Headline Oct 30, 2014/

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MANY QUESTIONS remain unclear despite more than 300 pages of guidelines, says Dan Jaffe of the Association of National Advertisers.

Jeff Duke, general counsel at Zippo, a lighter-maker, says the firm already spends $3 million a year:  "playing whack a mole" with claim-jumpers  -a tidy sum for a small manufacturer, albeit one with a big brand.

The expansion will  "multiply our headaches", he predicts.

Zippo will apply for  .zippo,  even though  "even though we don't have great plans for it." He sees possible battles ahead with imposters using Zippo's name, or variants of it, with  .shop  or  .lighter.

Some  90%  of the brand-owners' applications are driven by anxiety, and not optimism, says Josh Bourne of the Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse, an industry group.

Companies with names that are commonly used by others, such as Delta and United, could struggle to secure the domains they want. 

Some will be decided in auctions, the last resort of the  ICANN  process, other possible in court.

Where two companies have similar names, say  UBS  (a bank)  and UPS (a courier)  an ICANN panel will use judgement and algorithms to decide whether approving both domains would cause confusion.

Some are sure to challenge its rulings.

The banks will be fiercest over the most popular generic suffixes   -such as .art, .radio, .music, .web. Some bidders have sought trademark protection in the hope of scaring off rivals.

Applications are pending in America for, among other suffixes,  .art, .shop, .wedding, .franchise,  .food and .bank, lodged by both individuals and companies.

An aggressive San Francisco, law firm, Rodenbaugh Law, has filed 15 separate applications on behalf of its clients.

America's trade mark office generally rejects such applications on the ground that they are purely descriptive. But some appear to have slipped through.

Several cases are in court or heading there.

Claiming that the trademark offices gave it sole rights for its use,  Planet.Eco, is suing two others that want the  .eco string.

Whether or not such cases are real or  try-ons, the potential for disruption is clear.

The  .eco  case has been rumbling on for over two years.

It does not help that Europe approves applications to register proprietary internet domains more readily than America does.

''Trademarks are country-specific, domains unique. The two will never match up exactly,''  says Rod Beckstrom,  ICANN'S  chief executive.

The Honour and Serving of the operational research continues. Thank you for reading and see you on the following one.

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