The more domains that are “closed”, the less brand protection is required.
Last week I wrote about why I’m not concerned with companies registering generic terms as TLDs (e.g. .blog, .book) and keeping them “closed” to other parties for second level registrations.
Today I was reminded of another benefit to some of these domains being closed, and why I find it ironic that big brands are upset over closed TLDs.
Retail Council of Canada (RCC) sent a letter to ICANN stating its opposition to closed generic TLDs. It states:
“Given its mandate, RCC believes that these gTLD strings should be open and unrestricted sine generic words use in a generic way belong to everyone.”
Let’s quickly get over the fact that this statement is ridiculous (as I go try to protect my generic second level domains from the RCC).
Instead, focus on this irony:
For years, companies have been throwing a fit about the supposed number of defensive registrations they’d have to do at the second level of generic top level domains.
For example, a shoe company might feel compelled to register all of its brands under .shoes.
But if a top level domain is closed, that requirement goes away.
In the case of .shoes, Donuts has applied for the TLD. Shoe companies might feel compelled to register nike.shoes, air.shoes, etc.
Had Amazon applied for .shoes as a closed registry, those companies would no longer feel compelled to register the second level domains. In fact, they wouldn’t even be allowed to.
If a company was complaining about defensive registrations, they certainly shouldn’t complain about close generics. They should embrace them.
(I’ll note that I’m not familiar with RCC and if any of its member companies have complained about protecting their marks at the second level. But I’ll also note that the letter is worth a read because it has other funny comments. Consider this: “It will also effectively gain exclusive rights to be associated with the kind of products or services they offer, which is something that could not be achieved through tradmark laws in Canada”. The RCC is talking about TLDs, but they apparently don’t have a problem with Barnes and Noble owning book.com.)