The sunrise period of domain registration is a special period during which trademark holders may preregister names that are the same or similar to their trademarks in order to avoid cybersquatting. This occurs prior to the general launch of the top-level domain (TLD). In order to register, the group or individual must be able to prove their prior right to the name. The sunrise period serves as a test period, and is followed by the landrush period and/or General Availability.
Sunrise rules for the New gTLD Program
In October 2013, the Trademark Clearinghouse announced new rules for Sunrise periods for new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) that were rolling out as part of the New gTLD Program. There are now two types of Sunrise Periods:
End Date Sunrise
In this type of Sunrise, the Registry can announce the Sunrise as late as the day the Sunrise starts, but must run the Sunrise for 60 days or more. Trademark owners will have the duration of the Sunrise period to submit a claim for a domain. At the end of the period, all the claims are registered by the Registry and auctions are conducted if there is more than one claim for the same domain. This type of Sunrise has significant benefits for rights holders.
Start Date Sunrise
In this type of Sunrise, the Registry must give 30-days notice before commencing the Sunrise. Once the Sunrise starts, it must run for only 30 days or more. Claims by trademark owners are processed on a first-come-first-served basis, so there is no need for auctions and domains are registered as claims are made during the Sunrise period. This type of Sunrise has so far been very rare among New gTLD strings, and has benefits for Registries while causing concerns for rights holders.
When two trademark owners both have legitimate claim to a given domain, these domains then go to auction.
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