.AFRICA domains will soon open for business

Domain Name Extensions
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The .Africa Top Level Domain will soon be available for businesses. The expectation comes after the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) overcame over five years of legal obstacles preventing it from delegating the rights to administer the .Africa domain to Registry Africa, a wholly -owned subsidiary of the ZA Central Registry NPC (ZACR).

ZACR is a nonprofit organisation that is responsible for the approval of South African internet domain names. It administers domain extensions such as .capetown, .joburg and .durban.

ICANN won a long legal battle against DotConnect Africa Trust (DCA) which had made a series of accusations against ICANN for the manner in which it handled its application to administer the .Africa domain name. DCA alleged that ICANN conspired with the African Union Commission and ZACR to “defraud” DCA Trust of a “fair” evaluation process.

The launch will start with a 60-day Sunrise Phase during which trademark holders can apply for domain names corresponding with their trademarks, either through the Mark Validation System (MVS) or the TradeMark Clearing House (TMCH).

The general availability for the .africa domain extension is expected to be around July, 2017.

For more information, please contact the Trademarks Team at trademarks@nlipw.com

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