New policy for registration of '.ng' domain names to be launched

The Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA), the registry responsible for the '.ng' country-code top-level domain (ccTLD), has introduced a new policy for the registration of '.ng' domain names.
Under the current policy, trademark owners seeking to register a '.ng' domain name face a significant hurdle. The policy for the registration of '.ng' domain names requires that applicants:

  • have a presence in Nigeria; and
  • demonstrate their intent to use the domain name on a regular basis. 
Therefore, companies that own Nigerian registered trademarks, but are not incorporated or have no physical presence in Nigeria, are prevented from registering domain names under the '.ng' ccTLD. Conversely, it is possible for 'qualified' third parties to apply for the registration of domain names including trademarks belonging to other entities.
Under the new policy, the owner of a trademark which is registered under Nigeria's Trademarks Law will be eligible to apply for the registration of a '.ng' domain name, whether or not it can demonstrate a business presence in Nigeria. However, the domain name must consist of or include the exact word component of the registered trademark.
The new policy should thus help reduce the number of incidences of cybersquatting.
The policy also introduces a new procedure whereby accredited registrars will act as intermediaries between NIRA and applicants. Applicants will no longer contact NIRA directly, but will engage the services of registrars, who will then liaise with NIRA on the applicants’ behalf.
The new policy is scheduled to take effect in the near future.
Sade Laniyan, Jackson Etti & Edu, Lagos 

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