I am not at all surprised, but apparently there have been a number of people who went out and hand registered trademark domain names in some of the new gTLD extensions. People and organizations who were opposed to the new domain name extensions cautioned brands about this happening, and Forbes has an article covering the problem.
The article, Cybersquatters Rush To Claim Brands In The New GTLD Territories, which was published today on Forbes, highlights a number of domain name registrations that it believes should be considered cybersquatting.
This type of thing happens every day, regardless of the extension. There are many ccTLD domain names that contain famous brand names that have been registered for years. In many cases, I think the issue is that people don’t know any better. They may not be familiar with trademark law, and they see an opportunity they can’t resist.
Most domain investors would not register a famous brand in a new gTLD for a couple of reasons. Firstly, a lawsuit can be expensive and a UDRP can create a problem for the investor’s other holdings in the future. Secondly, I would guess that most new domain names will have no traffic, so monetization opportunities aren’t there. Unfortunately, the people who do buy these trademark domain names make legitimate domain investors look bad. It’s drawing negative attention to this space, and that isn’t good for anyone, especially those who operate clean businesses.
I strongly urge people to not buy trademark domain names when they are looking at new gTLD opportunities. If you need to hear that from a legal expert, check out attorney David Weslow’s video on Domain Sherpa. Buying trademark domain names increases the likelihood of being sued, and they are liabilities rather than assets.