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More .uk domain names are set to be released

9 April 2010

Do you own trade marks or brands comprising two letters or a single character? Frustrated that you’ve not been able to register your brand as a domain name in the UK? Well, read on.

Nominet, which runs the register for .uk domain names, which total around eight million, has announced plans to make available those domain names which comprise two letters or a single character (think AA, BA) as well as other reserved names within the second level domains it controls (including .co.uk and .org.uk). Previously these domains were not available due to technical reasons, unless they had been adopted prior to Nominet’s establishment in 1996.

Nominet estimates that around 2,000 such domains would become available and these would first be offered to relevant trade mark owners during an initial “sunrise” period. Prior to the release, Nominet has invited interested parties to offer their views on the release. A summary of responses received to date are published on Nominet’s website. The responses to date seem to be overwhelmingly in support of the release of two-letter domains, but there has been a more cautious response to the release of single character domains – largely because it is perceived that there is less scope for legitimate use of such domains.

The consultation is open until 8 June 2010, and so if you are a stakeholder – maybe your organisation is well known by a two-letter acronym – you can respond to Nominet here.

The release of these domains is certainly a positive step. However, there have to be the correct safeguards in place to protect the interests of legitimate rights owners, and to avoid abusive registrations. This means that Nominet’s dispute resolution service is likely to see an increase in use once these domains become available.

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Mark Daniels

Mark Daniels

Partner and Head of Business Services

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