Internet addresses ending in ".Asia" will soon be available for the registration of domain names. Trademark owners and businesses may wish to consider registering domains with the ".Asia" ending for their corresponding names.
The Internet’s domain-name system (DNS) allows users to refer to web sites and other resources using easy-to-remember domain names (such as "www.sheppardmullin.com") rather than numeric IP addresses (such as "126.96.36.199"). The right-most label in a domain name is referred to as its top-level domain ("TLD").
In the 1980s, seven generic TLDs (.com, .edu, .gov, .int, .mil, .net, and .org) were created. The .com, .net, and .org domain names are open domains which may be registered by anyone. The other four (.edu, .gov, .int, and .mil) are restricted. In the early 2000s other new TLDs were introduced, including .biz, .info, .name, .pro, .aero, .coop, and .museum.
More recently, on December 6, 2006, ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers; the Internet’s key oversight agency for domain names) signed an agreement providing for a new TLD: .Asia. The .Asia TLD is a sponsored TLD, meaning a sponsor organization is responsible for some defined ongoing policy-formulation authority regarding the manner in which the TLD is operated. The DotAsia Organisation is the sponsoring organization for the .Asia TLD.
DotAsia has announced a priority registration period, called “Sunrise,” during which time government bodies, trademark owners, and companies, societies, or other organizations may register their domain names with the .Asia TLD.
Beginning October 9, 2007, trademark registrants who applied for their mark prior to March 16, 2004 and have demonstrable usage of their mark may apply to register their corresponding domain with the .Asia TLD. The application period ends October 30, 2007.
Then, commencing November 13, 2007, newer trademark registrants (applied for before December 6, 2006) and registrants with marks that have not been actively used may apply to register their corresponding domain with the .Asia TLD. Trademark owners may also at this time apply to register domain names that are relevant to their business to protect their brand (e.g. XYZ.Asia and XYZcomputers.Asia). Lastly, companies, societies and organizations may apply to register domains for their corresponding names with the .Asia TLD beginning November 13, 2007. The application period for these categories closes on January 15, 2008.
To discourage automated tools aimed at flooding the system on opening day, DotAsia has decided against using a first-come, first-served model during the early registration period. Instead, all applications in a given round will be treated equally, with an auction held when two or more qualified applicants seek the same name.
General registrations will come later, though DotAsia has not specified when.