There’s an App for That; Now There’s .APP for That Too
As many of our readers know, in 2011, ICANN, the organization that operates the internet domain name system, authorized the launch of the New gTLD Program – the largest expansion of the generic top-level domain name (“gTLD”) system on the Internet in history. Prior to the launch of this program only 22 gTLDs had been approved and added to the Internet (e.g. .com, .net, .org). With over 1930 applications for new gTLDs submitted in the program, ICANN has already delegated (introduced into the Internet) 1230 gTLDs as of the writing of this article.
The much anticipated .app gTLD extension will soon launch. Google paid $25 million for the gTLD extension at auction. The gTLD was delegated in July 2015, and many companies have been waiting for registrations to begin. Google’s minimal requirements for .app domain names include the following: (1) .app domain name registrations are secure namespaces; (2) all content must be served over HTTPS so that browsers can load .app websites; and (3) any registrant of a letter/letter two-character ASCII label represents that it will take steps to ensure against misrepresenting or falsely implying that the registrant or its business is affiliated with a government or country-code manager if such affiliation, sponsorship or endorsement does not exist.
Below are key dates for the launch of the gTLD extension to keep in mind. If possible, brand owners with interest in the .app extension should take advantage of the Sunrise Period to the extent they have registered relevant brands in the Trademark Clearinghouse and if not, make early submission if possible.
- Sunrise Period — Mar 29 – April 30, 2018: Trademark owners can register .app domains, ahead of the general public, for any marks they have registered in the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) on a first-come, first-served basis;
- Early Access Period — May 1 – May 8, 2018: Anyone can register available .app domains for an extra fee; and
- General Availability Period — May 8, 2018 and thereafter: Anyone can register available .app domains.
More information on the ICANN New gTLD Program, including statistics and lists of delegated and to be delegated gTLDS, can be found here.