Monday, 4 November 2013

London Pride: a Domain Name for London

At present a business or other entity in London can indicate its description by registering a generic top level domain for its website or mailboxes ending in ".com" or ".biz" or its incorporation in or connection with the United Kingdom but it cannot yet show its location in or connexion with London.  For many businesses a London address is its most important attribute.  Soon such a business will be able to do so as a result of the expansion of generic top level domain names that I discussed in my article "What's in a Name? WIPO Domain Name Dispute Resolution Panellists' Meeting 28 Oct 2013" 3 Nov 2013 NIPC Law.  

Dot London Domains Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of London & Partners which is the official promotional organization for the capital, has applied to register ".london" as a new generic top level domain name and you can inspect a copy of its application here. According to the application the advantages of operating a successful London TLD registry and the subsequent use of .LONDON domains will be to:
  • Enhance the reputation of London and promote the London brand
  • Amplify London & Partners’ promotional activity
  • Position London as a leading centre of technology and innovation
  • Promote consumer choice and benefit registrants by offering relevant and affordable .LONDON domain names
  • Create jobs and economic benefit for London.
Dot London's mission is 
"to generate benefits for London and Londoners and provide .LONDON domains to:
  • Those interested in disseminating information, whether commercial, non-commercial, news, culture, lifestyle, entertainment, sports or any other topic and who wish to associate themselves and their information with London.
  • Those interested in selling goods and services or providing information and who wish to associate themselves and their goods, services and information with London.
  • Individuals, organisations and businesses who wish to associate themselves or identify with London."
Its purpose is to
  • "Make .LONDON domains available to organisations and individuals in London, the UK and world-wide and by the use of .LONDON domains, enable them to associate their products, information and themselves with London for their own legal purposes.
  • Allow organisations and individuals to promote their association or identification with London and provide a means to communicate with those who associate or identify with London.
  • Increase the number of organisations and individuals that identify with London through their use of .LONDON domains and email accounts.
  • Make .LONDON domains affordable and available subject to compliance with the rules governing .LONDON discussed elsewhere in this application.
  • Operate a safe and secure registry for .LONDON that exceeds ICANN’s requirements."
The application states that domain names will generally be registered on a first come first served basis and that applicants will be expected to have an affiliation or association with London though "this need not be based on the location of the applicant."

Registration on a first come first served basis does provide an opportunity for cyber squatting though that will be mitigated by a sunrise period in which trade mark proprietors will have a chance to register domain names in the .london domain space before anybody else and the registry will incorporate the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy into its registration agreement.

Unlike many other new generic top level domain names .london encountered no objections or contentions and its application has been approved (see "London gets go ahead for new ‘.london’ top level internet domain"  10 June 2013 Dot London Domains website). London drew 635th place in the prioritization draw so I am not sure when the domain will be delegated but it cannot be long.

If you want to discuss anything in this article or the legal issues relating to domain names generally, call me on 020 7404 5252 during office hours or use my contact form. You can also tweet me, write on my wall or send me a message through G+, Linkedin or Xing.