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Dec 2008
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December 22, 2008

What Is .tel?

Many businesses are asking about .tel, which is a new general top level domain (like .com) that launched earlier this month. The domain is sponsored by Telnic Limited and is designed solely for storing the following types of information for an individual or organization:

  • Contact information (e.g. phone numbers, e-mail)
  • Content links (to Web addresses)
  • Navigation links (e.g. or to reach a certain brand division of the company)
  • Location information (e.g. maps and addresses)
  • Indexed text (e.g. data and keywords to describe the business)

The .tel domain allows businesses and individuals to share contact information without the expense of maintaining a separate Web site. The .tel domain acts as a virtual business card, allowing customers and clients to find contact information quickly and efficiently, without having to navigate a full Web site. Because the information provided is small, the lookup is quick and inexpensive.

The .tel domain name is not designed to replace an existing, robust Web site. Instead, it supplements existing marketing efforts to capitalize on the increased popularity of mobile-based Internet use. For example, a customer who does not have access to a computer, but does have an Internet-enabled device, may simply type "YourCompany.tel" as a Web address and then receive all information that your company has decided to publish. Links provided through your company's contact information may then drive traffic to an e-commerce storefront. Or, if the device is a phone, the customer can click on the phone number and the device will initiate the phone call. A .tel domain name makes sense for companies that rely heavily on direct client contact. Visit www.hotels.tel to see an example.

Buying A .tel Domain Name

There are three phases to the .tel launch:

Sunrise Period: The "Sunrise" period is reserved for registered trademark owners and their authorized licensees, and began on December 3, 2008. A trademark application must have been filed before May 30, 2008, and registered before submitting a Sunrise application. .tel applications may be based on both word and figurative or device marks that consist exclusively or predominately of words. All Sunrise applications are handled on a first-come, first-served basis. The initial registration period lasts for three years. Depending on the registrar, the names may be purchased during this period for a premium ($300 to $450).

Landrush Period: The "Landrush" period begins on February 3, 2009, and closes March 23, 2009. The Landrush period is open to everyone and any domain name that is not registered during the Sunrise period will be eligible for registration during the Landrush period for a premium price. The selection is handled on a first-come, first-served basis and there is no validation involved. The Landrush registrations last for three years.

General Availability Period: The "General Availability" period begins on March 24, 2009. It is open to everyone and the selection is handled on a first-come, first-served basis. No validation is involved and registrations carry a one-year minimum term. Depending on the registrar, the names may be purchased at this time for between $10 and $35 per year.

Warner Norcross & Judd LLP is available to advise on the above and can assist in filing a .tel domain name application on your behalf. If you would like to discuss this new opportunity, please contact James Scott at 616.752.2469 or jscott@wnj.com, or any member of Warner's Technology and Intellectual Property Practice Group.

NOTICE. Although we would like to hear from you, we cannot represent you until we know that doing so will not create a conflict of interest. Also, we cannot treat unsolicited information as confidential. Accordingly, please do not send us any information about any matter that may involve you until you receive a written statement from us that we represent you.

By clicking the ‘ACCEPT’ button, you agree that we may review any information you transmit to us. You recognize that our review of your information, even if you submitted it in a good faith effort to retain us, and even if you consider it confidential, does not preclude us from representing another client directly adverse to you, even in a matter where that information could and will be used against you.

Please click the ‘ACCEPT’ button if you understand and accept the foregoing statement and wish to proceed.

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