The .merck Dot Brand (2)
SPECIAL NOTE 1: Merck KGaA (based in Germany) is one of two applicants for the .merck TLD and is covered on this page.
Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. (based in the USA) has also applied for the .merck string.
The issue is further complicated by the fact that Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. has filed both a "standard" and a "community" application for the TLD. (Their standard application is covered on a separate page.) Merck KGaA has only filed a community application.
It is unclear how this difficult challenge of two legitimate applications can be resolved.
SPECIAL NOTE 2: Merck KGaA's brand application is unusual by being a community application. Applicants have the additional requirement of demonstrating to ICANN that they are part of and endorsed by some kind of "community". These requirements are covered by the Community Based Designation questions 19 and 20 (which are not applicable to standard applications):
Merck KGaA is a major pharmaceutical, chemical and life science company with around 40,000 employees operating in over 70 countries. There are more than 250 companies in the group. A very wide product range is offered. For example, its life science division alone offers more than 40,000 products.
The new .merck TLD will provide an ample supply of domain names to serve Merck's huge product range of tens of thousands of items. It will solve the current problem and expense of locating and acquiring domains on the secondary market which can even delay the release of new offerings.
The distinctive name space will increase user choice. Consumers are expected to quickly understand the essential concept of brand domains. The new TLD will reflect Merck's strong customer focus. The naming conventions will be logical, predictable and intuitive.
The company has a long history.
The Merck Group cites its corporate identity branding guidelines that define use of the "Merck" trademark and its web and social media guidelines to illustrate how its community members are recognised as part of the Merck family. The .merck TLD will result in more effective brand recognition for the group.
The .merck string will enable the Merck community to effectively communicate with all stakeholders in a unified and global way by leveraging websites, social networks, email and other technologies.
Merck has a focus on innovation. The .merck string will be used to comprehensively communicate its initiatives internally and externally in new ways, improve navigation to content and promote the group's activities, goods and services. Users will receive time and cost benefits and a more distinctive and positive experience.
The Merck community will be able to "develop uses for domain names which today are too complicated or completely unforeseen".
Merck is expanding its product range, seeking new solutions and advancing research capabilities. It is making acquisitions and building partnerships. The new TLD will be an important asset to enable the company to provide its employees with cutting edge resources to exchange information, achieve its goals and develop new services.
The .merck string will provide a platform of reliability, safety and trust. Robust security features will enhance online sales portals. Security and authenticity is of particular importance to patients, healthcare professionals, scientists, researchers, investors, employees and the public who rely on quality standards when procuring medications or laboratory devices. The Applicant will ensure that all .merck domains "are only used for purposes authorized by Merck KGaA".
Stakeholders will be able to have peace of mind when they visit .merck domain names since they will know they are clean spaces free of typosquatters, illegal or fraudulent actions, spam and the like.
Response To The Other Merck Company
Merck KGaA has a unique response planned to avoid confusion with Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp.
Community Specific Information
The "Merck Community" has evolved over more than four decades and in 1996 a single corporate brand was established to create a unified global identity. The community has a presence in more than 70 countries and strives to act responsibly in society in general and the group's Corporate Responsibility Report can be read on Merck's website.
Merck KGaA intends to maintain the .merck space for the benefit of the Merck community at large and members will cooperate to achieve this common beneficial goal. Only community members will be eligible to register domain names and Merck will maintain strong oversight and governance over the integrity of the space. The Merck Group "has collectively branded tens of thousands of products and services on a worldwide scale, since 1968." The "Merck Community" is defined in the following statement.
Merck KGaA clearly defines its identity as a "Community" by maintaining an up-to-date list of members. Constituents actively self-identify themselves as members. Allocation of .merck domain names will be strictly controlled and applicants will first have to apply for a"Merck Community Membership ID." All websites will be required to serve the mission and purpose of the Group. Any site which does not comply with the terms & conditions will have its domain name revoked.
Only members of the Merck community will be able to register domains and they will have a vested interest in ensuring that their common goals are represented in the space. The community is described as being "identical with the intra-corporational hierarchy of the Merck Group..."
Merck KGaA's usage policy defines how it will monitor and manage the new TLD for everyone's mutual benefit.
Geographic Dot Brands
Merck KGaA will reserve in the first instance certain geographic names in accordance with the New gTLD Registry Agreement.
These country & territory descriptors are sensitive issues for various governments, and they are detailed on the ISO 3166-1 list, a UN Group of Experts manual on standardized names and a UN Working Group list of geographical names.
The terms on these lists will be prevented from registration until such time as they are released.
The New gTLD Registry Agreement states that geographical names can be released if the country concerned agrees, it is reviewed by the GAC and then approved by ICANN. Merck will seek the release of some terms.
The Applicant states that any use of a country term would be to represent the Merck company and no possible abuse or misconduct can be anticipated. The terms would be unlikely to confuse visitors or offend governments. Hence it should be unlikely for the GAC to oppose such use.
Possible .merck Brand Domains
Brand names mentioned on this site are registered trademarks or trademarks of their respective corporations. This site claims no association with or endorsement by any of these corporations and their marks are mentioned only to illustrate opinion presented in the public interest.
All quotations on this page are from the respective companies' official ICANN brand TLD applications unless otherwise stated.
Many possible theoretical dot brands are mentioned (in English). There are also countless possibilities in other languages. This has significant potential value for international navigation.
This site is focused on reporting the strategic impact of the brand domains on internet communication, competition and commerce, and some comment is speculative.
It is not a comprehensive overview of what some of the world's largest corporations have chosen to reveal about their plans for the implementation of their proprietary domain strings.
ICANN is particularly concerned with the technical, financial, security and legal issues associated with the new TLDs. These issues are beyond the scope of this website.
For a comprehensive overview of the brand domains and their impact on the web, refer to ICANN's website and the individual applications (large parts of which are publicly published).
If you have a particular interest in an individual company, the public aspects of their applications are available for download via these ICANN links: You can also search a complete list of applicants there.
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