Should You Rush to Buy a .xxx Domain?

Soon, “XXX” will mark the spot in a whole new way: the new .xxx domain name is coming later this year. In order to avoid association with pornographic sites, many universities are rushing to purchase their school’s name in order to combat potential trademark infringement and abuse. Imagine a website called “Harvard.xxx,” specifically dedicated to showing you the “best” parts of co-ed students. It costs $200 to buy a site. Trademark owners can do so under the “sunrise period” instituted by the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). After the “sunrise period” ends, porn companies can start purchasing .xxx domains. It’s no wonder that schools are rushing to buy the domains. After all, it’s better to spend a bit of money now rather than later in the form of high legal fees. Small business owners may wonder whether or not such protection is something they should also seek. After all, businesses spend years cultivating their reputation. In short, it seems unlikely that small businesses will be targeted by pornographic companies and cybersquatters. Larger companies probably have more to worry about. But say someone does cybersquat your domain name. Are there any remedies? Well, if the domain is using your trademark you can probably sue for infringement. This can, however, result in costly legal fees. Under the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) trademark owners can sue cybersquatters in federal court. Trademark owners can also choose to go through an arbitration system instituted by ICANN. So if you see your trademark infringed upon, there are options whether it takes place on a .xxx domain or any of the other domains that are out there. Typically, if you win at arbitration the domain name will be transferred to you. Related Resources: Colleges buying up XXX domain names to prevent porn-site confusion (New York Daily News) Internet Cybersquatting: Definition and Remedies (FindLaw) .XXX Domain Moves Closer to Approval (FindLaw’s Free Enterprise) New Domain Names to Bring New Trademark Issues for Companies (FindLaw’s In House)

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Should You Rush to Buy a .xxx Domain?

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