New “.cfd” Domain Extension Tailored to Capture the Virtual Runway

By Michelle Hon Donovan and Anjuli M. Cargain

ShortDot, a domain name registry company, has announced the launch of .cfd (#ClothingFashionDesign), a specialized generic top-level domain (gTLD) for clothing brands, fashion designers, retailers, influencers, bloggers, consumers and lifestyle ecommerce stores. TLDs were developed in the 1980s and have unique purposes (e.g., .com, commercial; .org, nonprofit organizations; .net, network and internet-related organizations; .edu, educational; .gov, government entities). ShortDot’s webpage for registering the new domain states:

By providing a memorable, unique, and relevant web address, .CFD offers clothing, fashion, cosmetics, and footwear brands and designers a unique opportunity to strengthen their web presence.

Trademark owners can register .cfd domain names during the “sunrise period,” which ends April 12, 2021.

The new .cfd is intended to broadly encompass the fashion, footwear and cosmetics industry, including:

  • Fashion houses, manufacturers, retailers and designers;
  • Clothing/footwear/cosmetics brands’ online stores, online boutiques or ecommerce stores;
  • New-age apparel businesses, forward-thinking fashion brands and progressive cosmetics and footwear companies;
  • Virtual fashion shows, fashion blogs and style guides;
  • A model’s portfolio page or a photographer’s online collection; and
  • Any other application of the words “clothing and fashion design.”

Sunrise Period

The sunrise period of domain name 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 attempts by others to register and profit from the use of the trademark. Sunrise periods occur prior to launch of a gTLD to the general public.

Short Dot launched .cfd’s sunrise period, exclusively for trademark holders, on March 10, 2021. The sunrise period will end on April 12, 2021.

General Availability

The .cfd domain will officially be available for all end users on April 13, 2021, and will be preceded with a seven-day Early Access Program (EAP) that will last until April 20, 2021. EAP access is subject to following pricing schedule:

  • Day 1: $1,000
  • Day 2: $500
  • Day 3: $250
  • Day 4: $125
  • Day 5: $100
  • Day 6: $75
  • Day 7: $50
  • Starting April 20, 2021, end users seeking to register as a .cfd will be subject to standard fees.

Trademark Registration and Verification

In order to participate in the sunrise period, a company must have its trademark registration registered and verified by the Trademark Clearinghouse. The clearinghouse is a centralized database of verified trademarks that is connected to each and every new gTLD that will launch. After the Trademark Clearinghouse reviews and verifies the trademark data, trademark holders receive a unique authentication key that provides access to participate in sunrise periods of new gTLDs. Brand owners can submit trademark data into the clearinghouse’s centralized database both prior to and during the launch of new gTLDs.

Registration with the Trademark Clearinghouse also ensures that trademark owners receive the benefit of the notification services. In the event that someone attempts to register a domain name in a new gTLD that matches a trademark record in the clearinghouse, the clearinghouse warns the domain name registrant that the domain name matches a trademark term in the database. If the registrant continues to register the domain name, the trademark holder with then receive a notification of the registration so that it can take appropriate action to dispute the registration.

Practical Guidance

For companies in the clothing, cosmetics, fashion and design industry, registering as a .cfd could help deepen industry presence and target consumers. Registered trademark holders who have verified their registrations with the Trademark Clearinghouse can take advantage of the sunrise period. Companies should considering verifying their trademark registrations with the Trademark Clearinghouse so they get notice of potentially infringing domain name registrations.

About Duane Morris

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