On 30 September 2014 New Zealand's Domain Name Commission (DNC) is opening registration for domain names with the suffix ".nz".
Any owner of a New Zealand website, such as "www.anyname.co.nz", will soon have the opportunity to register or reserve the shorter domain name, "www.anyname.nz".
Available .nz domain names will generally be offered on a first-in first-served basis, however the DNC have launched a fairness-based system to give preferential status (PRE status) to those who own existing ".co.nz" domain names, who wish to also register a shorter ".nz" domain name. After 6 months, the PRE status will be withdrawn, however, and the domain names will be available to the wider public.
The DNC website contains a search tool to allow anyone to check the status and availability of any ".nz" domain names that they are interested in.
We note that the DNC does not prevent or restrict people from registering new .nz domain names which might infringe the intellectual property rights of others. PRE status is given only to those with current .co.nz domain names, and registered trademarks are not specifically considered by DNC as part of the registration process.
The DNC anticipates that disputes will arise where a party registers a .nz domain name, in breach of another party's rights or interests in that same name. To accommodate and resolve these disputes DNC have set up a free dispute resolution service to assist. Further information about this service is available via the DNC website. If following 30 September 2014 you find yourself in a domain name dispute we invite you to contact us to discuss your options and how we can assist you.
It is possible that scalpers might reserve a range of domain names in the hope that someday, someone will pay big money for them. If you have a .co.nz domain name and want to secure your online patch, taking the opportunity to register a .nz domain now might well save you a dispute in future.
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.