donuts1Donuts, the heavily-funded Bellevue startup, has made it through initial evaluation tests conducted by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The evaluation included a look at the company’s financial and technical fitness, as well as background checks of the company’s staff.

The initial tests were conduced in this instance around Donuts’ efforts to own the Chinese character string for “store” or “shop.”

“We appreciate the painstaking work of the ICANN evaluators to ensure applicants are well equipped to operate stable new (generic top-level domains),” said Donuts CEO and co-founder Paul Stahura in a release. “We’re pleased to have this and other steps moving to conclusion, and are looking forward to providing new naming options and refreshing the over-constrained domain name system.”

ICANN has said that the first generic top-level domains could be approved by the end of April.

Donuts, which announced last summer that it had raised more than $100 million, has applied for more than 300 generic top-level domain names. Its list includes extensions such as .academy, .auction, .baby, .baseball, .bingo, .credit, .dentist, .gold, .golf, .pizza, .poker, .rugby, .spa and others.

In addition to the recent milestone, Donuts also announced that it has named Chris Cowherd as Chief Technical Officer and Vice President. Cowherd has worked in the domain name industry since 2000, working alongside Stahura at eNom. The company also named Elaine Pruis, previously with Minds+Machines and the Council of Country Code Administrators, as director of operations.

The roll out of new domains by ICANN has met with some controversy in recent weeks as groups have criticized both Amazon.com and Google for their potential control of specific domain name extensions.

UPDATE: Meanwhile, ICANN has announced a new Trademark Clearing House so that brands can protect their trademarks. The organization writes that the clearinghouse is “the most important rights protection mechanism built into ICANN’s new gTLD program. It allows brand owners to submit their trademark data into one centralized database, prior to and during the launch of new gTLDs. Simply put: The TMCH is a one-stop-solution for protecting your brand in the new gTLD era.”

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