IP, IT and life sciences: Caught in a web
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has recently proposed liberalising top-level domain (TLD) name availability. The move is sending shockwaves through the brand-owning community because its members now face the prospect of increased costs to protect their trademarks online. Under ICANN's new proposals, applicants would be able to choose their own domain name suffixes. Assuming the scheme comes into force (which seems likely to occur in 2009), registrants will no longer be constrained by the current 21 generic top-level domains (gTLDs), including .com, .org, .info and .net, and the large number of country code top-level domains (ccTLDs), such as .uk. The announcement has already caused speculation about the use of branded (e.g. .bbc), geographic (e.g. .london) and sector-driven (e.g. .bank, .sport, .food and .telecoms) domains.
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