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Client Alert - Update on .NAME

10.10.2001

Pre-registration for the third new top-level domain name, .name, is already underway. These new domain names are designed for personal, rather than commercial, use and are aimed at individuals who want to register their personal names. Businesses that want to register the names of fictional characters in which they hold trademark or service mark rights can also obtain registrations. The .name domain names are scheduled to go live on December 13, 2001.

Restricted Nature of TLD

The .name domain names contain three levels. The first level is the '.name' identifier. The second and third levels consist of the individual's first and last name, separated by a '.'. The first and last name can appear in any order, and distinguishing elements, such as numbers, are permitted.

Examples of possible .name combinations are: <john.smith.name>, <j.smith.name>, <smith.john.name> or <john.smith3.name>. A single name, i.e., <smith.name> is not permitted.

Registration Process

.name domain names will be administered by Global Name Registry, Ltd., but you may apply to register a .name domain name through any accredited registrar.

The first (or start-up phase) has already begun. During this phase, which runs until November 22, early applications for .name domain names are being accepted. This period will be followed by a 'quiet' period during which the domain name applications will be processed and, in the case of duplicate submissions, awarded on a random basis. The .name domain names that are awarded during this period will become operational on December 13, 2001. Thereafter, applications will be processed in batches, followed by real time registration in Spring 2002.

Certain defensive services have been developed to protect trademark holders from cybersquatters and others who seek to capitalize on their good will. These are the Defensive Registration service, which permits holders of national trademark registrations to take certain character strings out of circulation for a minimum period of ten years, and the Name Watch service, which monitors registrations and alerts trademark holders if a potentially conflicting domain name is registered. These services will protect trademark holders from persons who seek to register domain names like <pepsi.cola.name> or <jose.cuervo.name>.

The period for businesses to apply for these defensive services has been extended until November 12, 2001.

The fee for registering a .name domain name varies by registrar, but will likely be consistent with the fees charged for the already existing domain names. Many registrars offer multiple submission services for additional fees (to increase an applicant's chances of obtaining a coveted domain name), and defensive registration services.

Dispute Resolution

A special dispute resolution procedure, known as the Eligibility Requirements Dispute Resolution Policy ('ERDRP'), has been set up to handle challenges to .name domain names based on the eligibility requirements. The Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy, (the 'UDRP'), as adopted by ICANN, is available for disputes based on bad faith registration.

Our Experience

Our firm has particular experience in helping trademark owners register, organize and manage domain names, and we welcome the opportunity to assist you in preparing for the new domain names as they become available. If you have any questions regarding the new domain names, or domain names generally, please do not hesitate to contact us.

For more information, please contact Meichelle MacGregor.
Copyright 2001, Cowan, Liebowitz & Latman, P.C.

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