Welcome to the .CO era — The .CO domain name extension
Businesses throughout the world are able to protect and expand their brand by registering a new domain name, in the .CO domain. This is different to the existing .com and .com.au domains.
Colombia opens up .co domain
.CO is currently the country code domain for Colombia. However, recent surveys show most people associate .co with “company”, “corporation,” or “commerce”. As a result over 20 countries are using .co as a second level domain name (i.e. co.uk, co.jp). Colombia has decided to open up the domain as a alternative to the .com domain.
Melbourne IT is currently the only Australian accredited domain name registrar for .CO domain names. Up until to 13 July 2010 application and registration fees are approximately $360. Auction for popular names will be held, which may push up the price. Following this auction period, fees for registering a .CO domain name will be approximately $80.
Domain name disputes
Domain name disputes that arise in connection with the .CO domain will be governed by ICANN’s Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) will oversee any arbitration and mediation under the UDRP. In order to succeed in a dispute you must meet three criteria. You must show that:
- the infringer’s domain name is identical or confusingly similar to your trade mark
- the infringer has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of their domain name
- the infringer’s domain name has been registered and used in bad faith
Should you register your brand in the .co domain?
All businesses need to consider carefully whether to secure their brand in this new domain.
Currently, it is impossible to know how popular the new domain will be, or the extent to which users or other businesses will use the domain. Of course, the risk is that, if it is ignored, another business may secure your brand in this new domain and it may be difficult, if not impossible, to get it back.
Early domain name registration will help ensure that other trade mark holders with rights to the same mark (e.g. in a different country) can not secure these rights before you do. It may further build valuable new business and recognition as a domain extension that is relevant to your business in every corner of the world.
For further information, please contact Swaab Attorneys.
Authored by M Hall.