The GAC believes that the TC as currently framed in the Applicant Guidebook needs to be significantly improved because a) there is lack of clarity as to the modalities of the TC process and operation and b) there are problems with its applicability.
While the GAC recognizes that the Trademark Clearing House (TC) mechanism was not introduced as a rights protection mechanism but as a cost reduction tool, the GAC believes it can provide effective and efficient means to enable rights holders to submit their trade mark registrations with a single entity rather than with every registry in which they may wish to obtain a second-level registration.
There is also a major inconsistency between Sunrise and IP Claims services because Sunrise services only recognize trademarks that are registered in countries conducting a so-called substantive review or examination. The consequences of this are significant in terms of eligibility.
In Europe, for example, all “Community Trademarks” (i.e. any trademark which is pending registration or has been registered in the European Union as a whole rather than on a national level within the EU) and most national trademarks are excluded from the Sunrise service.
These amendments would ensure that all trademark registrations could qualify for participation in the prelaunch sunrise mechanism, consistent with existing best practices (e.g. the policies for .eu, .tel, and .asia).
With regard to presentation in the Applicant Guidebook, the GAC recommends that the text could more clearly indicate (perhaps with a flow chart) at what time during the evaluation process, and by what entity, objections to potential trademark infringements should be submitted.