Upon launch, new gTLDs will follow a cycle of different launch phases. While all TLDs will need to start their launch with a Sunrise phase for trademark owners, there’s more flexibility with the following phases. Below we explain the typical launch cycles you will likely see in most TLDs.
Trademarks enjoy a special level of protection under new gTLDs. Every new extension is required to give trademark holders the right to the preferred registration of their trademarks during the so-called Sunrise Phase.
Sunrise is the mandatory phase of at least 30 days following the launch of a new gTLD in which trademark holders can register protected trademark keywords as domains. The general public will not be allowed to register during this phase.
Registering a trademark with the Trademark Clearinghouse is required in order to submit an application for the preferred registration of a domain name during the Sunrise Phase of a new gTLD.
As soon as a trademark has been registered in the Clearinghouse, and documents supporting the use of the trademark have been submitted (“Proof of use”), the trademark can be used in the Sunrise Phase of every new gTLD.
Registries have the option of including a Landrush period in their launch timeline, though this phase is not mandatory. Landrush is the right time to register very important names, which are not or cannot be trademarked.
The Landrush period follows Sunrise. Though requirements vary from registry to registry, the Landrush phase is usually is open to everyone. However domains are generally offered at a higher than regular price. Domains may be allocated through auction or on a “first-come, first served” basis during Landrush.
Each registry reserves the right to reserve high value or “Premium” domains and to sell or auction those domains at elevated prices. The reserved terms, pricing, requirements, and allocation methods will vary per registry. As a result, not all premium domains will be offered through EPAG.
The General Availability phase follows all Sunrise and Landrush periods. This is the open-ended phase where the TLD is available on a “first-come, first-served” basis to the general public.
During the first ninety (90) calendar days following the start of General Availability for each new gTLD, registries must provide Trademark Claims. The Claims Period cannot overlap with the Sunrise phase.
Trademark holders can begin using the Trademark Claims Service at the start of the Open Registration Phase of each new gTLD. When a domain registration is submitted, this service verifies whether a matching entry has already been submitted to the Clearinghouse. If so, the following will take place:
- Warning sent to the domain registrant: The party attempting to register the domain receives a warning message before the registration completes, notifying them that a corresponding trademark has been registered with the Clearinghouse and that the registration of the domain could potentially violate intellectual property rights.
- Notification sent to the trademark holder: If the domain registrant decides to complete the domain registration, the trademark holder will receive be notified.