China opens the door to '.cn' registrations

China

The China Internet Network Information Centre (CNNIC) has announced a new registration policy for second-level '.cn' domain names. Companies that registered third-level domain names (eg, '.com.cn') incorporating their trademarks, brand names and/or business names under the former registration system are given priority until February 28 to register '.cn' domain names under the new system. The CNNIC will open registration to the public on March 17.

Besides registrants of 'com.cn' domain names, the following also benefit from the sunrise registration period:

  • owners of well-known trademarks recognized by the PRC Trademark Office;

  • Chinese cultural and natural heritage sites that are recognized by the United Nations;

  • local higher education institutions; and

  • media organizations.

Where more than one applicant applies for the same domain name, applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis.

As previously reported in the World Trademark Law Report (see Foreign companies benefit from PRC domain name reform), the rules on registering domain names in China were relaxed last year. For instance, foreign businesses no longer have to justify a presence in China to register their trademarks, brand names or business names as '.cn' domain names. Foreign businesses that wish to register '.cn' domain names should act quickly so as to avoid the threat of cybersquatting.

Thomas Tsang, Wilkinson & Grist, Hong Kong

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