Possible new .uk domain

Posted in UK Intellectual Property on by Admin

Nominet, the UK domain name registry, has announced a proposal to introduce a new service, known as direct.uk. Targeted at businesses, it will focus on increased security, including verification of registration addresses, monitoring for malicious sites and digital signatures to reduce the risk of the site being hijacked. The domains would be identified with a ‘.uk’ suffix as opposed to ‘.co.uk’. Should the new service go ahead, it will be important for businesses and owners of domain names with other suffixes to consider registering for the ‘.uk’ equivalent as well.

The proposal is for a phased release, giving owners of registered trade marks priority, followed by holders of unregistered trade marks, before the service is made available to all. When considering domain name registration as a trade mark, it is important to bear in mind that merely adding the suffix ‘.uk’ will not normally confer distinctiveness on an otherwise descriptive mark. However, any mark must of course be assessed as a whole.
It remains to be seen whether priority will also be given to registrants of the equivalent ‘.co.uk’ domains because this is not currently within the Nominet proposal.

Nominet is currently seeking feedback on its proposals before the consultation ends on 7 January 2013. If they go ahead with the new service, it is likely that domain registrations will begin towards the end of 2013.