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ICM Registry expands brand protection options as .xxx blocks expire

With sunset for .xxx Sunrise B blocks fast approaching, brand owners will need to convert an existing block to AdultBlock or AdultBlock

2021 marks the 10-year anniversary of the launch of the .xxx top-level domain (TLD) by ICM Registry – and also the year that Sunrise B, the blocking product, migrates over to the upgraded AdultBlock product.

In 2011, the .xxx TLD launched exclusively to host adult-themed content. At that time, ICM Registry introduced a defensive domain blocking product that brand owners could use to protect their trademarks from registrations in the .xxx namespace. Instead of the brand owner making defensive registrations in .xxx, Sunrise B blocks blocked matching domain names from being registered.

Sunset for Sunrise B blocks

The initial 10-year term for Sunrise B block holders will end on December 1 2021. Without conversion to AdultBlock before this date, Sunrise B block holders have until that date to take action to ensure that their marks do not become available for registration in the .xxx namespace TLD by unauthorised third parties.

ICM Registry now offers two enhanced rights protection options for brand owners who wish to replace the expiring Sunrise B blocks: the AdultBlock and AdultBlock+ products.

AdultBlock: AdultBlock restricts the registration of exact match trademark names by unauthorised third parties in the .xxx TLD – plus three other adult-related TLDs: .porn, .adult, and .sex. Sunrise B blocks that are converted to AdultBlock before December 1 will continue uninterrupted domain protection of their marks – plus get the benefit of the expanded TLD coverage.

AdultBlock+: Provides the maximum level of defensive protection in the adult space. This enhanced blocking product restricts registration of exact match trademark names across all four adult TLDs (.xxx, .porn, .adult and .sex) and extends the blocks across an unlimited number of possible look-alike variations (homoglyphs) and common typographical errors. The addition of this enhanced protection prevents third parties from registering any confusingly similar versions of marks.

Brand owners and interested parties can use the trademark variant search tool here to view the variants that the AdultBlock+ service protects.

Time for brand owners to act

With December 1 2021 approaching, brand owners need to act now to keep their brand(s) protected in the adult space by converting existing Sunrise B blocks to AdultBlock or AdultBlock+.

Converting existing Sunrise B blocks will:

  • Extend brand protection from just .xxx to all adult-themed TLDs, including .adult, .porn and .sex;
  • Help keep brands safe from fraudsters seeking to capitalise on the brand’s IP for nefarious purposes, like cybersquatting, phishing, and malware; and
  • Block additional look-alike and confusingly similar homoglyph variants of the brand’s mark(s) (with AdultBlock+).

Enhanced eligibility criteria

When first launched, AdultBlock and AdultBlock+ were exclusively available only to original Sunrise B registrants and brand owners holding valid trademarks in the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH). However, in response to feedback from the brand community, in May 2021, the eligibility criteria were expanded to protect even more rights, including:

  • Registered trademarks not in the TMCH;
  • Unregistered/common law trademarks;
  • Company/organisation names; and
  • Names of celebrities and public figures. 

Next steps

In order to convert an existing Sunrise B block, or to protect a new trademark or name in either the AdultBlock or AdultBlock+ product, please reach out to your preferred corporate or retail domain registrar. A complete list of accredited registrars can be found on AdultBlock.Adult.

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GoDaddy Registry acquired ICM Registry on August 11 2021 and is committed to partnering with brand owners and the larger IP community to continue enhancing the AdultBlock and AdultBlock+ products.

More information about the features and benefits of AdultBlock and AdultBlock+ can be downloaded from this additional factsheet

See other recent articles published relating to domain blocking

Sunset for .xxx blocks brings new tools for adult TLDs (July 2020)

A grown up way to approach brand protection (June 2020)

To block or not to block? Brand protection in adult TLDs (June 2020)

Tony Kirsch
Head of Professional Services, GoDaddy Registry

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