[gnso-rpm-wg] TMCH Blog

J. Scott Evans jsevans at adobe.com
Thu Feb 2 17:51:42 UTC 2017

I also note it is NOT a big brand abusing the system, but a domain speculator. The same group of bad actors (i.e., rogue domain speculators) that abuse brands in the DNS.

J. Scott

J. Scott Evans | Associate General Counsel - Trademarks, Copyright, Domains & Marketing |


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From: Brian Winterfeldt <BWinterfeldt at mayerbrown.com<mailto:BWinterfeldt at mayerbrown.com>>
Date: Thursday, February 2, 2017 at 9:49 AM
To: "J. Scott Evans" <jsevans at adobe.com<mailto:jsevans at adobe.com>>
Cc: Jonathan Frost <jonathan at get.club<mailto:jonathan at get.club>>, gnso-rpm-wg <gnso-rpm-wg at icann.org<mailto:gnso-rpm-wg at icann.org>>
Subject: Re: [gnso-rpm-wg] TMCH Blog

Hi all,

I agree with the points raised by J. Scott and others: the TMCH is not the place to challenge underlying trademark registrations.  The appropriate recourse is to challenge the registration at the appropriate national or regional trademark office.  The TMCH must record any mark that satisfies the validation criteria, including proof of use requirements for access to Sunrise services.  It is important to remember that Sunrise registrations are only permitted where the mark owner has submitted acceptable proof of use to the TMCH (otherwise, a recorded mark is only eligible for Trademark Claims service).  I support examining the criteria for proof of use to see if we can improve them to minimize acceptance of insufficient or mere “token” specimens of use, but let’s not be overbroad in decrying the TMCH because some gaming is occurring.  Also, a mark need not be “famous” or “well-known” in order to be protected and this is not, nor should it be, a requirement of TMCH recordal of an otherwise valid trademark.

Looking forward to discussing these issues at greater length at the appropriate time.

Best regards,


Brian J. Winterfeldt
Co-Head of Global Brand Management and Internet Practice
Mayer Brown LLP
bwinterfeldt at mayerbrown.com<mailto:bwinterfeldt at mayerbrown.com>
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On Feb 2, 2017, at 11:10 AM, J. Scott Evans via gnso-rpm-wg <gnso-rpm-wg at icann.org<mailto:gnso-rpm-wg at icann.org>> wrote:

In most jurisdictions in the world you can obtain a valid and enforceable trademark registration with no demonstration of use. If the system is being abused, then we need to put the n fail safes. We could have a challenge mechanism. In the US, which requires "use", token (fake use) is not deemed sufficient.

Sent from my iPhone

On Feb 2, 2017, at 8:03 AM, Jonathan Frost <jonathan at get.club<mailto:jonathan at get.club>> wrote:

These TMCH gaming issues have been well documented all the way back to 2014 .http://domainnamewire.com/2014/02/10/how-common-words-like-pizza-money-and-shopping-ended-up-in-the-trademark-clearinghouse-for-new-tlds/<https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fdomainnamewire.com%2F2014%2F02%2F10%2Fhow-common-words-like-pizza-money-and-shopping-ended-up-in-the-trademark-clearinghouse-for-new-tlds%2F&data=01%7C01%7CBwinterfeldt%40mayerbrown.com%7Cc2c40107ac76460617a808d44b86004e%7C09131022b7854e6d8d42916975e51262%7C0&sdata=%2BLJMOFvYZMT4q%2FIm67ue9OvYUJ8l5UbmI%2FKLBscT1H4%3D&reserved=0>

Gaming the TMCH is as easy as starting an ecommerce store on a template and selling various products like t-shirts and pens with the arbitrary use of a common/valuable term (e.g.. pizza pen shop). This allows registration of the trademark for the term in any number of jurisdictions and subsequent registration in the TMCH.

Jonathan Frost
General Counsel
Telephone: (+1)877-707-5752
100 SE 3rd Avenue, #1310
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33394
E-Mail: jonathan at get.club<mailto:jonathan at get.club>
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From:gnso-rpm-wg-bounces at icann.org<mailto:gnso-rpm-wg-bounces at icann.org> [mailto:gnso-rpm-wg-bounces at icann.org] On Behalf Of Phil Corwin
Sent: Thursday, February 2, 2017 9:13 AM
To: Jon Nevett <jon at donuts.email<mailto:jon at donuts.email>>; gnso-rpm-wg <gnso-rpm-wg at icann.org<mailto:gnso-rpm-wg at icann.org>>
Subject: Re: [gnso-rpm-wg] TMCH Blog

I’m tempted to say that is one of *** craziest things I’ve ever seen, but if I use *** word *** I might be cited for infringement or have to pay a licensing fee ;-)

Seriously, it would be interesting to know in what jurisdiction the trademark was granted in and whether they professed to demonstrate use in commerce.

