In a letter dated August 9, 2010, Eduardo Santoyo who is the CEO for the new .co country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) assured domain registrants of the security of the newly implemented .co ccTLD and warned cybersquatters that the .co domain registry will be pro-actively screening for instances of trademark and brand name infringement.
Furthermore, Santoyo expressly stated that .co domain names are all subject to ICANN's Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). Remember that UDRP arbitration proceedings can be brought (similarly to in rem) directly against the infringing domain names regardless of the global location of the infringing domain name owner, registrar, or host for the domain address. So cybersquatters who attempt to register trademark or brand infringing .co domain names are put on notice that such infringing domain names can fairly easily be repossessed by rightful brand owners.
The new ccTLD domain registry opened up availability to the general public on July 20, 2010 after previously only allowing brand name and trademark owners to register .co domain names during its sunrise period.
Interestingly, it looks like the .co domain registry CEO’s message is being reinforced by registrars allowing registration of .co domains. The domain name registrar EnCirca’s .co bulk registration page echoes the message expressed by Santoyo;
“Please don't enter famous trademarks. The owners will initiate legal proceedings, and the registrations will then be cancelled. It just wastes everyone's time.”
Santoyo’s letter is reproduced in full below, from the domain name registrar EnCirca:
An Open Letter to .CO Domain Registrants
August 9, 2010
Dear .CO Domain Registrant,
Congratulations on securing your new .CO domain name! We appreciate the faith that you have placed in the .CO domain extension and hope that you will leverage your new domain name to expand your existing online presence or to create a new one that best suits your needs and desires.
As the official domain Registry operator of the .CO TLD, we both recognize and embrace our responsibility to serve as a trustee for the .CO domain and we are committed to managing the .CO Domain Registry in a responsible manner.
We have worked very hard to ensure that .CO offers a different kind of experience for corporations, organizations and individuals -- not only in its ability to provide you with a multitude of globally credible domain name options that were previously unavailable; but also in the mechanisms that we have instituted to protect brand owners, domain registrants and individuals who use .CO domain names from all forms of online abuse.
Here's what this means to you:
Your Domain Names Are Safe.
No matter who you are or where you are in the world, when you register a .CO domain name, you can do so with confidence. We have built the .CO domain registry on a globally distributed, state-of-the-art platform with the highest standards of stability, security and performance to seamlessly power the resolution of domain names in every corner of the world. You can rest assured that for every person who types in a .CO domain address, or sends an email to someone with a .CO email, the traffic will be quickly and efficiently routed to the correct place 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.
And if an issue should arise that threatens the security of your domain, we will take swift and appropriate action on your behalf. State-of-the-art monitoring is in place to enable us to rapidly take down or indefinitely suspend any .CO domain that is engaged in domain abuses such as phishing or pharming, distributing malware, hacking or denial-of-service attacks, and/or creating or facilitating security threats or other cyber crimes.
Your Rights Are Protected.
In building the .CO domain registry, we have followed internationally accepted and well-recognized best practices in trademark policy to ensure that your rights are protected every step of the way. The .CO domain extension will be managed in a fair, equitable and sustainable way, making .CO domains a great asset to businesses, brand owners and entrepreneurs the world over. Please see the Open Letter to Brand Owners from our CEO, Juan Diego Calle, for more detailed information on these protections.
If you believe that someone has violated or is infringing on your trademark rights, you may file a claim under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (often referred to as the "UDRP"). Adopted by ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), and incorporated by reference into your domain registration agreement, the UDRP is an administrative procedure used to settle domain name disputes between parties quickly and efficiently.
Your Responsibility is Required.
When you choose to register a .CO domain name, either directly through a registrar or as a bidder in an auction, you must represent and warrant that doing so will not infringe on or violate anyone else's intellectual property rights. If a person or entity claims that your domain name registration infringes on or violates their legal rights, they may institute a UDRP proceeding against you to resolve the dispute.
This will likely be the case, for example, if the domain name is registered for the purpose of confusing, misleading or tricking the public, trading on the goodwill of someone else's brand, or for any other bad faith reason. In each of these cases, the domain name will likely be lost during a UDRP proceeding and returned to the rightful owner, resulting in the loss of your .CO domain.
The outcome of a UDRP proceeding is binding, and no refunds will be given under any circumstances -- regardless of how much money you may have paid to secure the domain; whether the domain was acquired directly via a domain registrar or through a domain auction venue; and whether you were unaware that you had infringed on someone else's rights.
It is your responsibility to determine whether a domain name registration may infringe on or violate someone else's legal rights. If you are not sure whether a proposed domain name registration or auction purchase would infringe on or violate someone else's rights, please consult with a qualified attorney.
We hope that this Open Letter will minimize any future confusion, claims or disputes that may arise with regard to the registration, auctioning, sale, development or other use of any .CO domain name that could be legitimately claimed as the brand or trademark of another individual or entity.
.CO Internet is committed to protecting the rights of brand owners, domain investors, and end users, and to creating a safer, friendlier online experience for corporations, organizations, entrepreneurs and people from around the world.
We urge all .CO domain registrants and auction participants to please take the time and make the effort to understand your own legal rights -- and to respect the rights of others. In so doing, you can play your part to keep the .CO domain extension a stable, secure engine for creativity, innovation and economic development across time zones, cultures and geographical boundaries.
Welcome to the .CO era!
Very truly yours,
VP & ccTLD Manager
.CO Internet S.A.S.