6 March 2012

.pt relaxes domain name requirements

On 1 May 2012, .pt domain names will become available on a "free-for-all" first-come, first-served basis (.com.pt domains are already available in this way).

Until now, .pt domain names have been made available to Portuguese nationals, companies and holders of registered trade marks (Portuguese national, Community Trade Marks and International Registrations designating Portugal or the European Community).

The National Foundation for Scientific Computing ("FCCN") explain the change:

"International practice in registering top-level domain names, the maturity reached in registering domain names in Portugal, the adjustment to the simplification programmes carried out by the Portuguese State and the guarantee of quick and effective dispute resolution, have lead FCCN to liberalise .PT domain registration."

The FCCN will operate a sunrise period, which started on 1 March 2012 and will last until 30 April 2012. This will provide inter alia trade mark owners with the opportunity to register their brands as .pt domain names. The sunrise period has already seen a partial relaxation of the rules. Owners of trade marks containing figurative elements can apply (not just owners of word mark registrations) and it appears an application can be based on a trade mark registration having effect in Portugal or another country.

I am loathe to recommend the building up of large defensive portfolios of domain names for the reason that this could be a limitless exercise and nobody has a limitless budget. However, if you are yet to have a .pt domain name and Portugal represents a good-sized market for you then securing a .pt domain name to prevent cybersquatting would seem sensible. Official fees at FCCN are inexpensive.