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It's Sunrise Time for .PRO Registry

More than a year after grabbing total control of the .PRO domain name registry, Register.com has opened up its RegistryPro business to begin marketing the suffix -- at least partially.

Professionals in the medical, legal and accounting fields can now reserve the new .PRO top-level domain under the Sunrise Period for defensive name registrations launched by RegistryPro.

The Sunrise Period allows registered trademark holders to secure their marks in the .PRO domain before the registry opens fully for public registrations. The company expects full-scale registrations to be ready by July.

.PRO domains will cost $125 per year, much higher than the regular registration fee of approximately $20 per year for the more popular .COM, .ORG or .NET domains.

RegistryPro, which has headquarters in Atlanta, Ga., said the Sunrise Period was necessary to allow the protection of trademarks. "By taking this step now, registered trademark holders can avoid potential trademark disputes and costly litigation down the road," the company said.

During the Sunrise Period, RegistryPro is offering two defensive services. The Defensive Name Registrations service would block registrations of a matching domain name while a separate .ProBlock service is available to registered trademark owners looking to entirely block an exact trademark or service mark across all profession-specific domains (example: .med.pro, .law.pro, .cpa.pro).

The .ProBlock feature will cost in the range of $500 to $1,500.

The company has also created ProReserve to allow registrants residing outside of the U.S. to register and reserve a .PRO domain until the registry goes live in their jurisdiction.

Built-in encryption technologies would allow professionals using the .PRO domain to sign digital contracts online (lawyers) or send e-mail prescriptions (doctors).

The .PRO suffix was approved by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in November 2000 and given exclusively to RegistryPro, then a partnership between Register.com and U.K.-based Virtual Internet.

In February 2002, Register.com shelled out $17 million to acquire Virtual Internet and take sole control of the .PRO registry.