From Tuesday, 4 April 2017, trademark owners who have validated their trademarks will be able to register matching domain names with the .africa extension. This sunrise period will run for 60 days until 2 June 2017.
In order to register a .africa extension during the sunrise period, your trade mark needs to be validated using either the Trademark Clearing House or the Mark Validation System. At the end of the sunrise period the applicant with the highest ranking will be awarded the .africa extension.
The trade mark clearing house is a centralized database of verified trademarks, that is connected to each and every new Top Level Domain (TLD) that will launch. A brand owner who wishes to register their trade marks with the clearing house can submit their trade mark into the database for verification. Once verified they will receive a unique authentication key which gives them access to participate in every Sunrise period of new TLDs. The Mark Validation System is similar to the Trademark Clearing House but can only be used to access .africa, .durban, .joburg and .capetown domain extensions.
From 5 – 30 June 2017, there will be a landrush period where .africa extensions will be open to everyone but sold at a higher price.
From 4 July 2017 onwards, .africa domain names will be open to the general public on a first-come, first-served basis.
We suggest that businesses operating in Africa should consider this extension as a valuable addition to their domain name portfolio.
If you are interested in obtaining a .africa extension for your brand, or for more information, please contact Nick Pemberton.
By Nick Pemberton, Trademark Attorney