Municipality wants .athens, but may run into challenges with trademark application.
Add Athens to the list of municipalities that want to register their own top level domain names.
I haven’t seen anything on the web about the city’s plans, but it filed two trademark applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for “.Athens” and “dot .athens” back in February. I hadn’t seen these yet because the original applications didn’t list domain names as part of the goods and services for the marks.
When originally filed, the trademarks alluded generally to “telecommunications”, “education”, and “scientific and technological services”.
The trademark examiners suggested changes to the classes and the marks were amended last week.
In a letter to the trademark office, an attorney for Athens wrote:
Please note that these two trademarks are very important for the Municipality of Athens, Greece as they will be used for a new Internet Registry in the future. We both understand that it is natural the Municipality of Athens to have rights in the name of Athens, but I have to protect the new Registry from bad faith behaviors. The trademarks have been fully accepted in a National and E.U. Community Level and I didn’t have problems with WIPO. I understand that your Trademark Law is different and we have to send you more details.
I was surprised the initial action from the USPTO didn’t address that top level domain names can’t be trademarked in the U.S., but perhaps that’s because the original goods and services classes didn’t say that the marks would be used as a TLD.