Late last year we reported on the .ae Domain Administration, and mentioned the proposed introduction of the إمارات. (.emarat) ccTLD domain name extension, and plans to introduce Arabic language domain names.

Specifically, we reported that the .aeDA had finalised the 'backend' requirements that would allow the Registry to support Arabic language script, and that the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority had approved the adoption of إمارات.(.emarat). We mentioned that, subject to resolution of some policy related matters, Arabic script domain names with the إمارات. (.emarat) ccTLD will be available for registration.

About a year later, we can now report that the UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority has announced the opening of a 'sunrise' period for Arabic language إمارات.(.emarat) domain names. The sunrise period, during which trade mark owners may seek to register their trade marks in Arabic using the new ccTLD in Arabic, ends on 15 December 2010.

According to H.E. Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim, the Director General of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority:

The volume of Arabic content on the Internet is huge, but inability to write domain addresses in Arabic alphabets constituted a barrier for a large segment of Arab users. This was the main driver that sparked the adoption of the idea to present Arabic top-level domain names.

Initial reports of the take-up by UAE government entities indicate that there is an interest in Arabic language إمارات. (.emarat) domain names. It will be interesting to see what the interest is from commercial entities seeking to protect their brands in Arabic – and from third parties who might seek to 'cyber squat' by registering other companies' names and trade marks in Arabic in the إمارات.(.emarat) domain name space, capitalizing on delays or lack of interest from their 'rightful owners'.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.