Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Le .CLUB: la nouvelle extension Internet de tous les records

Le monde du vin n’a qu’à bien se tenir
Le 14 janvier, s’est tenue une enchère de noms de domaine à Las Vegas et si les professionnels sont habitués à ces instants palpitants (et parfois bien abreuvés), une nouveauté est apparue: sur la liste des noms à vendre figuraient, comme souvent, des extensions reconnues sur le marché de la spéculation comme les .COM, mais aussi...des nouvelles extensions et surtout, des noms de domaine .CLUB.

Si les nouveaux Registres sont aussi là pour gagner de l’argent, ne le nions pas, on peut s’interroger sur l’intérêt de spéculer sur des noms de domaine représentant des clubs car d’une façon générale, et à un niveau international, un club n’est pas vraiment un lieu où l’argent coule à flot. Encore plus curieux, le prix de départ d’une de ces enchères était de plus de $100,000. Nul besoin de regarder bien loin pour lire les rictus sur les visages de professionnels.

Et pourtant…
Plusieurs noms de .CLUB sont partis aux enchères mais celui qui a surpris tout le monde n’est pas n’importe lequel: WINE.CLUB s’est vendu $140,000 au final et peut-être n’est ce pas un hasard car le monde du vin, par le biais du manque de protection des indications géographiques dans les extensions .VIN et .WINE, est une communauté qui fait beaucoup parler d’elle dans le programme ICANN des nouvelles extensions.

Une valeur sûre
Ainsi, si un tiers est prêt à payer si cher pour un seul nom de domaine, ceci est un indicateur fort de la valeur d’une extension Internet: combiné au fait qu’il existe aujourd’hui plus de 168 000 utilisateurs de ces nouveaux '.club", nous pouvons imaginer que cette extension a de beaux jours devant elle.

La Trademark Clearinghouse: un outil complémentaire au .CLUB
Bien que la période de Sunrise du .CLUB est terminée depuis longtemps - il s’agit de cette période privilégiée pendant laquelle les ayants-droit pouvaient enregistrer leur signe dans la base de donnée “Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH)” pour enregistrer leur nom de domaine .CLUB en amont - la rapide montée en puissance du volume des enregistrements de noms de domaine .CLUB prête à questionnement.  Le .CLUB est le seul Registre qui ne triche pas: si celui-ci est le troisième plus gros vendeur de nouveaux noms de domaine, c’est aussi le seul qui n’en donne pas et qui n’en enregistre pas en son nom pour gonfler ses volumes de vente. Les noms de domaine .CLUB attirent naturellement les acheteurs. Alors pourquoi les marques doivent elles continuer à s’intéresser à la Trademark Clearinghouse?

Des marques protégées grâce à la “TMCH”
La relation avec la Trademark Clearinghouse est ici très simple: le .CLUB est peut être en train de s’imposer comme une extension incontournable, et qui dit incontournable, dit aussi à terme, développement d’un second marché.


Le second marché, ce sont ces noms de domaine que les “domainers” aiment à venir vous proposer d’acheter, souvent à un prix prohibitif. Ainsi, si une marque n’est pas encore enregistrée dans la “TMCH”, l’y enregistrer aujourd’hui est encore de bon aloi car les enregistrements de noms de domaine .CLUB devraient continuer de progresser. Enregistrer son signe dans la base de donnée et une façon de prévenir un litige car l’une des fonctions de ce service est d’alerter l’ayant droit lorsqu’un tiers vient à enregistrer le signe déjà enregistré dans la base de donnée. Ainsi, si l’on tente d’enregistrer votre marque en tant que nom de domaine se terminant en .club vous recevrez un email pour vous en informer. Pour rappel, l’enregistrement dans la TMCH permet aussi de participer aux périodes de Sunrise à venir. A savoir aussi, les annonces de lancements des périodes de Sunrise sont à présent disponibles sur son nouveau calendrier et annoncées depuis peu via son Groupe LinkedIn. Pour recevoir ces annonces gratuitement, il suffit de s’abonner.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Did you know there is a new gTLD dedicated to Trademarks?

Do Trademark owners know that there is a new generic Top-Level Domain which means "Trademark"?

We already know that there is a list of Trademarks which applied for their own domain name extension but the case of the ".商标" TLD is for Trademarks in general: ".商标" means "Trademark" in Chinese. In simple words, it means that a www.yourbrand.商标 could be registered and in even more simple words, it means that a www.yourbrand.TRADEMARK could be registered in Chinese language.

