The Ministry for Information Technology and Communications in the Republic of Colombia recently announced that it is opening up registration for ".co" as a top-level domain ("TLD"). Until recently, Colombian domain name registrations were only allowed using the third level, ".com.co" domain. The introduction of the ".co" as a TLD is significant for brand owners because of its similarity to ".com", the world's most common TLD. This will be tempting for impostors who register other peoples' trade-marks as a "".co" in order to take advantage of misdirected web traffic. By registering first under the ".co" TLD, a trade-mark owner can avoid having potential customers being redirected to an impostor's website as a result of a minor error when typing out their domain name.
The registration process for the ".co" TLD has been ongoing for previously registered domain name owners since March 2010. However, the global sunrise period between April 26 and June 10, 2010 will allow holders of registered trade-marks, registered on or before July 30, 2008 anywhere in the world, to register for their corresponding ".co" domain name. This means that holders of registered Canadian trade-marks who wish to register their domain name under the ".co" TLD will be able to do so starting April 26, 2010.
The ".co" TLD opens itself to registration by the general public on July 20, 2010, however, trade-mark owners who miss out on the global sunrise period are not left without recourse if their trade-mark is registered as a domain name under the ".co" TLD by another entity. Colombia's has adopted ICANN's Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy, which provides a mandatory arbitration process for launching a complaint against a registered domain name holder. This process can be effective, but may be costly and could take up to several months to resolve. Therefore, trade-mark owners may wish to take steps to obtain their ".co" domain name during the global sunrise period in order to avoid the cost and time of launching an official complaint at a later date.