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Assignment of .hk Domain Names

Starting from 1st June 2001, .hk domain names became transferable. Such transfer is subject to the registration rules or agreements, including the subject of the transferee to the Registration Agreement and the Dispute Resolution Policy. As HKDNR has restricted the use of .com.hk to commercial organisations, .net.hk to holder of a Public Non-exclusive Telecommunication Service licensee (IVANS/ISP licence holder), .org.hk to non-profit making organisation, a transfer must be effected to a transferee having the same legal status.

The usual format of the transfer of a domain name is by way of an assignment. An assignment is preceded by an agreement unless the parties can have all the documents and the purchase consideration exchanged simultaneously. As the execution of an assignment does not complete the whole process of the transfer, the purchase consideration should preferrably be held by the vendor's solicitors as stakeholders in escrow pending the updating or the domain name service (DNS) server hosted by the HKDNR. The vendor would be entitled to the release of the purchase consideration to him once the DNS server has been updated with the purchaser's name.


HKDNR Became the New Registrar

In the past, commercial body is allowed to hold only one domain name. Besides, domain names are not transferable.

Starting from June 1 2001, companies can register multiple domain names under ".hk" and transfer domain names upon mutual consent. These enhanced services are introduced in response to the public comments received in the consultation exercise conducted in mid-2000 to facilitate the development of e-commerce in Hong Kong.

To address the risk of cybersquatting arising from the liberalisation measures, the HKDNR has appointed the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre to provide arbitration service to facilitate early resolution of ".hk" domain name disputes so as to obviate the need to resort to court settlement.

The HKDNR was set up by the Joint Universities Computer Centre (JUCC) to assume the existing role of the Hong Kong Network Information Centre in registering ".hk" domain names. This is the first move of spinning-off the domain name administration function from the JUCC. As supported by the public during the consultation exercise, the JUCC will soon transfer its domain name registration and assignment responsibilities to a non-profit-making and membership-based corporation with wide representation to be set up towards the end of this year.

To sustain the on-going operations of the new corporation, ".hk" domain name registrants under the new policies will pay a registration fee and an annual renewal fee, both set at $200, which are comparable to the rates charged by overseas domain name registrars.

Existing domain name holders, which are not subject to annual fee payment, can opt for the new policies with the enhanced services by accepting a new agreement, or retaining the old agreement but they will not be eligible for the enhanced services under the new policies.

New arrangements for allowing registration of domain name by individuals will be formulated and implemented by the new corporation after it has been established.