DotConnectAfrica's (DCA) legal battle to stop the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers' (ICANN) delegation of the .africa generic top level domain (.africa gTLD) to the ZA Central Registry (ZACR) finally came to an end at the Superior Court of California where the court denied DCAs application for a preliminary injunction against ICANN.
ZACR is now the official registry operator of the .africa gTLD and it will be launched in three phases:
- Sunrise Period (4 April 2017 - 2 June 2017) - during the Sunrise Period trade mark owners can secure domain names matching their registered trade marks before .africa is made available to the general public. The registered trade marks must first be validated by a Trade Mark Clearing House (TMCH). Alternatively, and specifically for the .africa gTLD , a system called Mark Validation System (MVS) will be used to validate trade marks which are not yet registered, company names, trust names and common law trade marks (as well as registered trade marks for trade mark proprietors who do not wish to validate through the TMCH).
- Landrush Period (Phase 1 = 5 June - 9 June; Phase 2 = 12 June - 16 June; Phase 3 = 19 June - 23 June; Phase 4 = 26 June - 30 June) - this registration is open to everyone around the world without any restriction, but the registration is sold at a higher price than the regular price.
- General Availability (4 July 2017) - registration will open to the general public and works on a "first come, first served" basis.
The .africa gTLD is an essential domain name extension for any business trading in Africa. It is anticipated that the .africa domain name extension will be in high demand and clients are advised to include this domain name extension in their branding strategy. The cost of registration is minimal compared to the risks of failing to register.
Submitted by Webber Wentzel