New '.me' country-code domain name launched
The new domain name is being marketed as a pseudo top-level domain and is likely to have mass appeal for individuals.
Registration has been divided into the following phases:
- Phase 1 (May 1 to May 6 2008) – during this period, entities established in Montenegro were able to apply on the basis of trademark registrations existing anywhere in the world.
- Phase 2 (May 6 to May 20 2008) – this was a general sunrise period during which all owners of current registered trademarks or service marks (anywhere in the world) were able to apply, provided that the applications for registration of the marks relied on were lodged prior to June 28 2006.
- Phase 3 (May 20 to June 6 2008) – applications will not be accepted during this period; instead, the registry will validate applications filed during the first two phases.
- Phase 4 (June 6 to June 26 2008) – this is a general landrush period during which anyone can apply for a ‘.me’ domain name without relying on a trademark registration. Those with unregistered brands may use this period to secure appropriate ‘.me’ registrations.
- Phase 5 (June 26 to July 17 2008) – applications will not be accepted during this period; the registry will validate applications filed during Phase 4.
- Phase 6 (July 17 2008 and beyond) – from July 17 2008, domain names will be registered on a first-come, first-served basis.
Although the cost of registration during the sunrise period was relatively high, trademark owners were advised to take advantage of this period to register their marks as domain names for defensive purposes. Those wishing to emphasize or reflect the presence of their brands in the Middle East were also advised to take advantage of the sunrise period to obtain an appropriate ‘.me’ domain name registration, as 'ME' is a common abbreviation for 'Middle East'.
The sunrise period enabled organizations with prior trademark rights to apply for priority registration of domain names that are identical to the word element of their marks. To avoid the ‘lottery-like’ nature of previous sunrise periods, names were not allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Where more than one application was received for registration of the same domain name, an online auction was held over a three-day period.
Jon Parker, Rouse & Co International, Dubai
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