The overwhelming popularity of traditional domain names using .com and .com.au has resulted in the near-exhaustion of practical domain names for businesses with these extensions. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (‘ICANN’) is in the process of gradually introducing new generic top level domain names (‘gTLDs’) to significantly broaden the scope of domain names available.
In addition to traditional existing top level domain names such as ‘.com’, ‘.biz’ and ‘.net’, businesses can now register domain names ending with certain generic words such as ‘.technology’, ‘.media’ and ‘.florist’. A large number of domain names have already become available, with new gTLDs being rolled out on a regular basis, potentially providing new and existing businesses with unique and relevant web addresses. However, this can also present a risk for existing businesses, who will need to be proactive to ensure that relevant new domain names cannot be registered by cyber-squatters or competitors.
A new extension, ‘.insurance’, will shortly be released, meaning that domain names with this extension will soon become available for registration on a first-come, first-served basis.
Existing trade mark owners registered with the Trademark Clearance House have the first opportunity to apply for .insurance domain names during a 30 day ‘Sunrise Period’, before registrations are opened to the general public. The Sunrise Period for ‘.insurance’ commences 9 May 2016 and ends 8 June 2016.
Following this pre-registration Sunrise Period, all remaining .insurance domain names will become available on a first-come, first-served basis.
We have assisted a number of clients to pre-register domain names corresponding with key brands during Sunrise Periods to prevent them becoming available to third parties. The cost of doing so is substantially less than the expense involved in fighting a cyber-squatter later.
To ensure protection of consumers and businesses, additional requirements have been imposed in order to successfully register a ‘.insurance’ domain name. Only verified members of the global insurance community are able to register a ‘.insurance’ domain name, such as:
- The regulated insurance companies
- Licensed insurance agents/agencies; and
Further, all registrations will be subject to a verification process prior to activating the domain name, including verification of licensure, approval or certification with the registrant’s government regulatory authority.
Other insurance related extensions
The extension ‘.insure’ has been available for registration since August 2014, but does not have any additional eligibility requirements as detailed above. To date there have been over 3,500 domain name registrations using the .insure extension.
A ‘.travelersinsurance’ extension will also be launching shortly, however we understand that this has been established by US-based company Travelers Insurance for its exclusive use. Accordingly, although a Sunrise Period for this extension commences on 25 April 2016, registrations are unlikely to be available to companies other than those associated with Travelers Insurance.
This article was written by Luke Dale, Partner, Daniel Kiley, Senior Associate and Mary Szumylo, Solicitor.