Author: Domaining

One of the world’s most valuable companies just plumbed new depths in cybersquatting disputes.

Saudi Aramco, the $133 billion Saudi Arabian oil company, filed trademarks for a new brand called Orizon last year. Naturally, the company would like the domain Orizon.com.

But there’s a problem.

Orizon.com was registered in 1997 by Orizon Multimedia Inc. The company used the domain for its business but then shut down. Apparently, the owner of the business passed away last year.

So Saudi Aramco decided to file a cybersquatting complaint under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) to try to get the domain.

Here’s the thing: in order to win a UDRP case, a trademark holder must show that the domain was registered in bad faith when it was initially registered.

Clearly, the registrant did not register the domain in bad faith since he used it for his legitimate business. Oh, and he registered it more than two decades before Saudi Aramco decided to adopt it as a brand, so it wasn’t registered to target Saudi Aramco.

World Intellectual Property Organization panellist Nick Gardner correctly ruled that this isn’t a case of cybersquatting. He considered if it was reverse domain name hijacking but, ultimately, gave Saudi Aramco a pass. One of his reasons: since the domain owner is dead, he wasn’t burdened by Saudi Aramco’s filing.

 

Read more: Domain Name Wire

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The sale of a UAE internet domain name for Dh6 million (US$1.6m) to an unidentified horse enthusiast has been described as a landmark that has put the Emirates up with some of the highest domain prices in the world. The Ozone Group, an Indian-based technology company with an office in Dubai, ran an intensive advertising campaign to sell the right to use horse.ae, but without any associated website or hosting agreement.

The company invested around Dh1 million in advertising in newspapers and radio stations in the UAE, offering the domain name for Dh5m. The move generated a flurry of interest, including seven serious bidders which saw the price go up to Dh6m and the sale close a day before the original deadline of July 26. Munir Badr, a Dubai-based technology entrepreneur, said the sale of horse.ae far exceeded the previous highest known price for a .ae domain, putting the UAE’s country code on a par with the far more mature .com market. Registration and trade in .ae domain names was liberalised in August last year, when the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority took away Etisalat’s monopoly. The broad liberalisation of the national internet domain system aimed to “promote the widespread usage of the .ae branding on a global scale”.

Part of the changes allowed companies other than Etisalat to act as registrars of UAE web addresses. While the old system involved going along in person to an Etisalat office, along with stamped documents and passport copies, .ae domains can now be purchased online, with a credit card, in minutes. The .ae top-level domain has since been catching up with trends seen in the rest of the world, not just in huge prices for popular domain names but also with battles over intellectual property against people, dubbed “cybersquatters”, who register words and names, including trademarks, usually with a view to selling them at a profit to their “rightful” owners.

The companies behind Dunkin Donuts, Baskin Robbins and Hardees restaurants all have cases pending at the UN-backed World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) to gain control of .ae domains linked to their companies.

Public records of domain names such as dunkin-donuts.ae, Baskin-robbins.ae and Hardees.ae show they are registered in the name of Ali Abdelwahed. The WIPO has consistently sided with trademark holders in previous disputes, ordering that ebay.ae, yahoo.ae and SonyEricsson.ae all be forfeited by the individuals who had registered them and transferred to the companies holding the trademarks. But Emirates Airline failed in its bid for the WIPO to award it the Australian domain, emirates.com.au, ruling that emirates were a sufficiently generic word and that the owner, the West Australian company Bluecom Consulting Group, had a legitimate claim through a failed business venture marketed as Emirates Salt.

Mr Badr, speaking before the sale of horse.ae was confirmed, said the Dh5m asking price was a “ridiculous amount” but predicted that the figure would be met.

Once told of the Dh6m final sale price, he said it was easily the highest ever paid for a .ae domain name. “It’s a huge sum. This sale can’t be even compared to the recent two-character ad.com sale, which fetched just Dh5.1m,” he said.

The .com top-level domain had been popular since the 1990s, he said, while “the .ae, in its new format after aeDA (.ae Domain Administration) introduction in August 2008, is just about a year old. I think [.ae domain sales] still have five or more years to reach a good standard where the aftermarket sales are very high.” “This sale is a true record and stereotype breaker and will surely boost the .ae market and its publicity.” Mr Badr said generic names were still available although the more obvious ones had been registered after the .ae liberalisation last year.

