With the new root extensions for domain names being rolled out by ICANN over the next several years, trademark owners have an increased risk of trademark infringement against their marks. Even though the new extensions are being created to increase domain name availability, trademark owners who are not able to register their trademark under the appropriate root extensions run the risk of trademark infringement by cybersquatters.
For example, with the recent release of .BIKE from ICANN, only a small portion of registrations were actually registered by brand owners. Several registrations were made by third parties with no relation to such brands or were reserved by Donuts for unknown purposes. These registrations by non-brand owners allows them to possibly create domains that could be confusing to the general public causing consumers to think that this domain could somehow be affiliated with the trademark or brand owner. It is recommended that trademark and brand owners who are not ready to register under any of the new gTLD root extensions should highly consider registering their marks with ICANN’s Trademark Clearinghouse for added protection of their brand and from cybersquatters.