March 20, 2024
AI or .AI? Depends if you are looking to register a domain in Anguilla or not
AI or .AI? Depends if you are looking to register a domain in Anguilla or not

Artificial intelligence may be on the way to replace us – it does not suffer from insomnia in the middle of the night or an urge to head to the pub so I’m fully worried about the prospect of my role being replaced by technology…

Other IP professionals will be more excited by the opportunities it will present (and if you are you should follow my colleague, Rebecca Newman, who is a though leader on this and its relationship with IP).

Artificial intelligence or AI is certainly one of the watchwords out there. Therefore, it’s understandable that the registration of .ai domain names have soared in popularity, rising from around 75,000 to over 250,000 since 2022 alone.



.ai is a ccTLD, or a country-code Top Level Domain, for the tiny island of Anguilla in the Caribbean. It has a population of around 15,000. As you can imagine, its economy is small with a tourist industry and offshore services being the main economic sectors.

Anguilla may not be sufficiently important for a business to have a local domain and website for consumers based there.

Furthermore, you may not have a commercial need for a .ai website (to refer to any artificial intelligence business you are developing). For example, an automotive company may not need a specific website for its artificial intelligence alone – the whole car look and design, its interior and comfort combined with technology are what attracts consumers. In the past, registering numerous domain names like as many ccTLDs as possible and typos was common, but has lessened due to the almost unlimited number of domains nowadays making it cost prohibitive.

Nevertheless, this would not mean you would be happy for a third party to register a .ai domain name containing your brand.

The good thing is that the .ai Domain Registry uses the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (“UDRP”). Given the proliferation in .ai domain name registrations, it is perhaps not surprising that there were 53 UDRP complaints regarding .ai domains made to WIPO in 2023. There had only been 19 in all years prior to then.

As a recap, in a UDRP complaint, a complainant has to satisfy three elements:

  • The domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights;
  • The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name;
  • The domain name was/were registered and is/are being used in bad faith.

We are regularly involved in domain name disputes taking a nuanced approach when UDRP proceedings may not represent the best option. For example, an anonymous approach or a commercial negotiation may be better options.

The good thing for trade mark owners is that they can rely on trade mark registrations in a range of countries to satisfy the first element in a UDRP complaint.

A brief review of decisions issued in 2023 that resulted in transfer of the domain name to the complainant (26 with only two complaints denied), which make reference to trade mark registrations, list registrations from ‘mainstream’ territories such as China, the European Union and the United States. It is not necessary to have a registration in Anguilla and defensively registering in Anguilla appears unnecessary for this purpose.

The purpose of registering in Anguilla would be to have a tool that could be used to stop infringing use in Anguilla.


But what if I do want to get a registration in Anguilla?

Brilliant! That’s where my team can offer assistance.

Anguilla is a British overseas territory, but in common with most other British overseas territories, a UK registration does not provide any protection. It is necessary to register locally with the Anguilla Commercial Registry.

It’s usually a smooth process with a registration typically issued in less than six months.

It can be even quicker if you already have a UK registration. With a UK registration you can ‘re-register’ this in Anguilla. The registration in Anguilla will take the same details as the UK registration. It can be a good idea to have one eye on your UK registration’s renewal date. If it’s soon then any Anguilla registration would fall due for renewal at the same time. Slightly delaying filing – if you can wait – would help save on renewal fees.

Whether you’re looking to protect your brand in the big world of artificial intelligence or the small island of Anguilla then we would be pleased if you were to get in touch.

Online Brand Enforcement /  Domains

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