Two developments were announced this week that will interest brand owners. First, the fast track internationalized domain name process for country code domain names was launched by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Second, the .eu registry in the European Union announced that it will begin accepting applications for second-level domain names (the name in front of the dot) with a number of non-Latin and special characters beginning December 10, 2009.

ccTLD Internationalized Domain Name Fast Track Process

On November 16, ICANN began accepting applications from countries that are interested in launching ccTLDs, country code top level domain names -- the name after the dot such as .jp, in non-Latin characters. When writing in their native language, over half of the world’s Internet users write in non-Latin characters. ICANN received applications from six countries for ccTLDs in characters in three different languages on the first day. Brand owners can expect that in 2010, they will begin to be able to register second-level domain names in ccTLDs in a number of non-Latin scripts. Likely scripts include Cyrillic, Arabic, Greek, Hangeul, Sinhala, Tamil, and others.

Earlier in the process, countries, territories, and ccTLD operators that expressed interest in launching an internationalized ccTLD included: Algeria, Bhutan, Bulgaria, China, Egypt, Greece, Iran, Israel, Libya, Japan, Jordan, Republic of Korea, Laos, Mongolia, Morocco, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, and United Arab Emirates.

Launch of Non-Latin and Special Characters in .eu Second-Level Domain Names

Beginning December 10, 2009, brand owners will be able to register .eu domain names in a number of non-Latin and special characters. For a list of the available characters, click here. The same rules about residence in the E.U. will apply for the new IDN .eu domain names as have applied for other .eu domain names. Dorsey & Whitney’s Trademark, Copyright and Brand Management Group would be pleased to assist your company by preparing and submitting .eu domain name applications. If your company does not meet the eligibility requirements but envisions having a European presence in the future, we would be happy to discuss a strategy to establish eligibility with you.