February 5, 2020
Brian Winterfeldt, Griffin Barnett, David Rome

Client Alert: .GAY New gTLD Preparing to Launch – What Brand Owners Need To Know

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.GAY New gTLD Preparing to Launch – What Brand Owners Need To Know

After a long application and evaluation process ultimately resulting in an auction of last resort, Top Level Design ultimately won the right to operate the .GAY new generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) in April 2019.  Top Level Design has now completed pre-launch preparations and has announced that it will be formally launching.GAY starting with the requisite trademark Sunrise period running from February 10 through March 31, 2020.  

Any brand owner who may wish to acquire a .GAY domain name matching its brand(s) (e.g. BRAND.GAY) during the Sunrise period must have the trademark recorded in the Trademark Clearinghouse along with a specimen of use,and must apply to register the domain name exactly matching such trademarks during the Sunrise period through a .GAY approved registrar (your existing corporate domain name registrar should be able to assist you).

.GAY is also running a “Sunrise II” after the initial Sunrise period from April 6 to May 6, 2020. To be eligible to submit an application for registration of a domain name during Sunrise II, an applicant must be the holder of a corresponding mark registered in an official national or international trademark registry, and the domain name sought must be identical or confusingly similar to said mark. Prior recordal of these rights in the Trademark Clearinghouse will not be necessary.  Of course, by waiting until Sunrise II there is a risk that another party with a valid trademark identical to yours who has recorded their mark in the Trademark Clearinghouse could secure the corresponding domain name during Sunrise I.

After these Sunrise periods, .GAY will be open for registrations by the general public starting on May 11, 2020.  According to the registry operator, 20% of the registry’s registration revenue will be donated to recognized charities focused on LGBTQ advocacy and activism. The registry is also implementing additional content review measures to address any hate speech, cyber bullying, and usage of .GAY domains to harass or malign gay people or groups.

As an LGBT-owned firm certified by the NGLCC, and a long-time advocate and supporter of LGBT non-profits, Winterfeldt IP Group is thrilled by the forthcoming launch of.GAY.  We are very hopeful it will be a productive and supportive space for businesses and individuals who are part of the LGBT community and its allies, and represents an important opportunity for brands who want to demonstrate their support for the community.

If you have any questions regarding this update or wish to discuss it in more detail, please contact any of the following Winterfeldt IP Group team members:

Brian Winterfeldt, brian@winterfeldt.law202-903-4422

Griffin Barnett, griffin@winterfeldt.law202-759-5836

David Rome, david@winterfeldt.law   847-757-3790

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