Hong Kong Launches Second Level .HK Domain Names
The Hong Kong Domain Name Registry ("HKDNR") has announced that it will be launching second level domain names under the top-level country-code domain .hk in early 2004. Second level domain names will be generally available to the public after a Soft Launch Period, during which priority for second level .hk domain names will be given to applicants that satisfy certain requirements (see below).
There are no registration requirements for second level .hk domain names unlike for third level .hk domain names (which can only be obtained by entities with a local presence in Hong Kong). Second level .hk domain names will be available to any entity (including individuals 18 years or older) irrespective of their location. No supporting documents will be required when applying for a second level .hk domain name save where the domain includes words such as "bank" or "insurance".
There is no restriction on the location of name servers and there is no limit to the number of domain names that can be registered by any one individual or entity. The minimum registration period is one year and the maximum is five years.
Soft launch period for second level domain names
Prior to the launch of second level .hk domain names to the general public, priority will be given to:
- owners of Hong Kong trade marks or service marks (Priority Registration Period);
- current holders of third level of .hk domain names (Pre-Registration Period);
- individuals or entities that seek to register a second level .hk domain name before the general launch (Sunrise Period).
Priority Registration Period - 12 noon on 26 January 2004 to 12 noon on 19 March 2004
Only owners of registered Hong Kong trademarks or service marks qualify for the Priority Registration.
The following documents/information must be provided with the application during the Priority Registration Period:
- A copy of the trademark or service mark certificate from the Hong Kong Trademarks Registry;
- A letter of declaration from the applicant that it is the owner of the trade mark or service mark.
If two or more entities apply for the same second level .hk domain name during the Priority Registration Period, priority will be given to the applicant who also has an equivalent third level domain name. If more than one applicant has an equivalent third level domain name, the applicant with the longest standing equivalent third level domain name will have priority. If none of the applicants has an equivalent third level domain name, or if the equivalent third level domain names are equally long standing, priority will be decided by random draw.
The Pre-Registration Period - 12 noon on 6 April 2004 to 5:30pm on 7 May 2004
Current holders of .hk third level domain names can seek to obtain the corresponding second level .hk domain name during the Pre-Registration Period. No supporting documents are required for applications during the Pre-Registration Period.
If two or more entities apply for the same second level .hk domain name during the Pre-Registration Period, HKDNR will give priority for allocation in the following order:
- government organizations (namely, organizations that hold the equivalent .gov.hk third level domain name).
- statutory organizations under Hong Kong law. If there are two or more applicants that are statutory organizations, the applicant with the longest standing equivalent third level domain name will have priority.
- all other applicants except for the applicant with the equivalent .idv.hk domain name. If there are two or more applicants the applicant with the longest standing equivalent third level domain name will have priority.
- the applicant with the equivalent .idv.hk domain name.
If in relation to (b) or (c) there are two or more applicants with an equivalent third level domain name that is equally long standing allocation will be by random draw.
The Sunrise Period - 12 noon on 17 May 2004 to 5:30pm on 28 May 2004
There are no qualification requirements for the sunrise period. Once the sunrise period closes, if two or more entities have applied for the same second level .hk domain name, HKDNR will allocate the second level .hk domain name by random draw.
HKDNR has put in place a procedure for the public to object to the allocation of a second level domain name during the Soft Launch Period. The person objecting to an allocation must provide evidence that the allocation was not made in accordance with the Soft Launch Period Rules. Objections for any other reason will not be entertained. An objection must be made within 14 days of the date on which HKDNR announces the registration results for the respective tier of the Soft Launch Period, using the objection form available on HKDNR's website.
An Objections Committee, consisting of board members of the Hong Kong Internet Registration Corporation Limited and/or external parties as required, will render a decision in relation to any objections within 30 calendar days. Decisions of the Objections Committee will be final. If the Objections Committee determines an objection is justified, the Objections Committee may require HKDNR to cancel a second level domain name registration obtained during the Soft Launch Period.
General launch of second level domain names
Second level domain names will be generally available to the public after the Soft Launch Period, that is from 12 noon on 31 May 2004. There will be no registration requirements and allocation will be on a first come first served basis.
The authors are Partner and Registered Foreign Lawyers respectively working in the TMT Group of Lovells, Hong Kong.
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.