Advice on domain law.
The choice of the right domain is decisive for the success of your business in the online world. If a third party has registered your sign as a domain they might infringe your right to a name or your trademark rights. Or the registration of the domain is “domain grabbing” and thus an act of unfair competition according to the German Unfair Competition Act (UWG).
In such cases we act immediately. By filing a dispute entry with the domain registration authority DENIC eG we secure your right to the domain. Thus we prevent its unauthorised transfer to third parties.
We represent your interests both in out-of-court domain disputes and in special ICANN dispute resolution proceedings (UDRP) for example at the WIPO. In court proceedings we take legal action to enforce your claims to the deletion of the domain or if applicable to the transfer of a domain. We know what is important before the special divisions in German courts. We know the judges, conciliators and arbitrators and know how they have decided in similar cases.
Domain law – 6 tips from a lawyer
First of all, the question: What is domain law actually?
“Domain law” is – contrary to a certain expectation arising from the meaning of the word – not mainly a right to defend the registration of a domain.
It is essentially the right to remove a domain or certain website content.
There is no “domain law”. It is important to know various legal sources and bases for claims, for example from the Civil Code or the Trademark Act.
1. What is important for enforcing the law?
These factors are important in domain law enforcement:
- Knowing the decisions made by the courts.
- Knowing the decisions made in alternative dispute resolution procedures.
- To understand the technical procedures.
- To take into account the characteristics of the domain registries.
- To know who the domain holder is in the first place and how this information can be obtained.
2. Focus on domain law
At Greyhills® we have been dealing with domain law on an ongoing basis for over 20 years.
The focus is on enforcing our clients’ rights against domain owners who have registered identical or similar domains – often with the intention or even the vague hope of making a good deal or using the domain as an investment property, similar to real estate.
But we can also do otherwise: Domain law at Greyhills® also becomes important when domain owners receive unjustified warnings. Domains can have a very high economic value, so-called “reverse domain hijacking”. We defend your domain against unauthorised attacks.
3. Domain law – 6 tips:
I. Trademark and domain belong together
When we register your trademark, immediately check whether you already have the corresponding domains and social media account names.
So when setting up, plan from a single source: brand – company – domain. Register domains as early as possible!
II. Research before registration
How can infringements be avoided? We do the research for you and work out the strategy with you even before the trade mark application.
III. Never let an agency or a third party (e.g. a sales partner) register a domain in your own name.
Domain registrations and domain portfolio management are “boss business” and should be taken just as seriously as trademark portfolio management.
Domain registration should be in your name only.
Distribution partners can be granted the right to use it. You continue to have full control over the domain and the website content connected to it.
If the distribution contract ends, you do not have to chase after the domain.
IV. Register typos and hyphenated domains
Register your brand name, even in a slightly different spelling and with a hyphen, before someone else does.
The annual costs for this are cheaper than a dispute with a domain grabber. We know all the tricks and twists in domain law, but a professional domain grabber sometimes does too.
V. Registering domains with other TopLevels
Which market is your business model aimed at? Are you only active in Germany or also in Austria and Switzerland? Do you sell in the EU or also in the UK, Norway and the Balkans? Or do you have customers all over the world?
In addition to .de, you should also register under .com or .at.
VI. Use our watching service even after registration.
We monitor for you and contact you if we find identical or similar domain names – just as we do with trademarks. This is the only way we can intervene for you immediately.
We help you with domain law and are committed to enforcing your rights!
Photo credits: Mohamed M | Unsplash