Status: Proposed
Registry Provider: Verisign
Type: Brand TLD
Priority #: 1540 - MSD Registry Holdings, Inc.

More information: NTLDStatsLogo.png

.merckmsd is a Brand TLD being proposed in ICANN's New gTLD Program. The applicant is MSD Registry Holdings, Inc.[1]


An official Legal Rights Objection was filed by a competitive applicant for .merck, Merck KGaA, against MSD Registry Holdings, Inc..[2]

A Legal Rights Objection, as defined by the ICANN approved mediator, WIPO, is when, "third parties may file a formal objection to an application on several grounds, including, for trademark owners and Intergovernmental Organizations (IGOs) [..] When such an objection is filed, an independent panel (comprised of one or three experts) will determine whether the applicant’s potential use of the applied-for gTLD would be likely to infringe [..] the objector’s existing trademark, or IGO name or acronym."[3]

Merck KGaA also filed a community objection against this application.[4]

Application Details

The following is excerpted from the applicant's response to question #18:

"MSD Registry Holdings, Incorporatedʹs (“MSDRH”) parent company, Merck Sharp & Dohme, Corp. (“MSD”), is a leading healthcare company serving the wide-ranging needs of end-users and providers around the world, with approximately 86,000 employees in more than 140 countries. MSD serves a variety of retailers, physicians, veterinarians, managed health care providers, food chain and mass merchandiser outlets, hospitals, and government agencies. MSD’s stated mission is to discover, develop, and provide innovative products and services that save and improve lives.

MSD has operations in several main business segments:

-PHARMACEUTICAL: MSD’s Pharmaceutical segment offers therapeutic and preventive agents for the treatment of human disorders in the areas of bone, respiratory, immunology, dermatology, cardiovascular, diabetes and obesity, oncology, infectious diseases, etc. The unit also offers preventive vaccines for children, adolescents, and adults. -ANIMAL HEALTH: MSD’s Animal Health segment provides antibiotics, anti-inflammatory products, vaccines, and parasiticides for a variety of animals including cats, dogs, cattle, horses, and fish. -CONSUMER CARE: In addition, MSD offers a wide range of over-the-counter products such as antihistamines, foot and skin care lotions, heartburn medication, and constipation relief treatments. -ALLIANCES: MSD partners with a variety of corporations, organizations and educational institutions in product development and research efforts across the world.

The potential use of the .MERCKMSD gTLD by these or other business segments will primarily be driven by MSD’s future business strategies as identified in its annual report and investor filings, see http:⁄⁄www.merck.com⁄investors⁄home.html.

The intended future mission and purpose of the .MERCKMSD gTLD is to serve as a trusted, hierarchical, and intuitive namespace for MSD and end-users, and potentially MSD’s qualified subsidiaries and affiliates and potentially its licensees and other strategic parties.

Recognizing the potential dynamic evolution of the .MERCKMSD gTLD as a trusted brand namespace, MSD has decided to utilize a wholly owned subsidiary, MSDRH, as the entity to file this application and bring the .MERCKMSD gTLD to market. Although MSDRH is committed to moving forward with the .MERCKMSD gTLD application, it has not at the time of filing this application been able to fully vet and analyze all potential use case options.

Although ICANN has not specifically recognized a .BRAND gTLD specification in the current gTLD application round, it is widely anticipated in the brand owner community that this will become a specialty subset of gTLDs.

.MERCKMSD is intended to be one of those .BRAND gTLDs, with the goal of protecting MSD’s online presence and identity, expanding its marketing and promotion efforts, providing a secure channel for online products and services, and offering a platform through which to consolidate many of the intellectual property activities of MSD.

MSDRH intends to initially limit registration and use of domain names within the .MERCKMSD gTLD to MSD and potentially its qualified subsidiaries and affiliates. This initial limited use will allow MSD to establish its operations and achieve full sustainability. This limited distribution, coupled with the other requirements set forth in Specification 9 of the template Registry Agreement, is intended to exempt MSD from its annual Code of Conduct Compliance requirements."[5]