 

Read more on The National

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The maps of Dubai and Abu Dhabi have been updated using high-resolution images captured by KhalifaSat, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) announced on Tuesday.

The UAE’s first high-resolution satellite imaging system called ‘Mosaic’ pieced together individual digital images to create a single high-resolution picture of the UAE terrain.

According to MBRSC, Mosaic provides a comprehensive view of the UAE’s topography, using remote sensing systems, image processing, geographic information systems, and artificial intelligence.

The system is part of the MBRSC’s efforts to support federal and local government entities, research and academic institutions as well as the private sector in understanding the geography, topography, and environmental impacts of large areas in the UAE more accurately.

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The US-based technology giant opened a first in the world artificial intelligence centre for energy in Dubai, so it could develop technologies to be used globally.

The virtual inauguration of the centre took place on Wednesday and is based at the company’s office in Dubai Internet City. Microsoft Energy Core, the centre’s name aims to start developing AI-focused technology beginning from September.

“It’s a global initiative … Microsoft’s first centre to focus solely on energy and sustainability … majorly we will be exploring AI and cloud computing,” said Omar Saleh, Microsoft’s Middle East and Africa head of energy and manufacturing.

 

Read more: The National

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Dubai has established a strong startup ecosystem that attracted leading international brands to invest in the emirate’s technology sector, an industry veteran said.

In an exclusive interview with Gulf Today,

Ali Homadi, founder and CEO of Loyica, said Dubai has emerged as a strong hub for technology sector by attracting top brands into the emirate.

Referring to multimillion dollar acquisitions of Souq.com by the US giant Amazon and Careem by Uber, he said Dubai has potential to create more unicorn firms in coming years.

“Loyica has potential to become first unicorn of the UAE in technology sector as it received tremendous response on the country’s first locally-developed CRM software Saphyte during its soft launch in the last quarter of 2019,” Homadi said.

The UAE’s first locally-developed customer relationship management (CRM) attracted some of the leading businesses in the region and now looks set to disrupt the global CRM market through its commercial launch in second half of 2020.

“Saphyte is the first locally-developed CRM in the UAE that is globally competitive cost- and performance-wise. It has the potential to be the next unicorn tech company,” Homadi said.

Established in late 2016, Loyica is a Dubai-based company which develops top-of-the-line technology solutions to help small businesses and startups by providing end-to-end digital solutions of their corporate problems. It also offers centralised tech systems to fintech and martech industries.

“Saphyte’s basic features are easy to use. Saphyte’s lead and client management tools let users gather relevant information about their leads. With the system’s campaign management and email marketing features, businesses are guaranteed to have increased chances of sales conversion,” Homadi said.

He said CRM is a game-changing concept in today’s competitive and tech-driven corporate world as no business can thrive without an advanced CRM software such as Saphyte. He said Saphyte is competitive to other softwares marketed by Western and US companies such as Salesforce, Zoho, Hubspot, Pipedrive and Microsoft, among others.

 

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Google – one of the world’s most popular Internet search engines – has launched four new country-specific domains – one of which is the ‘ae’ domain of the UAE. The three others include Singapore, Greece and Finland.

When a UAE-based surfer clicks for Google, its advanced software recognises the origin of the request as coming from the UAE. It instantly produces its ‘ae’ webpage which is in Arabic.

To access the English language page, a Net surfer needs to click on the ‘Google in English’ option or go to the master Web site of Google.com.

“We are delighted to announce that as part of Google’s ongoing effort to make its search services available to people throughout the world, the company launched four new country-specific domains including: Finland, Greece, Singapore and the UAE.

“These new sites offer a localised interface and enable users to restrict searches to pages from their respective countries,” said Debbie Frost, Google spokesperson.

 

Read more at: Gulf News

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Technology is enabling new Ramadan traditions beyond breaking the fast with friends and family on Zoom, with many UAE organisations offering programmes to deepen religious knowledge and faith during an unprecedented time.

