Brands: Internet developments - domain name launch postponed by the US

United Kingdom
Domain name launch

The domain name system was to have been greatly expanded and re-organised this spring. Seven new top level domains were proposed as follows:








The launch of these domains has now been postponed following a report by the US Government Internet Task Force Director and a US Department of Commerce Statement of Policy which recommended the creation of a private company run by an international board to manage domain names and further discussions to find a solution to trade mark problems posed by the Internet. It is not yet known exactly when these (or any other) new domains will become accessible.

However, it is proposed that the new entity should be in place by 1 October 2000 and that it would make the initial decisions on expansion of the domain name system. There is of course enormous pressure to expand given the anticipated growth of the Web in years to come. However many trade mark owners feel that their interests are not served by the growth in number of top level domains, as this simply increases the pressure to register in all domains to ensure that a monopoly is maintained. Some trade mark owners have in fact already paid fees to the registrars of the proposed new domains in anticipation of registration.

There are also advanced proposals relating to new procedures for dealing with domain name disputes.

In particular it is proposed that the World Intellectual Property Organisation will play a leading role in offering mediation and arbitration, which it is hoped will represent a faster, more convenient and less costly option than litigation in national courts around the world.