The domain “.co,” the country code top-level domain assigned to Colombia, has been released for worldwide registration. This domain will give users the option to have a Colombian Internet identity for websites and email addresses. The registry itself will become operational in July.

At the launch, there will be a sunrise period during which only those with recognized rights to a name (such as trademark holders) may register .co domain names. Essentially, this requires a trademark registration anywhere.

The sunrise period consists of two phases. Phase 1, which runs from April 26 through June 10, is limited to the registration of domain names corresponding to registered trademark holders where the domain name is an exact match to the registered mark and the mark was registered prior to July 30, 2008. Phase 2 will commence on June 21 and includes the registration of domain names of high commercial value. Applicants who wish to register a domain name during the sunrise period will be required to provide supporting documentation and evidence of their rights to the particular name/trademark. Any interest in matching domains where parties claim simultaneous rights to the same name during these periods will go to auction. The open registration period will commence on July 20.

All applications made during the sunrise period must be done through an accredited registrar. (Such registration may be done through a licensee and foreign law firms can be designated as licensees for such registrations.) It should be noted that the registration of .co domain names, during the sunrise period and thereafter, will occur on a first-come, first-served basis.