Two significant ICANN-accredited registrars have signed up to a body that commits them to, among other things, endorse the position that blockchain-based alt-root TLDs have trademark rights to their strings.
United-Domains and MarkMonitor are among about 50 companies now listed as new members of the Web3 Domain Alliance, the association created late last year by well-financed alt-root registry Unstoppable Domains.
The other companies listed appear to be players in the crypto/blockchain/Web3/NFT space, rather than the traditional domain name industry.
The moves by the two registrars are significant because the Alliance’s platform stands to be a significant thorn in ICANN’s side when it finally opens up the next new gTLD application round, which could happen in the next couple years.
According to the Alliance’s web site, members have to commit not only to promote the market acceptance and interoperability of blockchain alt-root domains, but also:
To advocate for the policy position that NFT domain registry owner-operators create trademark rights in their web3 TLDs through first commercial use with market penetration.
This could be a big problem in the next new gTLD round, as current ICANN policy proposals, developed before the likes of Unstoppable became such a big deal, do not specifically account for claims by alt-root providers.
Trademark owners will be able to challenge gTLD applications if the applied-for string matches their mark, but historically it’s not really been possible for companies to obtain trademarks on TLDs.
Along with the membership announcement, Unstoppable has said that it will not enforce its patents against any Alliance member that implements its standards, provided the member agrees not to enforce its own patents.
United-Domains is part of United-Internet, the same company that runs IONOS, 1&1, Sedo and InternetX.
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