The Saudi Network Information Center (SaudiNIC) will begin accepting applications for Arabic domain names starting May 31, 2010. Registration will consist of two phases:

·  Sunrise Period: The Sunrise phase (May 31 up to July 12, 2010) is open only to trademark and trade name owners. The domain name must be the exact match of the corresponding trademark or trade name.

· Landrush Period: The Landrush phase (which will begin on September 27, 2010) allows anyone to apply for the registration of domain names of high commercial value. No trademark or trade name registration is required.

The requirements for registration are as follows: (1) Power of attorney, simply signed, (2) A letter addressed to SaudiNIC, completed on applicant’s letterhead, simply signed, with company seal, and (3) Copy of the corresponding certificate of registration, or copy of the corresponding certificate of incorporation or extract from the commercial register. Item 3 is required only during the Sunrise period. The domain name will remain operational as long as the Domain Name System numbers and Internet Protocol addresses are kept active. Local presence is required.

In light of the above, it will become essential for trademark owners doing business in Saudi Arabia to take note of the following:
· Owners should identify and register all the country-code Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) of interest in order to prevent any attempts of cyber-squatting
· Owners should make sure that they have adequate protection of the Arabic script of their marks.

Up to this date, the jurisdictions from our region that have completed the linguistic and technical requirements for the introduction of IDNs are Egypt, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Tunisia, Jordan, West Bank, and Gaza. Except for Saudi Arabia, detailed information on the timetable and processes which will apply to the launch of Arabic domain names in the above jurisdictions is not available yet.

Should you have any specific inquiries regarding the subject matter, please contact us at