July 2017 saw the International Trademark Association (INTA) publish a report which assess the cost of brand protection in light of the ICANN New gTLD Program which began in 2012.
During the development of the New gTLD Program, the trademark community expressed concerns that an expanded TLD landscape would be open to abuse and therefore be expensive for brand owners who would be forced to protect their IP.
Therefore, INTA’s Impact Studies Committee commissioned a survey of its corporate members to determine what impact the New gTLD Program has had on brands’ enforcement costs. This study, in part, was conducted at the request of ICANN’s Competition, Consumer Trust and Consumer Choice (CCT) Review Team, which is currently evaluating whether the New gTLD Program is achieving its stated goals.
The main findings from the 33 respondents who completed the survey were that brands are purchasing new gTLDs to prevent unauthorised third-party use and infringement rather than for new business uses. The other main takeaway was that enforcement (through the UDRP and the URS) against infringers was difficult and that on average, INTA members spent $150,000 per year on defensive actions with Internet monitoring and diversion actions the making up the bulk of this total. A summary of all the findings and the full report may be found here.