Trademark holders will soon be given an opportunity to register their business contact information when the new .tel top-level domain sunset registration period begins in December. The new .tel top-level domain has been said to provide a secure method for registrants to share contact information with others, such as Twitter accounts, Facebook accounts, business addresses and phone numbers, and LinkedIn accounts, even when a business changes its location or contact information. The .tel domain, it has been said, provides a stable single location for information about a business, and the service allows registrants to share as much or as little of their information as wanted.
Trademark holders will be allowed to register .tel domains during the initial sunrise period, which begins on December 3, 2008 and runs until February 3, 2009. Sunrise period applications have been priced at $386 USD, or 290 Euros, which includes a three-year registration if the application is accepted. The “landrush” period, or the period of first registration for non-trademark holders, begins on February 3, 2009 and runs until March 24, 2009. This period will also require three-year registrations and it is likely that most generic or descriptive domain names will be registered during this period. The final period, general registration, will begin on March 24, 2009. This period will be significantly cheaper than the prior two, and one-year registrations will be allowed.
Trademark holders should be very aware of these dates and should consider defensively registering their trademarks to protect against cybersquatting or typosquatting. Since these .tel domains act as a single contact point for future address and technology changes, protecting your brand identity is extremely important to ensure that users searching for your business are directed to the correct location. If you are worried about defensive registrations, cybersquatting, or the upcoming .tel registration periods, please contact an attorney that has experience in these areas.