After much debate, the international body in charge of governing domain names, ICANN, has authorized pornography-based websites to register with a top-level domain of .xxx as opposed to the more common .com or .net in the next couple of months.

While most of the debate has centered on whether this will make it easier to access porn or easier to police and monitor porn, traditional trademark owners have raised concern about making sure their brands don’t become associated with a .xxx site. In other words, should you be worried someone will register www.lrmlaw.xxx and associate your brand or trademark with pornography?  You can take steps now to prevent that from happening.

To alleviate the concerns, the entity responsible for administering the .xxx domain names, ICM Registry, established procedures to prevent this from happening. You can link to their published outline here. Business owners can pre-reserve .xxx domain names to prevent them from ever being used. The window to do this will be limited to the first 30 days following launch of the new .xxx domain names.

Rather than monitoring the latest on the timing of the launch, you can take action today to prevent a cybersquatter from taking your .xxx domain name. Companies can use ICM Registry’s reservation service to pre-reserve names now at no charge. The process is designed to be an easy, cheap, do it yourself process. Or, you can contact an attorney experienced in domain name issues or your web hosting companies for assistance. More than 500,000 companies have pre-reserved their names. You can begin the process here.

Special thanks to Looper Reed’s Carol Wilhem for her assistance with this issue.