Some 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide are observing the holy month amid strict social distancing restrictions to tackle the Covid-19 crisis.

Almir Smajlovic, a volunteer khateeb, the reader of the sermon, and a speaker on religious issues in Dubai, said Muslims around the world turn to learning about their faith during Ramadan.

He said technology has enabled people to continue their journey of learning about their faith, even as the coronavirus pandemic has meant in-person lectures or prayers are not possible this month.

“There are so many reminders for people through webinars, lectures or online sessions. There are things geared towards people of all ages,” said Mr Smajlovic

During these testing times, the tradition of reflection and knowledge sharing continues, thanks to digital and emerging technologies

Saeed Al Gergawi, Dubai Future Academy

He advised people to research, listen to question and answer sessions, and increase their knowledge.

Dubai Future Academy, an initiative of the Dubai Future Foundation, has moved online for its Ramadan Pioneer Series, now in its third year, under the title ‘Life after the coronavirus (Covid-19)’. The interactive series is convening futurists and experts to test and share their ideas on how to tackle the pandemic, while allowing the public to interact with pioneers in the UAE and globally.

“During these testing times, the tradition of reflection and knowledge sharing continues, thanks to digital and emerging technologies – a powerful reminder of just how connected we are to one another,” Saeed Al Gergawi, head of Dubai Future Academy, said.

Speakers range from ministers and academics including Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, chief executive of Alliances for Global Sustainability, Sara Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Sciences, and Dr Shaikha Al Dhaheri, secretary general at the Environment Agency in Abu Dhabi.

 

Full Article: National.AE

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Dubai Business Women Council (DBWC) recently hosted a fireside chat with Teresa Carlson, the vice president Worldwide Public Sector, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and one of the most accomplished forwarding-thinking technology leaders in the world.

As the founder and leader of AWS Worldwide Public Sector, Carlson has helped change mindsets of both individuals and organizations around the world modernize policies at all levels of government and cultivate a 21st century global workforce equipped with the skillset necessary to leverage the full potential of cloud to drive innovation.

During the discussion, Carlson talked about how tens of thousands of government agencies, education institutions, and nonprofit organizations around the world are using AWS today to pave the way for disruptive innovation and to make the world a better place.

She underscored AWS’s committed to the Middle East and its continued investment to support the region’s digital transformation across governments, enterprises, and startups. She also commended the UAE’s efforts, particularly in the public sector, in fostering entrepreneurship and driving a culture of innovation.

Carlson noted that while the rapid pace of innovation creates expansive economic development opportunities, the shortage of the right skills put governments and businesses at risk to succeed over the long-term in the new digital economy.

She highlighted that as the Middle East looks to become digitized, governments, private enterprises, and educational and nonprofit organizations all have a role to play in bridging the skills gap in order to reap the benefits of technology. For that reason, AWS is making significant investments in education, training, and certification programs to help advance technical skills in the Middle East.

As a strong advocate for empowering women in the technology field, Carlson also outlined her belief that gender inclusion and diversity are key to driving innovation. Her passion lead to the creation of “We Power Tech,” AWS’s diversity and inclusion initiative, which has been extended to the region, providing events and free training courses to support technology skills development for women in the Middle East.

Nadine Halabi, business development manager at DBWC, said: “DBWC is thrilled to host AWS and Teresa Carlson as part of our continued commitment to providing quality training, mentoring and guidance to the council’s members.”

“Hosting such high-quality seminars with the presence of influential and successful figures in the business world is important to inspire and guide businesswomen and female entrepreneurs in the UAE.

 

Read more at: TradeArabia

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Even though Arabic language is booming and is one of the fastest-growing languages globally, it is still facing access challenges online.

In 2013, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) rolled out domain names in Arabic, Chinese, German, Russian and Cyrillic scripts.

When Russian and Chinese Top-Level Domain names have grown in leaps and bounds, Arabic domain names and country code top-level domain (ccTLD) of UAE (.emarat), Arabic equivalent of .AE domain extension, .Al Saudia for Saudia Arabia and .Misr for Egypt did not grow correspondingly and did not close the gap between the Arabic content and the Arabic user.

