Practice owners and other healthcare provider organizations that hold registered trademarks can begin reserving Internet domain names ending in the ".pro" extension to designate themselves as licensed professionals and have built-in access to secure e-mail communication.
To be eligible for a .pro name, an individual or organization must self-certify professional status.
At this time, only members of the medical, legal and accounting professions licensed in the United States will be eligible to register for .pro domains.
Until early July, trademark holders have the exclusive opportunity during a "sunrise" period for so-called "defensive registrations."
These registrations secure the rights to use their brand names with a .pro suffix before other professionals can claim .pro domain names, according to RegistryPro, Atlanta, the company that manages the .pro top-level domain.
During the early sign-up, registrants must have a nationally registered trademark issued before Sept. 30, 2002, according to RegistryPro.