All New gTLD Registrations Should be Subject to Sunrise Periods – Even Reserved Names.

Planning to register your trademark as a domain name during a Sunrise Period only to find out that the registration appears on a Reserved Names list?

There are a number of reasons why a domain that matches your trademark is appearing on a Reserved Names list. First of all, if the domain desired is the subject of Name Collision, it may appear on a Reserved Names list. Although this is not true for all registries, as some operators are allowing domains that have been the subject of Name Collision to be allocated during Sunrise, but not delegated.

Or if it matches an acronym of an IGO or INGO for which the GAC has requested protection, it will appear on a Reserved Names list. And country names and country-codes should always appear on Reserved Names list.

Dictionary terms also often appear on Reserved Names lists, as some registries have plans to hold back the very best domains so that they may be auctioned off to the highest bidder, once the registry has gained greater acceptance.

But whatever the case may be, if and when domains are removed from these Reserved Names lists, I feel strongly that they must be subject to Sunrise Periods, if they had not been subject to them previously.

Undoubtedly, this complicates everything, for everyone. Registries must be equipped to offer Sunrise registrations while the registry is operating in General Availability. Registrars will need to notify registrants of their eligibility to participate, and registrants will be faced with even more complexity.

That said, Sunrise Periods provide rights owners with necessary time to obtain their intellectual property ahead of all others. Not supporting this would not only be in violation of the Registry Agreement and the hotly debated RPMs that were ultimately adopted, but it would also open floodgates for gaming in future rounds.

I am hopeful that all registries will comply with the Registry Agreement to offer Sunrise Periods for all domains, and if that means offering multiple Sunrise Periods as domains are removed from Reserved Names lists, then so be it.