ICANN to host first-ever high-stakes dot-brand auction

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  1. Prashant Sharan

    Prashant Sharan India Member

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    Two companies that own trademark rights to the same brand are to fight it out at an ICANN auction for the first time.

    Germany-based Merck Group will fight it out for .merck with American rival Merck & Co at an auction scheduled to take place July 17.

    Because it’s an ICANN “last-resort” auction, the value of the winning bid will be disclosed and all the money will flow to ICANN.

    It will be the first ICANN gTLD auction for three years, when a Verisign proxy agreed to pay $135 million for .web.

    The two Mercks could still avoid the ICANN auction by resolving their contention set privately.

    The German Merck is a chemicals company founded in 1668 (not a typo) and the US Merck was founded as its subsidiary in the late 19th century.

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