办事指南

Trading names - A poor former Soviet republic has struck gold

点击量:   时间:2017-04-02 03:01:10

By Mark Ward INTERNATIONAL companies, including British Telecom, are buying Turkmenistan’s .tm Internet addresses or “domain names” as a way of showing their products are trademarked. More than two thousand domain names have already been registered. At the beginning of the year, there were only three domain names registered in Turkmenistan, which lies between Iran and Kazakhstan on the southeast shore of the Caspian Sea. American domain names ending in .com, .org and .net, are administered by Network Solutions in Virginia. But country-specific domain names, such as Britain’s .uk, are usually looked after by a national administrator (see This Week, p 20). At the beginning of last month, the Turkmenistan government signed a profit-sharing deal with NetNames, a London-based company that specialises in registering domain names. The deal gives NetNames the right to sell domain names ending .tm. Turkmenistan receives a share of the proceeds, which it will use to subsidise the cost to its citizens of registering a domain name. NetNames is offering companies the chance to use the .tmsuffix on their Web sites to show that the name or product being featured is trademarked. NetNames makes clear on its Web site that there is no such thing as an Internet trademark, but adds: “The meaning of `TM’, however, is known worldwide.” A spokesman for NetNames said the service has proved popular since it was launched. British Telecom says it has registered both bt.tm and yellowpages.tm. NetNames says it requires proof of ownership of a trademark before it registers a name. The company has also reserved hundreds of the more popular trademarked names that have yet to be registered as domain names to stop piracy. But Christian Gordon-Pullar, a solicitor who specialises in Internet law at Lovell White Durrant in London, warns that the companies could be storing up legal problems for the future. He says that although the name looks good,