Legal Updates

Internet Law – E-Commerce – Domain Names – ICAAN

 

In June 2008, the board of directors of the body responsible for worldwide web names, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICAAN”) voted in favour of allowing registration of any domain name. This means that internet address names would not be limited to the usual endings, such as, “.com” or “.net”.

The likely result of this change is that large corporations will seek to register their brands as domain names – just another means of cementing their organisations as leaders within their respective industries. The likes of “.microsoft” and “.ibm” are sure to emerge.

Points to Note

Application Fee & Onerous Burden

Even though ICAAN’s decision will potentially present vast opportunities, applicants should note they are required to demonstrate a connection with the proposed new domain and pay an application fee of $185,000.00. This obliges applicants to show at the outset they are able to operate the domain in a technically reliable way. In addition to this (and the obvious financial restriction), the outcome of registration may prove itself to be very onerous as the applicant would become a domain name registrar. As such, the registrar will be obliged to define measures for protecting third parties’ rights when setting up second-level domains. This would particularly be the case if the domain name is heavily subscribed.

Trade Mark Owners

There is no system in place to allow reservation of a domain name based on a trade mark right in that name. Nor will trade mark rights be considered in the registration of new domain names. It is not until the evaluation process that trade mark owners may object to registration of a particular new domain name. This will instigate a dispute resolution procedure which will be conducted independently by the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center. The details of this are yet to be finalised.

Practical

If you would like to acquire a new domain name, we would suggest carrying out a due diligence in respect of your operations, addressing in particular, your ability to meet the technical and financial requirements. The first round of applications will take place from 12 January to 12 April 2012.

How can we help?

RT Coopers are specialists in internet law. The firm regularly conducts formal reviews and due diligence in respect of businesses’ operations and would thus be able to assist with the above. In addition, we can handle the entire application and registration process on your behalf. 

We may be contacted on 020 7488 9947 or by e-mail: enquiries@rtcooperssolicitors.com

Visit http://www.rtcoopers.com/practice_it.php http://www.rtcoopers.com/practice_corporatecommercial.php for information on Internet law and commercial law.

© RT COOPERS, 2011. This Briefing Note does not provide a comprehensive or complete statement of the law relating to the issues discussed nor does it constitute legal advice. It is intended only to highlight general issues. Specialist legal advice should always be sought in relation to particular circumstances.

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