About a decade ago, ICM Registry launched Sunrise B, a domain name blocking service that allowed trade mark owners to prevent use of their trade marks in the domain names of explicit or pornographic websites using the dotXXX top level domain.
The Sunrise B .xxx blocking service was retired on 21 December 2020 and replaced (for those who wished to migrate over) by a much more intelligent and robust blocking system that comes in two variants: AdultBlock and AdultBlock+
AdultBlock and AdultBlock+ block registration of the identical trade mark in not only the dotXXX domain, but also the dotPORN, dotADULT and dotSEX domains, effectively barring misuse of brand names by third parties operating in the adult content space.
The AdultBlock+ system goes beyond this by also preventing use of confusingly similar trade marks in conjunction with these explicit or pornographic top level domains. What is considered “confusingly similar” in this context is determied by advanced algorithms, and encompasses the trade mark (or similar) rendered in 20 languages and scripts, including French, German, Italian, Portuguese (with their various vowel accents), as well as Chinese (Simplified & Traditional), Korean, and Russian characters.
Initially, AdultBlock and AdultBlock+ registration was open only to brands that had been enrolled in the Sunrise B programme in 2011, or whose trade marks had been registered with the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) by a certain cutoff date.
Thankfully, the eligibility critera were widened in May 2021, and brands may now rely on any of the following for AdultBlock or AdultBlock+ registration:
- registered trademarks;
- common law (unregistered but in use) trademarks;
- company names; and/or
- celebrity names.
Without AdultBlock or AdultBlock+ registration, nothing stops your trade mark being registered as a domain name (whether using a pornographic domain or not). Domain name registrars, absent a block in place, do not “examine” domain name registration requests in the same way that trade mark applications are examined by IP Offices with reference to third party earlier rights; in the relative wild west of domain name registration, availability is the only requirement.
While it is true that there are measures available for wresting back control of a nefariously registered domain name, a proactive measure such as AdultBlock or AdultBlock+ registration is far and away the more predictable and cost-effective mechanism for preventing online dilution or detriment to your brand in the first place.
Get in touch to find out more or if you would like to pursue AdultBlock or AdultBlock+ registration.