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Urgency Required To Secure New Domain Names

Two new domain names, .biz and .info, are about to be launched because most meaningful .com names have already been used. Many New Zealand companies have not been able to secure a .com registration for their major brands. There is a short window of opportunity for trademark owners to express interest in their trademarks under these new domain addresses, before potential cybersquatters get there first.

Intellectual property law firm, A J Park, is warning any business or entity with important trade marks that they must move urgently to secure their trademark(s) as .biz or .info domain names.

Andrew Collins, trademark lawyer, says a process has been agreed to allow trademark owners to claim a prior right for a .biz and/or a .info before registration is opened up to all and sundry.

"It is very important that New Zealand companies with an international business look to take advantage of the opportunity provided to protect their most significant brand or brands, to avoid the 'land grab' that went on by cybersquatters and others over the .com registrations."

Andrew Collins says for a .biz registration, trademark owners must submit an intellectual property (IP) claim between 21 May 2001-9 July 2001 to the registry, providing information about the trade marks they want to prevent others using as .biz domain names. From 10 July there is an opportunity to make an application for the domain name before the .biz registry goes live. From 1 October, applications will be processed on a 'first come first served' basis, so the window of opportunity to protect a trademark (if you have one) has passed.

"The .info domain names are available to the general public, but if you have a registered trademark, there is a "sunrise" application period (from late June to late July) in which you may register the .info domain name corresponding to your trademark. From mid August .info domain names will be allocated to the general public on application."

Andrew Collins says there are dispute mechanisms available in both processes, but trade mark owners may save themselves a lot of time, money and grief if they get in early and secure their IP rights.

Andrew Collins says the new domain registries have fairly strict requirements about the information required for these claims, and suggests businesses approach their intellectual property advisors without delay.


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