‘.tel’ calling: sunrise period starts
Legal updates: case law analysis and intelligence
The sunrise period for the new ‘.tel’ generic top-level domain commences on December 3 2008.
Telnic Limited, the UK-based operator for ‘.tel’ domain names, has announced that the launch process for ‘.tel’ will start with a sunrise period from December 3 2008 to February 2 2009. During this period, applications from national trademark owners will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. This will be followed by a landrush period running from February 3 2009 to March 23 2009, during which applications will be open to all. However, in an attempt to dissuade speculators from buying domain names to sell on afterwards, Telnic announced that applications during this period will be more expensive. From March 24 2009 domain name applications will be open to the general public.
The ‘.tel’ extension is essentially intended to be a universal text naming and navigation system for contact information and related content accessed from internet-enabled communications devices. In short, internet users will be able to initiate communication with, or access the services of, an individual or a company simply by inputting the name of that individual or company into their web browser, followed by ‘.tel’. The corresponding webpage will group together all that individual's or company's contact information in one place. The contact information will be anything from simple telephone numbers and addresses to more detailed information, such as geographical coordinates and links to social networking websites. The domain name holder will decide who has access to what information.
‘.tel’ domain names differ substantially from other domain names in terms of their technical set up. All contact information to be displayed will actually be held in the domain name server where the domain name is hosted, rather than stored in web servers. ‘.tel’ registrants will thus be able to have an online presence without the need for a website. This makes a ‘.tel’ domain name an attractive proposition for the general public, as there are no websites or associated costs to take into consideration. However, levels of cybersquatting may be high.
An independent study was recently carried out on behalf of Telnic by E-Poll Market Research to assess the level of interest in ‘.tel’ domain names. The objectives of the survey were to:
- ascertain the willingness of key decision makers of corporations throughout the United States to purchase and use ‘.tel’ domain names for their companies; and
- estimate the potential corporate market size for ‘.tel’ in the United States.
As an indication of the potential of ‘.tel’ domain names, the vast majority of professionals participating in the survey provided a very favourable response to the ‘.tel’ concept:
- 96% of respondents indicated that the concept was "clear and easy to understand";
- 86% indicated that the concept was either "appealing" or "very appealing";
- 80% would recommend that their company buy a ‘.tel’ domain name; and
- 78% thought that ‘.tel’ would be valuable in managing customers and clients.
‘.tel’ could potentially revolutionize how internet users search for companies online and could even surpass the traditional methods of listings in hardcopy business directories, especially in light of the increased use and presence of the Internet in everyday life. The registration of a ‘.tel’ domain name may offer the registrant an entry into what is in effect a global online directory whereby its contact information is readily available and easily located.
David Taylor, Lovells LLP, Paris
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