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2831 previously unavailable .co.uk, .me.uk, .org.uk and .net.uk domains open to applications from trade mark holders from 1st December 2010

01/11/2010

The application process for some of the UK’s most valuable domain names – those with single numbers, single letters and two letters, will start on 1st December.

Nominet, the not-for-profit organisation responsible for running the .uk Internet infrastructure, is kicking off the release of 2831 ‘short’ domains with a ‘sunrise’ period during which trade mark holders can apply for a domain that matches their trademark.

Until now these domains, which include single character domains (e.g. 1.co.uk, a.co.uk) and two letter domains (e.g. aa.co.uk), were ‘reserved’ – held back for technical and policy reasons – and as such could not be registered.
Following a policy review and a public consultation, these domains are now being made available.  A full list of the domains can be viewed atwww.nominet.org.uk/go/shortdomains.

.uk domains are normally registered on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.  However, due to the anticipated high level of demand, Nominet will release these short domains via a staged process.

The ‘Registered Rights Sunrise’ period starts at midday (GMT) on December 1st and closes at midday (GMT) January 17th 2011.  During this time trade mark rights holders can apply for a domain that matches their trade mark.  As each application will be independently verified, applicants will need to provide evidence of using the trade mark in the UK prior to 1 January 2008.

If there is more than one verified application, domains will be auctioned to the highest bidder, with proceeds going to the Nominet Trust, an independently run charity focussed on increasing access, safety and education on Internet issues.

Domains not allocated will then go forward to a second sunrise period, when the rights qualification will be extended to unregistered rights holders.  Any remaining domains will proceed to a “landrush” period in which anyone can participate.  Nominet will make further announcements regarding these stages in due course.
“There can be many trade marks, but only one domain name.  So we’re expecting these new domains will be hotly contested by individuals, companies and major brands. This release is an opportunity for savvy rights owners to get hold of valuable domain names” comments Nick Wenban-Smith, Senior Legal Counsel at Nominet and member of the project team for the short domains release.

“Having the .uk short domain URL can enhance brand value and increase customer access to businesses and individuals via search engines and beyond. We’ve developed the process to be fair as possible and look forward to active participation from trade mark holders in the first stage of the process.”

The categories of domain included in this release have different purposes: while.co.uk and .org.uk are open to all, .net.uk is reserved for network operators, and me.uk is intended for individuals.

More information is available at www.nominet.org.uk/go/shortdomains

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