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2012-04-12| The Brief Case - April 2012 .PT for All? Yes: the FCCN Opens Registration May 1 by Chase Marshall :: Sedo.com Legal Staff

The Fundação para a Computação Científica Nacional (“Foundation for National Scientific Computing” in English, or “FCCN”), the Portuguese registry for .pt, will officially liberalize the extension beginning May 1, 2012. Up to this point, .pt domain name registrations were limited to legal entities within Portugal registering their own names as domain names, and to Portuguese trademark owners registering their marks as domain names.

The FCCN has planned to liberalize the .pt extension since 2008, but had postponed this initiative several times. However, the change on May 1, 2012, will enable anyone to register domain names under .pt.

The pre-registration timeframe, during which holders of registered trademark rights are able to secure their domain names before the .pt extension is opened to the general public (the sunrise period), began on March 1, 2012. It marked the official start of the .pt ccTLD’s liberalization, and is scheduled to end on May 1, 2012, when open registration begins. At that point any entity, including local and foreign companies and individuals, can apply for .pt domains.

While the expansion of .pt benefits domain name owners looking to expand their portfolios, it also places additional onus on domain name registrants. Because the FCCN will perform fewer checks on new domain names, registrants must take full responsibility for the choice of their domain name. A registrant of a .pt domain name “guarantees that the registered name and its ownership do not conflict with established rights of others.” Additionally, new domain names cannot “correspond to words or expressions contrary to law, public order, or morality.”*

The .pt extension traditionally has not been widely registered or traded. There are currently less than ½ million .pt domain names registered. By contrast, the .de extension in Germany, representing the most well-known ccTLD, has over 15 million domain names registered. However, in March 2012, when the sunrise period began, there were almost twice as many new .pt domain name registrations than in February 2012 before the sunrise period.

The FCCN expects a steep rise in domain name registrations after the general opening on May 1, 2012. Additionally, the FCCN announced that it is withdrawing the .net.pt, .int.pt, publ.pt, and nome.pt extensions due to their lack of popularity. Existing domain names with these extensions will not be affected, but the withdrawals will certainly help increase new .pt domain name registrations. Current and potential owners of these extensions should take these considerations into account moving forward when considering registering, selling, or purchasing these domains.

*For more information on the .pt extension or related registration policies, please visit the FCCN website.

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