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Sample Brand Domains


.merck (1)
.merck (2)



This small list of brand domains represents less than one eighth of around 680 pending applications. The potential collective impact on the internet is significant — given the immense resources and market power of these global corporations.

NOTE: IDNs (internationalized domain names) such as brand names in Chinese or Arabic scripts are not currently covered by this site.





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):

19. Is the application for a community-based TLD?

20 (a). Provide the name and full description of the community that the applicant is committing to serve.

20 (b). Explain the applicant's relationship to the community identified in 20(a).

20 (c). Provide a description of the community-based purpose of the applied-for gTLD.

20 (d). Explain the relationship between the applied-for gTLD string and the community identified in 20(a).

20 (e). Provide a description of the applicant's intended registration policies in support of the community-based purpose of the applied-for gTLD.

20 (f). Attach any written endorsements from institutions/groups representative of the community identified in 20(a).

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.

For instance, patients seeking information about a particular medication might search for the name of the drug at PRODUCTNAME.MERCK, or research professionals inquiring about new laboratory equipment might begin their search at EQUIPMENTNAME.MERCK.

The company has a long history.

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Since Friedrich Jacob Merck laid the foundation stone in 1668, the name Merck has stood for medicines and chemical products that have proved invaluable to people and have created inestimable value for the company.

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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.

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Today Merck KGaA holds rights in the name and the trademark "Merck" in more than 180 countries worldwide...

...The ".MERCK" space will further help Merck unite all members of the Merck Community under one single name online, and provide the Merck Community with a universal, comprehensive forum through which to present its information to the public.

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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.

State of the art technologies combined with a modern, safe and trustworthy Internet presence within the ".MERCK" space underline Merck's mission to deliver first class products, treatments and solutions in the business areas of chemical, pharmaceutical and life science.

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.

They will know that Merck is diligent in its efforts to eliminate counterfeit medications, harmful substances or dangerous advice via the ".MERCK" TLD.

Response To The Other Merck Company

Merck KGaA has a unique response planned to avoid confusion with Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. order to avoid trademark-related concerns within North America, the Applicant will use geo-targeting tools to prevent any Internet traffic originating from the US or Canada from accessing websites within the .MERCK space. As defined above, all members of the Merck Community maintain their principal places of business outside of North America, and thus no domain names within the space shall be registered by entities headquartered within this geographic locale.

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.

The Merck Community was affirmatively established in 1968, the year which marked the 300th anniversary of Merck. In 1968, the individual companies comprising the Merck Group realized that a common identity was paramount to successful communication and effective worldwide branding.

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.

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Merck KGaA operates its worldwide business through over 250 companies which (1) are fully owned subsidiaries of Merck KGaA, (2) use Merck as the sole element or as a component of their company name, and (3) use the German figurative trademark No. 30130670, "MERCK", as their umbrella brand. The nexus of these companies, together with the parent company Merck KGaA, constitutes the "Merck Community".

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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.

The TLD is designed to reinforce the ideals of the Merck Community, and to provide an online forum for the collective benefit of the entire Merck Community. Therefore, domain usage guidelines will be implemented and enforced to constantly ensure the integrity of users' ".MERCK" experience and the reputation of the TLD.

globe pictureGeographic 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.

If a country wishes to use one of the relevant ".MERCK" domain names, its GAC representative may make a written request to us, the Registry Operator, and we will immediately consider the release request.

If a member of our community wishes to use a reserved country name, we will obtain approval from that country's GAC representative.

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.

ICANN new gTLD applications

ICANN official website



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The Brand Domains — it's unprecedented — the advent of around 680 companies launching their own dot brands began in 2014.



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