The U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet has expressed concerns about the forthcoming generic top-level domain (gTLD) regime.
A hearing was staged this week to investigate the potential effects of expanding internet domain names beyond traditional suffixes such as .com, .net and .org.
The subcommittee looked into plans by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to expand gTLDs beyond the existing variants, giving domain name registrants the opportunity to create their own TLD.
Several members of the subcommittee acknowledged that the gTLD regime would have the likely effect of encouraging online investment.
However, concerns were also raised about the potential for gTLDs to contribute to the problem of cybersquatting.
Philadelphia-based attorney Philip Foret claimed there could be a “landrush” of individuals registering domain names similar to popular websites which are already in existence.
This could lead to a significant increase in costs for trademark policing, he suggested.
“It’s really the smaller and medium sized companies with low or no legal budgets that would be most affected when having to police trademark rights,” Foret claimed.
“They may have to spend a lot of company resources protecting their brands.”