- You will shortly have the opportunity to register domain names with new suffixes or top level domain names (known as "TLD’s"). These TLD’s are ".biz" for businesses, and ".info", which is unlimited in scope.
- Remember that to all intents and purposes, the domain name is an address of convenience found on the world wide computer network which generally corresponds to a corporate name or a trademark and which permits the identification of and communication with a web site on the world wide web.
- On May 15th, 2001, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ("ICANN") accredited two new registers, one for business purposes only, which is ".biz" and the other which is ".info", which is much larger in scope and open to any entity or individual for registration.
- In order to avoid potential cybersquatting conflicts, we highly recommend that you register domain names with these new extensions, to the extent that you qualify for them.
Registering The TLD .biz
- The new register for the ".biz" domain name will be administered by NeuLevel Inc. (www.neulevel) in concert with ICANN (www.icann.com). NeuLevel Inc., ("NeuLevel") will act primarily as the exclusive administrator and overseer of the ".biz" register but will not itself be processing the registration of domain names. This task will be handled by various registrars who will soon be accredited by ICANN.
Who Can Register The .biz TLD?
Two conditions must be satisfied in order to attempt the registration of a ".biz" TLD.
- The first condition is that the applicant must use or intend to use the ".biz" TLD in connection with a bona fide business or commercial purpose. In its registration restrictions, NeuLevel provides that a bona fide business or commercial use means the use or intent to use the domain name or any content, software, materials, graphics or other information thereon, to permit Internet users to access one or more host computers through the Domain Names System: (i) to exchange goods, services, or property of any kind in the ordinary course of trade or business; or (ii) to facilitate the exchange of goods, services, information, or property of any kind in the ordinary course of trade or business.
According to NeuLevel’s registration restrictions, the following does not constitute a bona fide business or commercial purpose:
"Registering a domain name solely for the purposes of
- selling, trading or leasing the domain name for compensation; or
- the unsolicited offering to sell, trade or lease the domain name for compensation; or
- using or intending to use the domain name exclusively for personal or non commercial purposes, or
- using or intending to use the domain name exclusively for the expression of non commercial ideas".
- The second condition which must be satisfied is that the applicant must respect the general policy governing the uniform resolution of conflicts relevant to domain names, known as the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy, which was promulgated by ICANN.
How Does One Register A .biz TLD
NeuLevel has designed a three-step system in order to facilitate the registration of the new ".biz" TLD.
Phase One - Intellectual Property Claims Service (May 21st, 2001 To July 9th, 2001):
This first phase was designed with a view to discouraging potential cybersquatters while, at the same time, permitting trademark owners to declare their trademarks even before the registration process is open to the public. As a result of this paid service, an applicant who files an application to register a ".biz" TLD will be advised that the owner of an identical trademark has already laid claim to its rights in and to the trademark. If, notwithstanding this notice, the applicant decides nevertheless to pursue its request for registration, the owner of the trademark will be so advised and may at that point trigger the application of the administrative dispute resolution procedure referred to above.
Phase Two - Domain Name Application And Selection (June 25th, 2001 To September 25th, 2001):
This second phase marks the beginning of the registration process whereby the commercial entity or individual operating a commerce may submit an unlimited amount of applications for the registration of ".biz" TLD’s. To these ends, NeuLevel will advise the public of the list of registrars accredited by ICANN for the purposes of receiving these applications.
The applicant must execute a contract governing the registration and use of the ".biz" TLD, either electronically or by way of a hard copy, with one of the accredited registrars, in virtue of which the applicant must warrant that all of the data furnished in the registration request is true, accurate, complete and current; and that all such data will be kept current on an ongoing basis.
In addition, the applicant must also certify that to the best of its knowledge: (i) the domain name will be used in conformity with the charter of NeuLevel; (ii) that it has the necessary capacity to conclude the contract for registration of the ".biz" TLD; and (iii) that the domain name is associated, at the time of registration, with an existing commercial activity or with a prospective commercial activity.
To the extent that an identical domain name for a".biz" TLD may form the subject of various applications emanating from different applicants, NeuLevel has indicated that these domain names will be awarded on a random basis whereby it would take batches of applications from each accredited registrar on a rotation basis. Therefore, the system for awarding of domain names will not be done, at least at first, on "a first come first served basis".
Phase Three - Activation Of .biz Domain Names (October 1st, 2001).
In this third phase, all ".biz" domain names which form the subject of an application for registration in the preceding phase will become operational. NeuLevel has also envisaged a procedure which would suspend, for a period of thirty days, ".biz" TLD’s from becoming operational, if such name was subject to an intellectual property claim during the first phase. The purpose of this thirty day period is to provide the relevant parties with the time to resolve the dispute between them regarding intellectual property rights.
Registering A .info TLD
ICANN has appointed Afilias Ltd. (www.affilias.com) ("Afilias") as the administrative overseer of the ".info" TLD’s. Similar to NeuLevel, Afilias has outlined a three step procedure for registration of the new ".info" TLD.
Phase One - Declaration Of Trademark Names - The "Sunrise Period" (End Of June To The End Of July 2001.
During this first phase, any person or entity holding rights to a trademark, registered before October 2nd, 2000, will be entitled to file an application for a ".info" TLD which corresponds exactly to its trademark. These applications will be filed with an accredited registrar and will be conveyed to Afilias.
In the event that several applicants have submitted applications to register identical domain names, Afilias will attribute these domain names on a random basis, selecting applications from each registrar’s batch collected by it. Any party who feels that it has been unfairly dealt with may challenge the grant of the relevant domain name pursuant to a procedure administered by the World Intellectual Property Association ("WIPO") and this, during a period of 120 days commencing from the time that Afilias began accepting applications for ".info" domain names from the general public pursuant to Phase Two described below.
Phase Two - Domain Name Application And Registration
Within 15 days after the conclusion of the "Sunrise Period", the accredited ".info" registrars will begin handling the applications for registration of ".info" TLD’s emanating from the general public. As was the case during the "Sunrise Period", the ".info" TLD’s will be selected randomly by Afilias according to the multi-batching method referred to earlier. However, after this three (3) week period, Afilias will process applications on a "real-time" basis.
Phase Three - ".info" TLD’s Become Operational.
Within one (1) week after Phase Two begins (i.e. no later than August 22, 2001), all ".info" TLD’s awarded during the "Sunrise Period" will become operational. All other ".info" TLD’s will be activated once they have been processed by Afilias.
All that is known at the present time is that the costs related to the registration of the new TLD’s will vary depending on the registrar chosen; however, ICANN is of the view that the fees charged will be similar to the fees levied for obtaining a ".com" , ".org" or ".net" TLD.
We remind you that in the near future five other TLD’s will also be made available, as mentioned in our last "Communiqué". These TLD’s are ".aero" for the aeronautical industry, ".coop" for cooperatives, ".museum" for museums, ".name", for individuals and ".pro" for accountants, attorneys, doctors and other professionals.
We invite you to communicate with us for any other information which you may need relative to domain names or in connection with any other matters relating generally to trademarks, copyright, or new technologies.
Our "Communiqué" aims to bring to your attention the contemporary legal issues which we believe are and should be of interest to the business community and under no circumstances is it to be considered to be a legal opinion.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.