EnCirca’s AltRoots Trademark Search Engine Helps Brands Monitor and Secure Decentralized Web and Metaverse Domains
July 14, 2022- BOSTON, MA – EnCirca, a 20-year ICANN-accredited domain name registrar, today introduced AltRoots (www.AltRoots.com), the industry’s first Web3 trademark search engine. AltRoots enables brand trademark owners to monitor potential trademark infringement and secure their own Web3 internet address on the blockchain in preparation for participating in the decentralized web and metaverses.
World-renowned brands across a variety of industries, including McDonalds, Microsoft, Chase Bank, YouTube, and Epic Games are flocking to the decentralized web and private metaverses to establish their presence and protect their trademarks on the blockchain.
Web3 domain names are a type of non-fungible token (NFT) that operates in blockchains, metaverses, and the decentralized web. They are used for digital wallets, digital identities, website hosting, email, and metaverse storefronts.
While blockchain domains like.eth and .crypto have become popular, there are no regulations or safeguards to prevent trademarks infringements. Cybersquatting on brands or domains using name variations similar to those of trusted brand names can cause confusion and harm for consumers seeking to interact with the brands they know and love on the decentralized web.
Brand Protection on Web3
“Now is the time for anyone who thinks they may want to do business on the blockchain to secure their Web3 brand identity and trademarks,” says Tom Barrett, President of EnCirca.
To help companies establish and protect their brands on Web3, EnCirca has created AltRoots (AltRoots.com), a trademark search engine of more than 8 million blockchain domains. AltRoots enables trademark lawyers to discover registered blockchain domains that could indicate trademark infringement or cybersquatting.
Web2 vs Web3 Domain Names
Web2 (the internet as we now experience it) has 1,500 Top-Level Domains (TLDs) regulated by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a non-profit organization that was established in 1998 to help maintain the security of the Internet. Any time you register a domain on the Internet, you agree to legal terms dictated by ICANN policies as part of the domain registration process. ICANN policies and laws provide trademark owners with multiple methods for monitoring and shutting down trademark infringement.
However, ICANN’s policies do not extend to Web3 domain names.
Uncertain Environment Requires Proactivity
In the meantime, blockchain developers have introduced their own Web3 TLDs, including .eth and .crypto and millions more. Unlike Web2 domains, Web3 domains inherit the blockchain features of being anonymous and immutable. Companies need to secure a compatible Web3 domain name to participate in the decentralized web and metaverses. But since there are no ICANN policies or laws for protecting trademark rights on the blockchain or for publishing owner identities, companies face an uphill battle if their trademark is already taken on Web3.
“As current Chair of the Blockchain Subcommittee for the International Trademark Association, I’ve been assessing the threats and opportunities of blockchain technologies for trademark owners for several years,” says Barrett. “For any trademark owner planning to offer blockchain services, or even a presence in a metaverse, now is the time to secure and protect their Web3 identity on the decentralized web.”
The initial AltRoots service monitors exact and close similarities of a trademark against over 8 million blockchain domains from multiple blockchain ecosystems. Interested trademark owners and lawyers can sign-up for a free account now at https://www.altroots.com.
EnCirca (www.encirca.com) is an ICANN-accredited domain name registrar founded by Tom Barrett in 2001. EnCirca provides trademark protection, domain portfolio management, cybersecurity, DNS and website hosting, and other domain services. EnCirca is distinguished by specializing in restricted registry operators such as .BANK, .REALTOR, .PHARMACY, and .CPA. EnCirca is also active in the blockchain Web3 domain space, helping trademark owners acquire their brands on various decentralized namespaces, including the Ethereum Naming Service, the Handshake Protocol and others. In addition to being the Chair of the Blockchain Subcommittee for the International Trademark Association, Barrett also previously led the development of the industry-leading SAEGIS trademark research platform for Thomson-CompuMark.
AltRoots (www.altroots.com) is the first trademark search engine focused on blockchain domain names. The search engine is updated in real-time whenever a new Web3 domain name is registered, updated or deleted. The domain names are then indexed according to trademark research principles to discover variant strings that constitute close similarities of specified trademarks. The search engine covers over 8 million active Web3 domains spread across the Ethereum, Polygon and Handshake blockchains, with more being added on a rolling basis.