Firms hoping to register applications with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) for brand-centric generic top level domains (gTLDs) have had the submission deadline extend by a week after a software glitch affected the application submission system.
Icann explained that the issue had been spotted in its TLD Application System (TAS) and that as a result it was taking the system offline until Tuesday to try and resolve the problem.
"Icann is taking the most conservative approach possible to protect all applicants and allow adequate time to resolve the issue. Therefore, TAS will be shut down until Tuesday at 23:59 UTC - unless otherwise notified before that time," it said."
"In order to ensure all applicants have sufficient time to complete their applications during the disruption, the application window will remain open until 23:59 UTC on Friday, 20 April 2012."
Legal experts had earlier warned that the deadline for applications for a new type of brand-named web address is likely to result in some "significant disputes", industry watchers have warned.
The deadline for the new batch of generic web suffixes, which will allow major firms to create uniquely-branded web address, closes on Thursday night.
The process, run by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann), is expected to create up scores of new web addresses.
Companies such as Google and Canon are known to have applied for the so-called general top level domains (gTLDs) based on their names.
Others, such as UK internet registrar Nominet, have applied for generic terms such as .wales or .cymru.
Icann is expected to publish a full list of the gTLD applications later this month.
At this stage, it's unclear how much competition there will be for names, given the £120,000 application cost along with £25,000 annual payment expected.
But there could well be fights between companies that operate with the same trading names in different countries.
Meanwhile, there could also be competition for the generic names. For example, Top Level Domain Holdings is known to have applied for the gTLDs .london and .music.
“The launch of new gTLDs is likely to cause an unprecedented shake up to the domain name system and the internet in 2013 and onward,” said David Taylor, head of domain name law practice at Hogan Lovells.
“We can expect some significant disputes,” he added.
The prospect of domain name disputes has been creating a significant degree of tension within Icann in recent months.
Departing chief executive, Rod Beckstrom warned last month that conflicts of interest between senior Icann members posed a significant risk of destabilising the gTLD rollout.
Icann would prefer parties with an interest in obtaining the same gTLD to reach a mutual settlement. But where this isn't possible, it was essential that Icann was capable of acting as a neutral arbitrator, Beckstrom warned.
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