.sucks Domain Names Likely to Hurt Brand Owners

Since June 21, the domain name “.sucks” has become one of over 500 new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) available to the general public.  Trademark owners, especially those who market directly to consumers, should be aware of its availability (BRANDNAME.sucks).  Brand owners are advised to keep a lookout for these malicious domains names, which create an easy way to damage a brand.  Unfortunately, many brand owners will feel forced to purchase this domain address with their own brand names in order to keep them out of the wrong hands.
Domains containing these brandnames could be purchased by adverse third parties and used in an abusive manner.  Vox Populi Registry, Ltd., the company who won the rights to administer and sell these domains, stated its vision to make these domains available to consumers venting their frustrations about particular companies and issues.  A .sucks domain could also be used to parody an original trademark.  It will be challenging, though not impossible, for brand owners to prevent such use of their trademarks.  Usual ICANN proceeding to precent third parties from such use will not be possible in these cases.