Art dealers, galleries and brand protection - gallery and domain name update

Posted by Simon Stokes on
Dealers and galleries need to be aware that there are a large number of new Internet domain names coming on stream. 

Most dealers and galleries will be familiar with and use a .com .org or .co.uk domain name.  Going forward it will be possible for dealers and galleries to apply for and register lots more so-called "top level domains" - .gallery is one, there will be .art too and others available now or in the near future include .estate, .photography and others.  These domains are typically a similar price to existing domains to register – registry fees can be as low as £10 - £16 per year (but considerably higher if you wish to apply on a priority basis).

Given more domain names are or will be available what should dealers and galleries do?  In an ideal world a gallery would have a brand protection strategy – registered trade mark protection for your name/brand if available, and a portfolio of key domains eg galleryname.co.uk. .com, possibly .eu, and others are possible too.  In particular the new ".gallery" domain name ought to be attractive  – this comes fully on stream in February but in the meantime priority "sunrise" registration is available for trade mark owners and those prepared to pay priority fees, although trade mark owners always get priority.  Plus pre-registration on a "landrush" basis for a very modest cost is currently available as well.  After that registration will be on an open basis from 12 February 2014.

If dealers and galleries don't act quickly to secure .gallery they may find "cyber squatters" have registered their names first causing potential damage to their brand and this can be costly and troublesome to rectify.  Dealers also need to be aware that getting a registered trade mark for their business is the best form of brand protection.  This then allows them to register their trade mark with an organisation called The Trademark Clearinghouse ("TCH") which puts them in poll position to acquire future new domain names and helps to prevent cyber squatting.

Action recommended

  • Any .gallery domains dealers and galleries want to acquire should be applied for or pre-registered as soon as possible and before 1 February 2014 to stand the best chance of beating cyber squatters
  • If you have any registered trade marks register them with TCH asap (and before 1 February 2014 if at all possible), again to try to defeat any cyber squatters
  • If you don't have any registered trade marks consider applying for them and develop a brand protection strategy going forward
  • Keep an eye out for when new art-related top level domains such as ".art" become available and take appropriate steps to acquire the relevant domains.  For example ".photography" is now available on the same basis as ".gallery" but details are still awaited for when ".art" can be applied for.

About the Author

Leading the firm's technology practice in London, Simon specialises in information technology law, including outsourcing, cloud services, protecting software IP and licensing of market leading data analytics software.

Simon Stokes
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