The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers' (ICANN) deadline for companies to apply for their own unique generic top-level domains (gTLD) has been extended by a week to midnight on 20 April, due to software problems.

Applications were meant to have been completed by midnight this evening, with the view to make an announcement on the 30th April about what companies had applied for which gTLDs.

However, Computerworld UK has been informed by David Taylor, a partner at international law firm Hogan Lovells, who is working closely with ICANN on the project, that the delay has been caused by a technical issue in the TAS software that is being used to accept the applications.

A spokesperson for ICANN has confirmed that this is the case and that the deadline has been extended, despite it still being advertised as midnight tonight on its gTLD website.

The spokesperson also said that no cyber attack has taken place and that no application data has been lost from those who have already submitted applications.

David Taylor argues that the problems may lead to corrupt data and ICANN having to delay its announcement on 30 April.

"Apart from everyone globally working to this deadline, originally due to expire at 23:59 today, the interesting point is whether this also delays the announcement date of 30 April and whether there was any risk to any data being corrupted," said Taylor.

"The launch of new gTLDs is likely to cause an unprecedented shake-up to the domain name system and the internet in 2013 and onward. Whilst the aim is to enhance diversity, choice, competition and innovation, it will inevitably cause a considerable burden on rights owners across the globe who will need to carefully reconsider their online strategies."

It was also revealed this week that London's PR agency, London & Partners, made an application to ICANN to register the capital's own unique gTLD.

"The dot London domain provides a tremendous opportunity to extend the global presence of London across the internet, and likewise position it as a centre of digital innovation," said Gordon Innes, CEO at London & Partners.