New Domain Name Extensions

Top-level domains (TLD’s) are the extensions that specifies a website type and location;  .com or .ca for example. There are currently only a dozen or so to choose from. But a huge expansion in 2014 will see 1400 possible TLD’s becoming available. Pick a domain extension and it will  likely be available in a few months, from .venture, .inc, .ltd and .llp to .enterprises,  .law and .lawyer.

What it Means for Startups

Choosing a business name that has a suitable domain name was becoming incredibly difficult. While the new domain name expansion of the some odd 1400 new TLD’s will surly help businesses find a suitable domain name, there will undoubtably be growth in name and domain name disputes along with other hurdles for business owners. So tread cautiously and know the domain name dispute rules to ensure you do not find yourself on the wrong end of a domain name dispute.

Of the roughly 1400 new TLD’s only about 700 will be  available to the public. There will be another 700 or so new domains that are trademarked names – .FORD, .GUCCI, .DUPONT – and, although the owners could open them to the general public, they’ll most likely reserve them for internal use.

For the public domain names, at the moment, hosting providers like GoDaddy are offering a pre-registration period for some of the TLD’s. The intention is to let the holders of trademarks register their domains first. So if you have not done so already, trademarking your name will help get you to the front of the line and in some cases may give you a better claim to a domain name if contested.

The Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers “ICANN” protects trademark owners by letting them reserve their trademarked names first before anyone else is allowed to submit registrations for a particular domain.

The new domains will be released over the next two years (with some having begun in November 2013). To increase your chances of getting the domains you want, aside from trademarking the name, Godaddy lets you “follow” any that interest you.

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John Wires is a Toronto business lawyer who comes from a corporate litigation background. John is the founder of Wires Law, a law firm serving corporate, technology and e-commerce clients across Canada. He was called to the Bar of the Law Society of Upper Canada in 2011 and has appeared in the Ontario Superior Court, the Ontario Court of Appeal and private arbitrations. John graduated from law school with first class honours specializing in both International Trade and Corporate Commercial Law. Having litigated shareholder and employee disputes he understands the value of companies protecting their businesses with the proper upfront legal work many Canadian businesses lack.