Trademark Application Denied For “.MUSIC” Domain Name

By Joseph Mandour on December 20, 2011

domain-name-http- www-thumb-200x149-33435 San Diego – The Trademark Trial and Appeal board affirmed the Patent and Trademark Office’s denial of a trademark application for a trademark that included the word “.MUSIC,” a top-level domain name.

The company, theDot Communications Network, filed five intent-to-use trademark applications in connection with the “.MUSIC” domain. The Appeal board denied the applications due to the fact that the domain “.MUSIC” was merely descriptive of goods and services and not distinct.

A top-level domain name is the last part of a domain name used for a web address. Generic top-level domain names were created to describe a general purpose and were traditionally reserved for top-level domain names such as “.COM” and “.NET.” However, there has been an increase in demand for a greater array of top-level domain names that are more descriptive of the website’s purpose.

In June 2011, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), approved a measure to expand the use of generic top-level domain names and allow top-level domain names such as “.MUSIC” to be used. The music industry has expressed interest in using the “.MUSIC” domain names for their websites. The application process for the new top-level domain names will begin in January, 2012 and accepted domain names will go online in 2013.

The Patent and Trademark Office’s decision has set an early precedent that those intending to obtain trademarks in newly created top-level domain names will find it very difficult to win approval. Given that most new top-level domain names will be descriptive of the goods and services of the website and the fact that thedomain names will not be restricted to any one company, it’s unlikely that new top-level domain names will be distinct enough for trademark approval. Unless ICANN begins approving more distinctive top-level domain names, there likely will not be a boom in trademark applications for top-level domain names.

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