Top-Level Domains are letters after the final dot of a domain name like .com, .ae and .net while “.Shabaka” (in Arabic means .web) was the world’s first Arabic new Top-Level Domain (TLD).

Top industry experts said that the key reason is due to the lack of Arabic content online despite the growth in Arabic speaking population.

“The other reason is universal acceptance. Most of the e-commerce and online banking platforms accept emails in ASCII or Latin characters and does not recognise Arabic or Chinese email ID address. People go and register for domain names in Arabic but there is a limitation in how they could use the domain names because domain application of a domain name is email and if you want to use your email ID in your local language and if you are not able to do that, then it is a problem,” Baher Esmat, ICANN’s vice-president for stakeholder engagement in the Middle East, told TechRadar Middle East.

Despite great efforts from the ICANN and the domain managers in the countries to spread awareness on these domains, Munir Badr, Founder and CEO of AEServer, one of the accredited domain name registrars under the TRA for .ae, said that the general public and businesses, in general, prefer to use the common domain extensions in the English language as they are by far more popular, easy to type and use by everyone and in some cases cost less to register compared to the IDNs.

Esmat said that some Gulf Cooperation Council countries, apart from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia have a large Arabic-only speaking population and they use mostly Arabic language on their mobile phones and social media.

From an ICANN’s point of view, he said that the organisation’s role is to ensure that domain names work securely and stably.

icann

 

Internet penetration rate in Middle East

“When communities around the world ask ICANN to make domain names in different languages, ICANN has to respond to their needs. Whether the domain names are working or not is ICANN’s business or our responsibility,” Esmatsaid.

According to ICANN, the largest country-level domain names, in terms of registrations, are China and Russia.

“When we have millions of domain names in China and Russia, we have less than 1,000 TLDs in Arabic in Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries. This may change as our region is the fastest-growing region on internet usage globally,” he said.

According to Internet World Stats, the Middle East had a population of 258.37m as of April last year and out of this, 175.50m are internet users, which translates to 4% of the total internet users globally.

The internet penetration rate in the Middle East stands at 67.2%, higher than the rest of the world at 56.5% and higher than the global average of 56.8%.

According to Ethnologue, Arabic is the fifth most spoken language in the world in 2019 with 319m after Chinese, Spanish, English and Hindi.

Badr said the low usage is mainly due to lack of interest from the registrants.

“If we look at Dubai in general, the language of business is English and with a high ex-pat population, many of the business decision-makers are well aware of the domains and had prior experience by using a generic domain name such as .com or .net or country-level domains (ccTLD) so they will opt for a .ae name and a .com name as a bundle and both in Roman script,” he said.

On the other hand, he said that .ae is one of the best performing domains in the Mena region with over 230,000 domain names registered and is extremely popular within the UAE and it is also cost-effective and easy to register.

However, he said that there is lack of awareness and no big or well-known brands or government agencies are using such domains.

 

Read more on Tech Radar.

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The use of new technologies has largely contributed to enhancing Abu Dhabi’s security and hence the city has been ranked the safest in the world, an official with the Abu Dhabi Police has said.

Captain Ali Hassan Al Madfaei, division manager, Abu Dhabi Police Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) administration, said year on year, Abu Dhabi security has been boosted by the introduction of new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), cameras, sensors, drones and smart traffic systems to detect and control crimes and to improve safety on the roads.

Last month, Abu Dhabi was named the safest city in the world for the fourth year in a row. Abu Dhabi was ranked first in the list brought out by crowd-sourced global data website Numbeo. It topped the list ahead of 376 cities from around the world.

“From road systems developed to monitor traffic to systems that combat cybercrimes – these technological initiatives have made Abu Dhabi the safest city in the world,” Al Madfaei told Khaleej Times on the sidelines of the Ministry of Interior (MoI) Innovation and Police Technology Summit in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

“The Abu Dhabi Police have introduced cutting edge technologies and the latest development in robotics and AI in all areas of operations. The force uses monitoring and control devices in public and private facilities to prevent crime and maintain public security in the emirate.”

Read more at Khaleej Times

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