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Final Period for Companies to Register .Asia Top Domains (based on priority)

Business owners and companies that are doing, or intend to do business in Asia, should note that the third and final phase to register domain names with the .asia top-level domain (based on priority) will come to a close on January 15, 2008. This final "sunrise" period (SR3) gives priority to registered entity names, such as the names of companies and organizations, and is primarily geared at businesses, especially small and medium sized companies, which typically do not hold registered trademarks for their brands or company names. SR3 opened November 13, 2007 and closes on January 15, 2008.

Asia is a new domain extension that represents the Asia-Pacific region. Because it represents the entire region, a .asia domain gives companies exposure to the region as a whole, instead of the previous country-by-country domains. The .asia domain registration began on October 9, 2007 in accordance with the recent approval by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

The registration process for .asia is designed to avoid the problems surrounding domain name registration for prior top-level domains such as the .com, .cn and .hk domains. In general, the registration process for domain names in many Asian countries (including China) was based upon a first come, first served premise. Because of this, an increasing number of U.S. business owners were unable to register their respective domain names in those countries simply because of others’ prior registration of the same domain names even without legitimate purposes.

In contrast, domain names for .asia are be awarded on a priority basis over three "sunrise" periods. At the end of the "sunrise" periods, registration will be open to any applicant.

  • The first "sunrise" period (SR1) opened October 9, 2007. SR1 gave first priority for registration to governments and governmental entities in the Asian community. 
  • The second "sunrise" period (SR2) was reserved for all holders of registered trademarks meeting certain criteria. This "sunrise" period was divided into three sub-phases. The first sub-phase of SR2 was the Early Bird Sunrise, which was for marks that were applied for on or before March 16, 2004. To participate in this phase, the owner must be able to demonstrate continuous use of the trademark. This sub-phase was open from October 9, 2007 to October 30, 2007. The second sub-phase for SR2 is the General Registered Marks Sunrise, which includes more recently registered trademarks, including those registered after December 6, 2006. Proof of continuous use is not required in this phase. This sub-phase runs from November 13, 2007 to January 15, 2008. The third sub-phase of the SR2 is the Extended Protection Sunrise, which is for a registration of marks that already meet the requirements for either of the other sub-phases. In the third sub-phase, mark owners are invited to apply for additional domains that incorporate both their marks and significant words from the titles, subtitles, and components of their class descriptions as designated by the Nice Classification System of the World Intellectual Property Organization. This sub-phase runs contemporaneously with the second sub-phase of SR2.
  • The third and final "sunrise" period (SR3) gives priority to registered entity names, such as the names of companies and organizations. SR3 is primarily geared at businesses, especially small and medium sized companies which typically do not hold registered trademarks for their brands or company names. SR3 is open from November 13, 2007 to January 15, 2008.

All applicants are required to submit documents supporting their entitlement to the sought-after domain names along with their applications. The applications, however, will be evaluated only for completeness, not for validity of the evidence. Even without verification of documents, experts believe that this application process will prevent abusive capturing of domain names by cybersquatters, which are individuals who register trademarks or popular names with the intent to resell the registration. The process would force cybersquatters to falsify a large amount of documentation.

Another unique feature of the .asia registration process is that all applications will be treated as if they were received simultaneously during each sunrise period. If multiple parties apply for the same name, .asia will conduct an auction to determine who will receive the domain registration. Though the losing party may still challenge a registration through an auction, the auction process is still expected to reduce the presence of cybersquatters because of the expense incurred in winning an auction against a true holder of the mark.

If you have any questions regarding this, or any other legal issue, please send us an email and we will direct your inquiry to the appropriate contact.

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