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.mobi Sunrise Registration Begins

.mobi is a new sponsored Top Level Domain (TLD) for web sites targeting the mobile audience. Companies that provide content, services and hardware for mobile devices, as well as companies that wish to advertise to consumers of mobile devices, should consider registering a .mobi domain name. Registrants for a .mobi domain name must agree to comply with certain rules designed to guarantee that .mobi web sites are easily accessible by mobile devices such as cell phones and pocket PCs. Trademark holders should consider registering their mark(s) in the .mobi TLD to prevent others from doing so and to take advantage of the Sunrise Period challenge process, if necessary.

The launch of the .mobi TLD is similar to other TLD launches in that it begins with a Sunrise Registration Period for trademark holders. Registrations are granted to qualified applicants on a first-come, first-served basis.

Trademark holders who are members of mobile industry associations, such as the Mobile Entertainment Forum and the Mobile Marketing Association, can apply for a .mobi domain name from May 22 – May 29. All other trademark holders can register their trademark as a .mobi domain name from June 12 – August 21.

Only qualified trademark holders may register their domain names during the Sunrise Registration Period. A qualified trademark owner for the purposes of the Sunrise Registration Period is anyone who holds a trademark or service mark of national effect, applied for prior to July 11, 2005, and granted before the date of the domain name application. The domain name itself must also meet certain rules. If a brand owner believes that it is likely to extend its marketing activities or product line to include mobile devices, that company may want to act now to secure the .mobi domain name.

General Registration begins August 28 and commences with a two-week period known as Land Rush followed by an Open Registration. During the Land Rush period, available .mobi domain names can be registered at premium prices.

There is a special dispute resolution process – called the Sunrise Challenge Process – for domain names registered during the Sunrise Registration Period. The challenge period is from August 28 through December 15, 2006.

Sunrise challenges will be heard by WIPO according to Sunrise Challenge Rules and Policies. For challenges involving names registered during Land Rush and Open Registration, parties should use ICANN’s Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy.

This client alert is a publication of Loeb & Loeb and is intended to provide information on recent legal developments. This client alert does not create or continue an attorney client relationship nor should it be construed as legal advice or an opinion on specific situations. Please contact us if you have questions about registering a .mobi domain name.

Circular 230 Disclosure: To assure compliance with Treasury Department rules governing tax practice, we inform you that any advice (including in any attachment) (1) was not written and is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalty that may be imposed on the taxpayer, and (2) may not be used in connection with promoting, marketing or recommending to another person any transaction or matter addressed herein.