“.ASIA” is a new Top Level Domain (like ".com" and ".eu"). It is designed to give 73 countries in the ICANN-defined Asia-Pacific region – including China, Korea, Japan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Australia, and others – their own regional Top Level Domain. Registration for .ASIA domain names begins on October 9, 2007. Companies with trademarks and/or a business presence in the Asia-Pacific community should consider registering those trademarks as “.ASIA” domain names.
There are several registration periods: “Early Bird Sunrise,” “General Sunrise,” “Land Rush,” and “Go Live” Periods. The “Early Bird Sunrise” Period is from October 9-30, 2007. Owners of registered trademarks who filed trademark applications BEFORE March 16, 2004 may apply for a “.ASIA” domain name during the “Early Bird Sunrise” Period. The “General Sunrise” Period is between November 13, 2007 and January 15, 2008. Owners of registered trademarks applied for after the March 16, 2004 cut-off date and business entities registered in the ICANN-defined Asia-Pacific countries may apply during the “General Sunrise” Period. This will be followed by a “Land Rush” phase for members of the public with an Asia/Pacific presence.
Rather than allocating names on a first-come, first-serve basis, domains coveted by multiple parties within the same Sunrise period will be auctioned off. After March 2008, the “Go Live” phase will start. Then, domain names will be issued on a first-come, first serve basis.
Some registrars are now taking advance orders. The roll-out for government entities in the “.ASIA” region is already underway.
Interested parties should consult ICANN-certified registrars. Patton Boggs would also be happy to answer questions or assist our clients with this registration process. A list of the ICANN-certified registrars is provided on the .ASIA website: http://www.dotasia.org/about/register.html. One Internet register is pricing an “Early Bird” fee at $150, with an additional $90 for a two-year registration. Another registrar advertises a $70 “Early Bird” fee, with an additional $20-$30/year registration fee, depending on how many years are purchased.
When compared to the average $10-$15 for existing TLD registrations, it is clear that trademark owners will have to pay a premium to secure an “.ASIA” domain name before it is open for general public registrations. Still, this premium is far less than the cost to recover the domain name if it falls into the wrong hands. It is also less than registering for a domain name in each Asia-Pacific country. Thus, companies with trademarks that are registered, used, or are likely to be used in the 73 country Asia-Pacific community, should consider registering those trademarks as “.ASIA” domain names, for affirmative use, or at least for defensive purposes.
For more information on eligibility for the “.ASIA” domain names, or other online trademark matters, please contact Deborah Lodge (email@example.com), Susan Billheimer (firstname.lastname@example.org), or Tom Ryou (email@example.com).
This Alert provides only general information and should not be relied upon as legal advice. For more information, contact Patton Boggs LLP.