In December of last year, applications opened for new .TEL domains. These domains can be used to provide 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.

As of December 3, 2008, trade-mark holders have an opportunity to apply for .TELs corresponding to their registered trade-marks. During the landrush period commencing February 3, 2009, the general public is able to register .TEL domains at a premium price.

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 $19.99 U.S. per domain for a one year term.

While the registration fee will be much lower at this time, there is a risk that 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.

Disputes regarding entitlement to .TELs will be governed by the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (“UDRP”) that 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.