Trademark Clearinghouse was installed as a validation and protection mechanism to protect trademarks during the introductions of new gTLDs. It has two functions: To authenticate contact details and verify trademark entries, as well as store the trademark data in a central database.
ICANN has commissioned Deloitte to carry out the verification service. Deloitte verifies that the submitted trademark data is correct and checks that the data meets the TMCH requirements. There is no legal consultation.
Technical processing is undertaken in cooperation with IBM.
When using the Trademark Clearinghouse service, trademarks are protected in two ways:
1.) Secure participation in new gTLD Sunrise phases
All new registries must offer a "Sunrise Phase" during the introduction of a new "open" gTLD in order to protect the rights of trademark holders. In this phase, trademark holders – depending on the guidelines of the respective registries – can register their trademark domains before anyone else. However, the trademark data must be verified first. This is done by saving all relevant trademark data in the TMCH. Once the data has been saved successfully, the trademark holder can take part in all new gTLD Sunrise phases and thereby protect his trademark rights.
2.) Protection with the Trademark Claims Service
In the Live phases, domain registration generally runs on a first-come, first-served basis and is open to anyone who meets the respective registration requirements of the relevant TLD. If an interested party wants to register a domain that matches a trademark, he receives a "Trademark Claims Notice", with the information that the registration may infringe the trademark rights of a third party. Should the interested party select to carry out the registration, the relevant trademark holder specified in the TMCH receives a "Notification of Registered Name" (NORN) and can therefore react appropriately.
Trademark holders and their representatives (e.g. license holders or authorized agents) can submit trademark to the Trademark Clearinghouse and use the service to protect their trademarks during the introduction of new gTLDs.
The services of TMCH Agent is provided for companies, resellers and professional users.
The Trademark Claims Service is a notification system that informs trademark holders and interested parties wishing to register trademark domains about the potential infringement of trademark rights.
In the General Availability, domain registration runs in general on a first-come, first-served basis and is open to anyone who meets the respective registration requirements of the relevant TLD. If an interested party wants to register a domain that matches a trademark stored in the TMCH during the first 90 days in this phase, he receives a "Trademark Claims Notice", with the information that the registration may infringe the trademark rights of a third party. Should the interested party select to carry out the registration, the relevant trademark holder specified in the TMCH receives a "Notification of Registered Name" (NORN) and can therefore react appropriately.
Parties who wish to register a trademark domain stored in the TMCH during the first 90 days of a new gTLD General Availability receive a warning about potential trademark infringement.
If the interested party selects to register the relevant domain despite the warning, the affected trademark holder specified in the TMCH receives a "Notification of Registered Name" (NORN). The trademark holder is therefore informed and can react appropriately.
If the interested party decides to forgo the registration after being warned, the trademark holder does not receive a NORN.
The service informs trademark owners about all domain registrations that might infringe his trademark rights. The service will automatically be activated when using the Trademark Claims Service.
In addition to the trademark name, so-called labels can also be stored in the Trademark Clearinghouse. These are variations of the trademark name that are generated automatically by the Trademark Clearinghouse and can not be selected individually by the trademark owner. Generally up to 10 labels can be stored in the Trademark Clearinghouse for free. At TMCH Agent, up to 20 labels are included free-of-charge.
For the trademark "Fisher & Son", for example, the following labels would be possible:
The Trademark Clearinghouse follows two rules in this regard:
- Special characters that can not be included in domain names, e.g. asterisk, are either eliminated or replaced by a dash (hyphen).
- The special character "&" is replaced by the word "and" in the respective language for the court of jurisdiction of the trademark name.
After being checked and verified, the data is stored in the Tradermark Clearinghouse. The trademark data automatically undergoes annual validation to ensure that the entries in the Trademark Clearinghouse are kept up-to-date.
All new gTLD registries can access data in the Trademark Clearinghouse directly for the introduction of new TLDs. This enables easy participation in new gTLD Sunrise phases and notifications via the Trademark Claims Service.
The Abused DNL Service (also +50) is an additional Trademark Claims service that helps trademark holders protect labels that have previously been abused and for which they have already prevailed in court or Uniform Domain Name Dispute. Subject to a fee, up to 50 officially confirmed labels at the Trademark Clearinghouse and make use of the Trademark Claims Service for these.
Please note: These labels are not included in the SMD file and can therefore NOT be used for the Sunrise Service.
Subject to a fee, you can specify up to 50 labels (hence +50). However, these can not be selected at will - each label must explicitly be named in the relevant UDRP case or court decision.
Specific information is requested by the Trademark Clearinghouse, regardless of whether the label in question is related to a UDRP case or national court decision. The following information must be submitted to TMCH Agent:
For UDRP cases:
- Name of the UDRP provider
- Case reference number
- Language in which the UDRP case was dealt with
- List of the abused labels
For court decisions:
- Name of the court
- Court reference number
- Language in which the court decision was made
- Copy of court decision
- List of the abused labels