Trademark Holders Should Now Consider .ASIA Registration

.asia logoThis week trademark holders began registering for .ASIA domains.

This new top level domain provides regional coverage for 73 countries including Austrialia and New Zeland.  The region has more than 400 million internet users, compared to 320 million in Europe and 230 million in North America.

Trademark  holders should pay special attention to this issuance because it is structured differently that the only other regional domain, .EU.

Rather than registering and using domains in each country individually, firms may choose to marketing under the .ASIA domain as an umbrella identifier.

Issuance is governed by The DotAsia Foundation, a non-profit which seeks both to promote the region’s identity online, but also to raise funds to address digital divide issues in the region.

Things trademark holders should know about .ASIA registration:

  1. Trademark holders have an early filing period lasting until January 15th.
  2. These early filings may include the trademark name, words from its trademark classification, and and underscore “_” or and “&”. This could result in useful varients which extend the trademarks utility taken alone considerably. 
  3. During its launch, domains will NOT be first come first served. When equally qualified registrants claim the same term, they will be entered into an English-style auction, with proceeds benefiting the foundation’s digital divide initiatives.
  4. Trademark holders must prove that they are conducing business within the region.
  5. Filings are required to include either: a technical or business contact for the account in the region, or use a registrar based in the region.  U.S. firms will typically use a foreign registrar to meet this requirements.

The sunrise period for registration by trademark holders will last until 15 January, 2008, after which duplicated domain names will be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

From 15 November, 2007, companies in the Asia region which do not own trademarks, but which were incorporated on or before 6 December, 2006, can join the application process.

From February 2008 the so-called “landrush” phase begins, during which the general public can apply for .asia domain names. Again, duplicate domains will be auctioned to the highest bidder.

From March 2008 .asia domain names will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

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