The registrations of the domain name (.sa) started in 1995; while it started for (.السعودية) ".Saudi" in Arabic in 2010. By way of improving Saudi domain name market and applying best practices in the domain name industry, the Saudi Communication and Information Technology Commission ("CITC") updated the "Saudi Domain Name Registration Regulation", on February 2021, to adopt the "Registry-Registrar Model" which allows registering Saudi domain names through accredited Registrars from the private sector.
The CITC announced that all registrants (except government entities) must transfer their domains to the accredited Registrars and complete the transfer process at latest by December 31, 2021, otherwise, those domains that have not been transferred will be cancelled.
The new version of the Saudi Regulations includes replacing the rule relating to objections with a new rule dealing with Domain Name Dispute Resolution. As well as, adding a rule about handling the complaints, and other changes to support adopting the "Registry-Registrar" model.
It is significant to note that the CITC announced that "WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center" will be their provider for Saudi domain names disputes as of April 6, 2021.
It is important to highlight that there are some differences between the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy "UDRP" and the .SA Policy, however, the conditions to be fulfilled by the Complainant relating to the disputed domain name are similar to those required under UDRP, namely,
- the disputed domain name must be identical or confusingly similar to a mark on which the Complainant has rights;
- the domain name registrant must have no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name;
- the domain name has been registered or is being used in bad faith.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic reveals an increase in cybercrime, however, the matter with respect to the Saudi domain might be different as the eligibility criteria to register SA and السعودية. domain names are restricted which drastically reduces the risk of cybersquatting. The registration of the Saudi domains is permitted only to the following categories:
- An entity physically located in Saudi Arabia;
- A natural person, not underage, with a Saudi national identification card or equivalent document issued by the Ministry of Interior of Saudi Arabia;
- An entity with a registration or license issued by a pertinent authority in Saudi Arabia;
- An owner of a trademark or trade name that is registered in Saudi Arabia.
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.