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[ga] Branded TLDs
The US PTO has released Examination Guide No. 2-99, dated September 29,
1999 (I could not find it today at www.uspto.gov but I would expect it to
be up shortly).
Entitled "Marks Composed, In Whole Or In Part, Of Domain Names," the entire
document is of interest to these lists. I note in particular:
"Marks Comprised Solely of TLDs for Domain Name Registry Services
If a mark is composed of a TLD for "domain name registry services" (e.g.
the services currently provided by NSI of registering .com domain names),
registration should be refused under Trademark Act Sections 1, 2, 3 and 45,
on the ground that the TLD would not be perceived as a mark. . . . If the
TLD merely describes the subject or user of the domain space, registration
should be refused under Trademark Act Section 2(e)(1) on the ground that
the TLD is merely descriptive of registry services."
This would imply that .com could function as a trademark for pretzels or
t-shirts, but not domain name registry services.
I add that this is a PTO policy guide. The Federal Courts would have
ultimate authority to interpret the Lanham Act on this and other issues.
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