Start-up plan for '.pro' is published

International

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has published the start-up plan for RegistryPro's '.pro' generic top-level domain. The new domain is aimed at lawyers, doctors and other professionals who will be allowed to register domain names using, for example, '.law.pro', '.med.pro' and others. Registrations are expected to begin before the end of the year.

The start-up plan has three phases. First, RegisterPro will conduct a testing and education period for approved registrars.

Second, a sunrise registration period will be held. To register a '.pro' domain during this time, applicants must prove (among other things) ownership of a registered trademark that is identical to the third-level word(s) for which they are applying. Applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis.

After the sunrise period, the third phase of registration will commence during which applicants need not have an identical trademark registration for the third-level word(s) for which they are applying. However, they must fulfil certain other criteria to be eligible, such as being a member of the relevant professional association. Again, applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis.

ICANN's Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy will apply to all '.pro' domain name disputes. Two additional dispute resolution procedures will also apply: (i) the Sunrise Challenge, where third parties may challenge on the basis that the registrant was not eligible to register the domain name as he/she did not own an identical trademark; and (ii) the Qualification Challenge, where interested third parties may challenge on the basis that the registrant was not eligible to register the domain name as he/she did not have the relevant professional qualification.

Matthew Jacob and Dawn Osborne, Willoughby & Partners, London

Get unlimited access to all WTR content