How come no one noticed?
It is rather strange that no one noticed about this TLD and even if the official Registry is very explicit about its TLD (understand that there is no trick here), there were no public comments about it but a few and dated...2012. A few questions arise:
  • What would have happened if an applicant had come with a ".TRADEMARK" new gTLD application?
  • Would it have gone through naturally with so few public comments?
  • Would Law Firms have let this happen without saying anything?
  • What about the International Trademark Association (INTA): would it have let this happen?
What should Trademarks do?
This TLD is sensitive and Trademarks should keep an eye on it. To do so,  registering in the Trademark Clearinghouse allows to activate notifications when a third party tries to register your sign as a domain name in any new domain name extension. Agood thing to do would be to register your domain name...just in case.

What do I think about this idea?
I think this idea is a great one but and shows three things to me:
  1. There is still a language problem with ICANN because I am certain this application would have been contested if someone had come with the same application in English. 
  2. As this ex ICANN Board Member states in this video, this should be a profitable TLD since the ICANN new gTLD program is a way for Registrars and Registries to make money (at least that what she said in 2012).
  3. If the .商标 went through on the first Round of the ICNAN new gTLD program, why wouldn't the English (and/or French) version of the string do the same in Round 2?
So what now?
Tomorrow, the TLD enters the claims notification period: may I suggest to hurry-up?

Friday, January 2, 2015

Joe le .TAXI (I spoke to a taxi driver)

Last week I took a Cab on my way back from the Montparnasse Station in Paris. My wife had ordered a Taxi and it was waiting for us at the Taxi station. We had ordered it because we arrived late in Paris that night.

Surprisingly, the Cab was a black Limousine with no Taxi sign on its top and the driver, who wore a costume, was gentle and polite. If you ever took a Taxi in Paris, you probably know why I am adding this to this paragraph.


Discussing with a Taxi driver
We had ordered the Taxi through the SNCF (the official European distribution channel of the French railways) and I was interested in learning why my Taxi had no sign on top so the driver explained to me that the platforms he registered with had deals with the SNCF to provide a quality service. He also said that he felt unsecure to park next to other cabs because Taxis "with a sign" have to pay for a $150 000 licence to have the right to work. Taxi licences are limited in Paris and, as an independant driver, he had decided to work differently. I also learnt that the "taxi" sign cannot be protected.

What about .TAXI domain names?
The driver told me his business was good: he drove a nice Limousine, worked a lot, and upgraded the Status of his company to be able to earn more (which is a good sign). He told me ha planned to build his own project and I understood his idea was to create his own taxi platform so I came to asking him if a owning a website was of any interest for a Taxi driver.

To this question he said that, as an independent driver offering a quality service, he was considering this seriously but admitted that he had no clue about where to start so I gave him a few tips and focussed on the number one advantage there is to use a new domain name: a clear identity and precision. He had an idea about what a domain name is but never heard about the .TAXI new gTLD.

Are Taxis concerned?
As a Taxi - with a project in mind - I believe a driver should be concerned by .TAXI new domain names but prior to launching a website there are a few things to know:
  • There are other TLDs (Top-Level Domains or Domain names extensions) related to the Taxi business, they are:
    • the .LIMO new gTLD which is launched already and can be registered (3,178 domain name registrations worldwide);
    • and the .CAB which is already available too (3,588 registrations).
  • The .TAXI new gTLD is not launched yet and there are three applicants who will fight for it in an auction to acquire the privilege to manage domain names ending in .TAXI, they are:
  • Major TAXI platforms should prepare for the launching ot the .TAXI new gTLD and submit their Trademark Data into the Trademark Clearinghouse to participate in the Sunrise Period.
What would I do?
I am no taxi driver and renting a Limousine is a different service to me (as a client) so I guess I would definitely go for a .TAXI domain name instead of a .CAB. As an independent taxi driver, I would secure both domains: a .CAB domain name is $30 for one year and a .TAXI should probably cost the same when it has launched.
As soon as the .TAXI domain is registered and the website live, I would secure the .CAB domain name and direct it to the .TAXI website. If I rent Limousines, I would register a .TAXI domain name too and point it to my .LIMO website.

Register your Trademark using an agent.