Will the Real Trademark Clearinghouse Please Stand Up?

October 18, 2012

By Doug Isenberg

Presumably in anticipation of offering services as a provider of ICANN’s “Trademark Clearinghouse” for new gTLDs, Deloitte has registered the domain name <trademark-clearinghouse.com> (with a hyphen) and is using it in connection with (as of today, October 18, 2012) an informational website, as shown in this screenshot:

Interestingly, the domain name <trademarkclearinghouse.com> (without a hyphen) was registered by D.W. Nance, LLC (a law firm), in October 2006, and is being used to promote “a free safehaven for owners of domain names that may infringe someone else’s intellectual property.”

The service appears to be offered by a company called “TM Clearing House, LLC” and encourages domain name registrants to redirect their disputed domain names to a website using the — apparently expired (!), as of today, October 28, 2012 — domain name <tmchsafehaven.com> (which surely will be promptly re-registered by an opportunist), as shown here:

Certainly (and ironically, given the world of trademarks and domain names), many consumers are likely to be confused by these two websites. Perhaps not the best start for a program designed to help trademark owners.

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