UK domain name register releases short domain names

Author: Eddie Powell

On 1 December 2010 applications will be accepted to register very short “.UK” domain names, consisting of one or two characters. These short names have until now not been available for use as website names.

It will therefore be possible to have domain names like “” or “”. Other previously restricted names (such as are also being released.

The release will take the form of four stages:

  • Registered Rights Sunrise phase – 1 December 2010 to 17 January 2011 – where a business has a UK or Community registered trade mark for the relevant one or two letter name (registered prior to 1 January 2008), it gets first priority;
  • Unregistered Rights Sunrise phase – for users of a brand corresponding to the domain name code but who cannot show registered rights existing as of 1 January 2008, but can show bona fide trade use in the UK before that date;
  • “Landrush period” – anyone can apply for the domain name within a set period if they do not have trade mark rights; if there is more than one applicant for a domain name within this period then the name will be subject to an auction process between the applicants;
  • Open applications – anyone can apply for the names on a first come, first served basis.

The dates for the phases after the Registered Rights Sunrise ends in January 2011 have yet to be announced.

If your business uses a one or two letter trading name, then it is going to be worth looking at applying for the short form domain name corresponding to your brand in the registered or unregistered rights sunrise phases. Nominet will be charging approximately £50 plus VAT plus the fee payable to your selected Registrar, through whom all applications will have to be processed.

Further details of the names released can be found at

If you would like advice or assistance with applying for a short domain name, or any domain name or brand protection issues, please contact partner Eddie Powell on 020 3036 7362 or

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