted by branding experts from Melbourne IT DBS, the legal community is not yet fully prepared to advise potential clients on the risks that could await them on the digital frontier.
Domain name registry is often the starting point for discussions of digital trademark management, considering most of a company's online activities will be filtered through a central website bearing its brand name. But with the implementation of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers' (ICANN) new generic top-level domain (gTLD) protocol, there is now more room available for misappropriation of intellectual assets than ever.
In a survey of counsel from Fortune 500 companies and leading independent law firms, Melbourne analysts discovered that although 91 percent of respondents cited awareness for the gTLD program, just 36 percent of them indicated that they have read the gTLD Application Guidebook.
With nearly 2,000 applications already submitted to the website-naming authority, Melbourne executive vice president Kanchan Mhatre suggested that there could be "tens of thousands" of pages for firms to search through before they uncover potential threats to their brand equity. With time of the essence in reviewing documents before damage is done, analysts noted that there could be significant opportunities available for consulting attorneys with demonstrated gTLD expertise.