With the ‘dot’ AFRICA (.africa) domain launch process well into its ‘publicly available’ phase, brand owners should now prepare for the release of a new second-level domain in Kenya, ‘dot’ KE (.ke)

The Kenya Network Information Centre (KeNIC), the body responsible for the administration and management of the new second-level .ke domain, says that the domain is being introduced to combat cyber-squatting and domain hijacking.

The launch will be divided into three phases. The Sunrise phase kicked off on 23 July 2017 and will close on 22 October 2017. During this phase, only brand owners who hold trade mark registrations in Kenya will be allowed to apply for corresponding domain names. Trade mark registrations need not be validated with the Trade Mark Clearing House (“TMCH”) or the Mark Validation System (“MVS”). However, brand owners are required to verify their registrations at the Kenyan trade marks registry and obtain a confirmation letter before applying for a domain name.

The Sunrise phase will be followed by a 30-day Land Rush period during which competing applicants can bid on domain names. Once the Land Rush phase comes to an end, a 30-day Cooling Off phase will begin during which KeNIC will assess whether the applications meet the eligibility requirements for the respective phases. Thereafter, General Availability will open and domain name registrations will be granted on a first-come-first-serve basis.