ICANN surveys domain registrants about trademark claims notices

ICANN surveys domain registrants about trademark claims notices

Survey is well-intentioned but is unlikely to provide good data.

ICANN is requesting feedback from domain name registrants about trademark claims notices from the Trademark Clearinghouse.

Domain name investors that registered new top level domain names are probably familiar with these notices. When you try to register a domain that matches a trademark in the database, you are presented with a notice that your registration might violate a trademark owner’s rights.

The notices don’t prevent you from registering the domain, but they certainly have a chilling effect on people trying to register the domain.

This is despite many of the notices not applying to the use for which the person wants to register the domain. Many of the trademarks are for common or dictionary words such as Texas and fire, and marks registered to game the system such as wedding, money and realestate.

The survey’s goal is to understand how domain registrants responded to the notices and their impact on registrations. The survey’s questions are dead on, but there’s a big problem with the survey: the typical person that tried to register a domain and saw the notice will be unaware of the survey. Even if they are aware, they won’t spend 15 minutes answering questions.

I suspect anecdotal evidence and data from the Trademark Clearinghouse is going to be more valuable than this survey. For example, there was the tech-savvy friend of mine who tried to pre-register a .app domain. He told me “Yeah, I tried to get that one, but there’s some sort of trademark thing on it.” He ditched the registration.

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