ASIA is a new sponsored top-level domain (sTLD) that is intended to serve and promote the Asia Pacific Internet community. The Asia Pacific Region consists of 73 countries. The Asia Pacific region, which spans from Turkey to Japan, is home to more than 60% of the world's population.

Before the public can register domain names on a first-come, first-served basis, trade mark owners will be provided the opportunity to apply for domain names matching their registered trade marks during the Sunrise Period.

The Sunrise Period is separated into 3 phases:

  • Sunrise 1 provides priority for governments in the community to reserve and register domain names.
  • Sunrise 2 allows registered mark owners to obtain domain names corresponding to the marks they own.
  • Sunrise 3 allows registered companies, organisations and other entities in the .Asia Community to obtain domain names corresponding to their entity names.

Particulars of the Sunrise Periods are set our below. For trade mark owners, the critical phase is Sunrise 2, which launches on October 9, 2007.

I. Sunrise 1 – October 9, 2007 – Government Sunrise

Governmental or relevant bodies may register domain names from the reserved names list compiled before the Sunrise Period begins.

II. Sunrise 2 – Registered Trade Marks 

  • (a) Sunrise 2a – Early Bird – October 9, 2007 to October 30, 2007 An applicant must own a registered trade mark with demonstrable usage in the class in which it is registered (where applicable), and the mark must have been applied for on or before March 16, 2004.
  • The domain name must be an exact match of the registered trade mark.
  • Documentary evidence is not a requirement at the time of application, but will be required upon request.

(b) Sunrise 2b – November 13, 2007 to January 15, 2008 – General Registered Marks

  • An applicant must be the owner of a registered trade mark applied for on or before December 6, 2006.
  • The mark must match the domain name exactly.
  • Documentary evidence is not a requirement at the time of application, but will be required upon request.

(c) Sunrise 2c – Extended Protection

At this stage, an applicant can apply to register as a domain name its registered mark combined with relevant word(s) from the applicable class title, subtitle or description of the registration (e.g., Brand XYZ .asia).

III. Sunrise 3 – November 13, 2007 to January 15, 2008 – Organization Sunrise

  • Sunrise 3 allows companies, societies or other organisations in the .Asia Community to register domain names reflecting their corresponding trade names. The entity needs to be in good standing and to have been registered with the relevant authority on or before December 6, 2006.
  • A declaration to the claimed name, along with documentary evidence, is required.

The Sunrise Period is followed by the Land Rush Period in February 2008. This type of pre-registration is for customers who do not have a trade mark registration, but wish to register a .ASIA domain name.

In March 2008, registrations will be on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Two Applications – One Domain Name

Applications received during the Sunrise Period or Land Rush Period will be treated as received at the same time. If there is only one successfully verified applicant for a domain name, it will be allocated to that applicant.

If more than one applicant for the same domain name passes the verification process, all successfully verified applicants will be invited to bid for that domain name in an auction. The highest bidder will get the domain name. Auctions start after the end date of the respective periods.

Value of .ASIA

The expectation is that .ASIA domain names will be very popular and that there will be a rush to register these domain names. A unified Asian domain may become a valuable tool for brand owners that wish to reach an entire region with a single domain name registration, as opposed to registering and maintaining separate domain name registrations in each individual Asian country, which can be expensive and time consuming. In certain cases, brand owners may not be eligible to register domain names in certain .ASIA regions.

As with the .EU domain names, cybersquatters are expected to be very active.

Accordingly, brand owners are strongly encouraged to register their registered marks as domain names. Even if use of .ASIA domain names is not contemplated, brand owners should consider registering .ASIA domain names as a defensive measure against cybersquatters.