.GMBH applicant’s trademark application approved for publishing.
I’ve written numerous times about companies trying to trademark top level domain name strings with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Although the USPTO won’t grant trademarks on top level domains, some applicants have been able to sneak their applications through at least part of the process.
One is getting rather far.
TLDDOT GmbH, an applicant for the .gmbh top level domain names, has managed to slip its application for “GMBH” past the examiner. It has been approved for publication but has not yet been published for opposition.
Unlike many applications for TLDs-as-trademarks, the examiner on this GMBH trademark application didn’t catch on that it’s for TLD purposes. The application doesn’t mention top level domains, but one of the goods and services is domain name registration.
Initially, the examiner issue an office action saying GMBH didn’t function as a service mark because it was simply the entity type of the applicant (a common form of business in Germany). TLDDOT GmbH responded and the examiner let the application proceed.
The application is still in intent-to-use status, which means TLDDOT GmbH will need to show the mark being used in commerce even if no opposition is filed. So it’s possible this mark won’t affect any applicants, and the lack of a use specimen may be why the examiner hasn’t rejected it.
Still, if I were one of the competing applicants for .gmbh, I’d dial up my attorney.
TLDDOT GmbH is the only .gmbh applicant to request community status. Competing applicants include Google, Donuts, Nu Dot Co LLC (Straat), and InterNetWire Web-Development GmbH.