NZ .info names go offshore

The new top level domain name .info is supposed to be in its sunrise period, where only registered trademark holders can buy names. However newzealand.info has been snapped up by a man living in Sheffield.

The new top level domain name .info is supposed to be in its sunrise period, where only registered trademark holders can buy names, but newzealand.info has been snapped by by a man living in Sheffield.

Afilias, the company that was given the rights to the .info name by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), is made up of 18 of the world's largest registrars.

Only trademark and service mark holders "can submit their marks for official registration in the .info domain" from July 25 to August 27, in a move designed to avoid the problems of domain squatting that has annoyed so many in the .com namespace.

However something's gone amiss and Hazim Jameel of 4 Edward Street Flats, Sheffield has snapped up newzealand.info - despite the fact that New Zealand, as with most country names, cannot be registered as a trademark.

"Typically geographic names or descriptive terms cannot be registered," says Bruce Kelsall, patent specialist with Auckland law firm Russell McVeagh. "Any person from this country is entitled to use it."

Kiwi.info has also been snapped up, by a Dutch company.

Interestingly, kiwi.co.nz isn't in use but is owned by the former Kiwifruit Marketing Board, now known as Zespri. Kiwi.com, however, is home to a Swedish-based travel site which was experiencing "technical difficulties" late yesterday. There is no indication of any New Zealand connection to the company.

The trademark "kiwi" is owned by the Kiwi Shoe Polish company which is, in turn, owned by a Dutch company - perhaps the one that has bought kiwi.info. Kiwishoepolish.com is currently "under construction".

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