Also seems to be an example of a situation where everyone in general but no one in particular has an incentive to challenge the acceptance of the mark by the TMCH.

Philip S. Corwin, Founding Principal
Virtualaw LLC
1155 F Street, NW
Suite 1050
Washington, DC 20004

Twitter: @VlawDC

"Luck is the residue of design" -- Branch Rickey

From:gnso-rpm-wg-bounces at icann.org<mailto:gnso-rpm-wg-bounces at icann.org> [mailto:gnso-rpm-wg-bounces at icann.org] On Behalf Of Jon Nevett
Sent: Thursday, February 02, 2017 8:55 AM
To: gnso-rpm-wg
Subject: [gnso-rpm-wg] TMCH Blog

FYI -- for those who haven't seen this blog:


The Trademark ClearingHouse Worked So Well One Company Got 24 new gTLD using The Famous Trademark “The”

February 1, 2017 by Michael Berkens<https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.thedomains.com%2Fauthor%2Fmichael-berkens%2F&data=01%7C01%7CBwinterfeldt%40mayerbrown.com%7Cc2c40107ac76460617a808d44b86004e%7C09131022b7854e6d8d42916975e51262%7C0&sdata=j1oolizppFPQsqfk3Cl8jaM6x1uA2ofz9Dbqq4kBlok%3D&reserved=0> 5 Comments<https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.thedomains.com%2F2017%2F02%2F01%2Fthe-trademark-clearinghouse-worked-so-well-one-company-got-24-new-gtld-using-the-famous-trademark-the%2F%23comments&data=01%7C01%7CBwinterfeldt%40mayerbrown.com%7Cc2c40107ac76460617a808d44b86004e%7C09131022b7854e6d8d42916975e51262%7C0&sdata=9IKsG3t%2BF3CQZvxBcFVy8%2BGvmUOP6hA6zqv97L6ykIk%3D&reserved=0>
The Trademark ClearingHouse (TMCH)<https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.trademark-clearinghouse.com%2F&data=01%7C01%7CBwinterfeldt%40mayerbrown.com%7Cc2c40107ac76460617a808d44b86004e%7C09131022b7854e6d8d42916975e51262%7C0&sdata=57ncR1jkvpQK1H1CZoRj%2FWVjy3eRF4yGp1XfxJUt29M%3D&reserved=0> which was set up/ contracted by ICANN to protect those famous worldwide brand names from abuse by those nasty domain name squatters resulted in a whole new industry.
Those playing the TMCH for their own benefit to get first jump at new gTLD domain names to get registered in Sunrise ahead of all other under common words like “the”
Actually there maybe no better example than those domain names obtained on the world-famous trademarks as of the word”the”,  which is the most used word in the English language<https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FMost_common_words_in_English&data=01%7C01%7CBwinterfeldt%40mayerbrown.com%7Cc2c40107ac76460617a808d44b86004e%7C09131022b7854e6d8d42916975e51262%7C0&sdata=8oloVrvxeCOU3m6f6CeSECXKmwoXxzaNTA2NW22xZsc%3D&reserved=0>.
The world-famous trademark for the word “the” was obtained by Goallover Limited of London who according to DomainTools.com<https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2FDomainTools.com&data=01%7C01%7CBwinterfeldt%40mayerbrown.com%7Cc2c40107ac76460617a808d44b86004e%7C09131022b7854e6d8d42916975e51262%7C0&sdata=mviW6PO16d4l7J0kXAFukFOKxwgPVFtpswkG%2FyfBfkQ%3D&reserved=0> owns an amazing amount of domain names approaching nearly 100, but was able to get all of the following new gTLD’s using their globally well-known trademark on the word “the” under the ICANN trademark clearinghouse rules which  allows them to obtain the domain names ahead of all other applicants.
Of course the company could have had obtained even more “the” new gTLD domain names in Sunrise but apparently did not apply for more.
Somehow the company doesn’t appear to own the domain name The.Com<https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2FThe.Com&data=01%7C01%7CBwinterfeldt%40mayerbrown.com%7Cc2c40107ac76460617a808d44b86004e%7C09131022b7854e6d8d42916975e51262%7C0&sdata=kmoRjEhKOojx%2FIX%2Fl%2FhlKMn%2FiuXTBJmlHse4wgKWlF0%3D&reserved=0>
For all Trademark Holders its nice to know the world is a safer place:

No virus found in this message.
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