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Wednesday, 25 July, 2001, 14:51 GMT 15:51 UK
Step up for .info domains
Pat Rafter with a Prince tennis racquet PA
Racquet maker Prince has been in dispute over the domain
By BBC News Online technology correspondent Mark Ward

Trademark owners have 30 days to reserve a new .info domain bearing their valuable brand name.

Afilias, the administrator of the new suffix, is running a "sunrise" period for companies keen to ensure they get the right to use the internet address.

By giving companies a month to apply, Afilias hopes to stop cybersquatters holding trademarked names to ransom.

The .info domain is due to be in use by 19 September.

Applications accepted

As the internet has developed many companies which own trademarks have often struggled to extend their brands online because speculators have snapped up .com domains bearing popular names.

Last year, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann), which oversees the running of the net, picked seven names to expand the range of domains available online.

Some of the seven new registries will likely avoid cybersquatting problems because they are open only to particular organisations.

.aero, for example, is open only to companies involved in the air transport industry.

Random pick

The administrator of one of the new domains that is open to everyone, .info, is now running a "sunrise" period to give trademark holders a chance to reserve a domain before the general public, and perhaps speculators, starts buying up the new names.

Afilias, the registry for .info, said its "sunrise" period would run until 27 August. This reservation period will not remove all conflicts and Afilias is planning to randomly pick who gets any domain for which more than one organisation applies.

The public will be able to buy .info names from 12 September, and .info domains should be active and browseable by 19 September.

Already, Afilias has signed up 37 registrars to sell .info domain names. Afilias itself is a consortium made up of 18 different registrars.

See also:

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