On December 3, 2008 applications will open for new .TEL domains. These domains can be used to provide your customers, colleagues and family with contact information and website addresses for you and your business in a place that is both easy to remember and accessible using any Internet-enabled device. The information at a .TEL domain is being likened to an interactive business card on the Web that you can update and distribute to anyone. To make things easy, your contact information can be posted and managed without putting up a website.

Keeping in mind the directory-like function of .TEL, businesses should strongly consider registering .TELs corresponding to their business names and key trade-marks. Individuals whose identity is closely tied to their work should consider registering their personal names as well. Lastly, individuals may wish to register their personal names as a social networking tool.

  1. Sunrise Registration Period: December 3, 2008

Commencing on December 3, 2008, trade-mark holders will have an opportunity to apply for .TELs corresponding to their registered trade-marks. Applications filed during this sunrise period will be considered on a world-wide basis, independently assessed by Deloitte and awarded on a first come, first served basis.

To be eligible, trade-marks must be registered nationally by December 3, 2008 and must match the desired .TEL exactly. Design marks can be a basis for registration only if the word element of the mark is predominant and can be clearly separated or distinguished from the design elements.

It is advisable to pre-book .TEL domains with your domain name registrar. This will give you priority amongst your registrar's other customers but not amongst other registrants worldwide.

The cost to register a .TEL domain during the sunrise period is approximately US$399 per domain for a three year term, which is the minimum term available.

  1. Landrush Registration Period: February 3, 2009

During the landrush period commencing February 3, 2009, the general public will be able to register .TEL domains at a premium price. This will be an opportunity for businesses to register .TELs corresponding to their existing or future business names and trade-marks that are not registered nationally and thus are not eligible for sunrise registration. It will also be desirable to register typovariants of your business and trade-names for defensive purposes, i.e. to prevent others from registering them and possibly causing confusion in the marketplace.

We recommend that landrush registrations also be pre-booked with your registrar.

The cost to register .TELs during the landrush period is approximately US $375 per domain for a three year term.

  1. General Availability: March 24, 2009

After the sunrise and landrush registration periods have ended, the general public will be allowed to register remaining .TELs on a first come, first served basis at a significantly lower price of approximately US $19.99 per domain for a one year term.

While the registration fee will be much lower at this time, there is a risk that your key trade-names and trade-marks will have been registered by others by the time general registration opens.

If you wish to register any .TELs during the general registration period, we recommend that they be pre-booked as soon as possible.

  1. Dispute Resolution

Disputes regarding entitlement to .TELs will be governed by the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy ("UDRP"), which currently governs .com and .net domain name disputes, among others. Under the UDRP, you will be able to seek transfer or cancellation of a .TEL domain if you can show that (1) it is confusingly similar to a trade-mark in which you have rights; (2) the registrant has no legitimate interest in the domain, and (3) the domain was registered in bad faith.

Given the relatively inexpensive cost of .TEL domains as compared to UDRP proceedings, we recommend that clients register trade-names and trade-marks as .TELs during the sunrise or landrush periods if they would be concerned about their registration by a third party.