INTERNATIONAL. Following the successful launch and pickup of the first fully non-Latin script domains in May 2010 by Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, a further four countries in the Middle East have followed suit, with the respective IDNs for each having been launched in the Arabic language.
These countries include Jordan, Qatar, Syria and Tunisia.
While Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE were the first countries to be able to offer "internationalised" domain names (IDNs), i.e. domain names which comprise entirely of non-Latin script, the successful pick up across other Middle Eastern countries has demonstrated their popularity, and indeed the demand.
The IDNs to be launched in the Arabic language for each country are as follows:
• مصر in Egypt
• لاردن in Jordan
• قطر in Qatar
• السعودية in Saudi Arabia
• سورية in Syria
• تونس in Tunisia
• امارات in the UAE
The launch of these Arabic domain names in Jordan, Qatar, Syria and Tunisia means that they have now been delegated into the DNS root zone which, in short, means that they are now available to be issued by the domain name registries in the relevant country, and then to be used in the same way as other domain names.
Rob Deans, Partner at Clyde & Co, said: “The launch of Arabic domain names in seven countries now is a testament to both the demand for and importance of Arabic language trademark protection. While there is currently little information available for the other countries in the Middle East launching IDNs, we expect this to change with further developments in these countries in the near future.”
The Saudi Network Information Center has confirmed that Arabic domain names under the .AlSaudiah domain are to be launched in two phases, the first of which was completed on the 12th July 2010. The second phase is expected to be complete on the 27th September 2010. Egypt and the UAE appear to be following the same approach as taken in Saudi Arabia, with a sunrise period for trademark owners of around two months followed by a land rush. We understand that the sunrise period will be launched in the UAE towards the end of this year.