New Top Level Domain “.BANK” Released – Sunrise Period Commences Early May

February 9, 2015

The long-anticipated new generic top level domain (gTLD) ".BANK" has just been released and will be regulated strictly by its appointed operator, fTLD Registry Services, LLC, to prevent fraud. fTLD has in turn appointed various registrars worldwide to administer the registration process (see https://www.ftld.com/WP/approved-registrars/). Costs have not yet been established for the actual domain registration and will be set by the approved registrars.

Hundreds of new gTLDs have been approved, activated or are in the pipeline under complex global procedures administered by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names & Numbers). With the release of .BANK, any legally chartered banking institution may seek to register a domain with a .BANK suffix (e.g., "xyzcommunitybank.bank").

There is an early "Sunrise Period" starting on or about May 1, on a first-come, first-served basis, for eligible members of the global banking community that have registered their bank's trademarks with ICANN's Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH). TMCH also provides notice and a process to object if someone else seeks to register a name that conflicts exactly with your TMCH recorded marks based on a legally registered trademark.

If a bank's marks are not registered with the TMCH, the bank will need to wait until the .BANK registry opens for general domain registrations on or about June 24 (dates are still fluid) on a first-come, first-served basis. Domains must correspond to a trademark, trade name or service mark of the banking organization.

During the first 90 days of the general registration period, anyone attempting to register a domain name exactly matching a mark that has been recorded in the TMCH will be notified if the domain name has already been registered. Thus, recordation with TMCH provides meaningful benefits.


For advice and guidance on the gTLD process and for information about registering marks with the TMCH contact:

Barry Werbin at +1 212 592 1418 or [email protected]

© 2015 Herrick, Feinstein LLP. This alert is published by Herrick, Feinstein LLP for information purposes only. Nothing contained herein is intended to serve as legal advice or counsel or as an opinion of the firm.