ICANN has released the new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) .WINE and .VIN, which will launch on November 17, 2015 on a limited basis only to owners of federally registered trademarks. Whether these new gTLDs will gain traction with consumers and have marketplace value down the road or just be trees falling in the forest remains to be seen.
Regardless, and as history has proven, unsavory entrepreneurs will look at this as an opportunity to make domain-brand grabs and later seek to sell them for a profit to rightful owners. To assist registered trademark owners avoid cybersquatting and domain conflicts, ICANN is providing a two month period (the "Sunrise Period") to purchase domains BEFORE opening the new gTLDs to the general public. This means that a trademark holder can purchase its [trademark].wine or [trademark].vin domain from November 17, 2015 until January 16, 2016 BEFORE it becomes available to the public. To take advantage of the Sunrise Period, you first need to "register" your marks with the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH). Once registered with TMCH, you can purchase domains that mirror your trademark registration (with minor variants).
If you would like to pursue .vin and .wine domains for your registered wine trademarks during the Sunrise Period, please contact us for more information.
If you have wine brands that are not registered trademarks, while you may not pursue them during the Sunrise Period, you may do so afterwards using standard domain services (such as GoDaddy). If the domain has already been taken and you have legitimate prior trademark rights in the mark, you may challenge the domain registration. If you find yourself in such a situation, we can assist you in resolving the conflict.
Please contact us if you have any questions or want to pursue domains for any of your registered wine marks during the Sunrise Period.