.xxx is a new sponsored Top-Level Domain (sTLD) intended as a voluntary option for pornographic websites. The voluntary domain is intended to create a “red-light district” for the Internet. ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assignment of Names and Numbers) approved the .XXX sTLD on March 18, 2011, after multiple rejections over the previous 6 years. It went into operation on April 15, 2011. The sponsoring organization is the International Foundation for Online Responsibility (IFFOR). The registry is operated by a private business, ICM Registry LLC http://www.icmregistry.com/launch/, who is subcontracting both the registration and blocking of domains to companies like GoDaddy.com.

Since this is a new sTLD, the first to register will have a senior right to the domain name. Existing adult industry members have already been allowed to request their domain names (Sunrise Period A) and open registration starts November 8, 2011. To give existing trademark holders a chance to block their trademark from becoming a .XXX domain name, there is a “Sunrise Period B” for trademark holders to ask to be blocked from the pool of available domains.

Your Options as a Trademark owner:

  • Pay to block your trademarked name:
    • Before October 28, 2011 (end of the “Sunrise B” period), you can pay a GoDaddy or like-company an approximate $200-400 fee to request a 10 year block of your registered trademark name from becoming a .XXX.
    • If an adult industry member has already grabbed your trademark name during the Sunrise A period, you won’t be able to block your name, but it is highly unlikely that there is an adult industry member that matches any of your registered marks and has already claimed the domain name.
  • Do Nothing: Starting November 8, 2011 anyone can register for domain names with .XXX. If you find that your trademark has become a .XXX domain name, we can discuss what other options are available to deal with the issue through trademark infringement enforcement.

Let us know if you have any questions, but we felt this was something for you to be aware of.

If you would like our assistance in filing to have your registered trademark blocked, we will be assisting clients for a flat rate of $350 which includes the registration fee. Please contact Dayna Christian if you would like us to provide this service.


Dayna Christian

About the Author: Dayna Christian
Email: dayna.christian@immixlaw.com | Direct: (503) 802-5537

Having handled hundreds of civil commercial and tort matters, and having tried over 70 cases to verdict, Dayna knows her way around a courtroom. She brings this experience to her clients while also advising them on a range of business practice topics designed to avoid litigation and leading them through disputes when litigation is unavoidable.