'.si' domain name liberalization approaches

The Academic and Research Network of Slovenia (ARNES), the Slovenian domain name registry, has announced the relaxation of the rules applying to the registration of '.si' country-code top-level domain names (ccTLDs).

The current registration rules for the '.si' ccTLD, which have been applicable since July 2002, provide, among other things, that (i) applicants can only register domain names in set formats depending on their type (eg, a club can only register the domain name 'name-club.si' or 'club-name.si'), and (ii) trademark owners can register domain names matching their registered trademark exactly only upon submission of registration evidence from the trademark registry.

From April 4 2005 applicants will only have to comply with some syntax rules (eg, hyphens cannot be used in the first and last position) but will otherwise be free to register '.si' ccTLDs in any form they want on a first come, first served basis. However, trademark holders meeting the local presence requirements have until March 31 to file an application under the current restrictive rules and thus be certain of registering their trademarks as '.si' ccTLDs before the relaxation occurs.

Other significant changes include the following:

  • ARNES will no longer be responsible directly for handling registrations. Accredited registrars will deal with this.

  • Registrations will be for one year but will be renewable.

  • A registration fee will be introduced.

  • The registrants, rather than ARNES, will be responsible for checking their entitlement to register specific domain names (eg, containing a trademark).

However, '.si' domain names may still only be registered by eligible entities, namely:

  • Slovenian commercial entities;

  • main subsidiaries of foreign commercial entities doing business in Slovenia and registered on the Slovenian business register;

  • diplomatic and consular representative offices of foreign states in Slovenia; and

  • international organizations of which Slovenia is a member.

The relaxation of the registration rules for '.si' ccTLDs increases the likelihood of cybersquatting and domain name disputes in general. ARNES has therefore developed an alternative dispute resolution system in conjunction with the University of Law in Ljubljana. The local presence requirements however, should prevent foreign entities and cybersquatters from outside Slovenia abusing the new registration system.

David Taylor, Lovells, Paris

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