California businesses prepare domain suffix boom strategies

Domain names have long been a company or brand identifier. Until recently, California businesses have had no fresh interest in domain name suffixes. The options for so-called generic top-level domains, known as gTLDs, were limited to .com, .net and a few other choices.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers or ICANN, the non-profit keeper of domain name uniqueness, bowed to steady pressure to ease restrictions for gTLDs. New suffixes by the hundreds are expected to appear on the Internet this year.

Business owners are wondering whether the glut of new gTLDs will threaten intellectual property security. Will there be a resurgence of cybersquatting and domain name disputes? Do companies have to spend even more money to secure a brand?

Attorneys suggest the addition of suffixes is simultaneously beneficial and risky. Specialized gTLDs can enhance brand recognition like www.intellectualproperty.lawyer. At the same time, domain name thieves will be looking for ways to take advantage of the suffixes in the same way they did and still do with .com.

One of the initial problems of previously-unknown TLDs will be getting consumers to bond with the suffixes. Consumers must grow accustomed to seeing, trusting and using domain names with new suffixes. Public acceptance will encourage businesses to acquire new TLDs.

The investment companies make will not be slight, especially for small businesses. An application for a gTLD costs $186,000 with added long-term fees and legal costs. What companies also have to consider is potential lost revenue for not investing in gTLDs.

Strategies for gTLD purchases and protection should be determined in advance. Each company must assess how suffix additions will enhance the brand and add revenue. A balance must be struck between intellectual property expenditures, including prolonged defensive postures, and projected benefits.

A California business’s most valuable resource for decisions about the new gTLDs is an intellectual property attorney.

Source: manufacturing.net, “Balancing Opportunity And Risk With The New TLDs” Luge Pravda, Jul. 17, 2013

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