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Why is ".商标" defined as a new intellectual property right?

According to the Tokyo Convention 1992 of the International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property ("AIPPI"), intellectual property rights consist of "achievement right" and "right of identifying signs".

".商标" is protected by intellectual property laws as dual identifying signs, as it represents creative achievement on the one hand, and meets the requirement of preventing unfair competition on the other hand.

“.商标” is the only generic top-level domain name that uses “商标” as a suffix on the World Wide Web. ".商标" is like the identifying sign of ® representing trademarks. The sign of "商标" conveys the property of trademark to others and consumers visually and by its meaning. “.商标” is a new form of representation of trademarks. The dual identifying functions of trademark and domain name enable it to share the same fundamental functions of any elements (words, numbers, graphics, colors, scents and sound) qualified to become a trademark, i.e. distinguishing goods, services, or the information sources of specific individuals, enterprises or organizations related to such goods or services from others, making them easily identifiable by consumers.  

According to the definition of trademark in Article 15 of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Right (the "TRIPS Agreement") of the WTO, "any sign, or any combination of signs, capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one undertaking from those of other undertakings, shall be capable of constituting a trademark."

In relevant papers of the World Intellectual Property Organization, exclusivity, timeliness, and territoriality were determined as features of intellectual property right, which are exactly contained in the ".商标". From the perspective of exclusivity, ".商标", as a mark and sign of the domain name holder on the Internet, is unique worldwide and there are no two exact instances of the same. The fundamental features of domain names decide the indisputable exclusivity of ".商标", which can only be used by the right holder (holder of the ".商标") on the Internet. Any other person or organization cannot use such domain name. From the perspective of timeliness, ".商标" needs to be renewed every year; otherwise, it will be canceled. From the perspective of territoriality, the territory of ".商标" is expressed as the "territory" on the Internet, other than that of other conventional types of intellectual property rights in the real world. Along with execution of a great many international conventions and bilateral treaties protecting intellectual property rights in more than a century, the protection on intellectual property rights, however, is not limited to domestic laws confined by borders, but expanding globally.

At the same time, ".商标" is available for the application, registration, and use by any trademark holder with a valid trademark certificate issued by any country and region in the world or by any applicant for trademark under pending application. Once a ".商标" is registered successfully, its holder has the sole and exclusive domain name right around the world. As the registrant of a ".商标” must be a trademark right holder, the registrant may express, promote, manifest, and protect its trademark on the World Wide Web in the form of ".商标", which is an extension and expansion of its trademark right on the Internet. The right of a ".商标" changes with the trademark right. The right of a ".商标" becomes invalid along with the invalidity of its corresponding trademark right. Meanwhile, the holder of a ".商标" may use its ".商标" and gain compensation by licensing and transferring the same.

Thanks to the visible, usable, distinctive and identifiable functions of ".商标", it enables the online ".商标" to share the same fundamental functions of any offline trademarks that distinguish goods, services, or the sources of specific individuals, enterprises or organizations related to such goods or services from others, making them easily identifiable by consumers. Meanwhile, “.商标” enables a trademark to become a generic address locator on the World Wide Web, which may be used for product packaging, decorative design, manuals, business cards, exhibitions and conventional media. Furthermore, it may be widely applied in online brand promotion, search engines, website links and optimization, e-mails, e-commerce, e-government administration, QR codes, mobile network and the Internet of Things, and other online applications.

A ".商标" gives trademarks more space for use and representation, making trademarks vigorous, enabling even faster dissemination and wider scope of brand influence, representing the image, quality, and goodwill of brand goods and services on the Internet, which takes a predominant role and position in the commercial society of the Internet age. Through repeated use by consumers and long-term application and promotion by its holder, ".商标" has gradually consolidated influence of brand on the Internet to gain more popularity and reputation and to lay down a solid foundation for goods and services to tap onto the global market. ".商标" becomes the most frequent network mark and sign representing brands on the Internet, which is a new element of a brand.

Ascribing to functions of identifying signs and representing right of trademark, the domain name enables ".商标" to be eligible both trademark right and domain name right, and to be fully capable of being the most authoritative global sign of an online trademark. Therefore, it is defined as a new generation of innovative intellectual property right in the information age of the Internet.