(English) Highlights of the ever-changing world of domain names

samedi, 26 janvier 2013

(English) Highlights of the ever-changing world of domain names

By Audrey BAUDAILLER

As we enter into a New Year it is a good time for an overview of events in the world of domain names. Here are the highlights from 2012. • The .corp extensions: This new extension allows you to be its owner and manager of a .trademark (such as .NOKIA, .APPLE…), a .generic (.TELEPHONE, .LAPTOP…), or a .region (.AQUITAINE). The application period ran from 12 January 2012 to 29 March 2012. The overall management fee for the first year is estimated at around €200,000. This extension can open interesting new possibilities for marketing, communications, legal matters and business, especially when the extensions carry a generic or a corporate name! Companies such as Canon, Deloitte, Google, and Nokia, to name a few, have filed their applications for this type of extension. As registrations will be opened to third parties in 2013, these extensions will need to be monitored if one wishes to reserve a domain name in a desired extension. • The opening of .RE (Reunion Island), .YT (Mayotte), .WF (Wallis et Futuna), .PM (Saint-Pierre and Miquelon), and .TF (French Southern and Antarctic Lands) These new extensions can be reserved by an individual or a company within the European Union. These French extensions that were previously closed or simply inactivated are now opening up to citizens of France and Europe alike. • The opening of accented .FR extensions (including the above-mentioned French islands) Thirty new characters have been opened: ß, à, á, â, ã, ä, å, æ, ç, è, é, ê, ë, ì, í, î, ï, ñ, ò, ó, ô, õ, ö, ù, ú, û, ü, ý, ÿ, oe. Other generic extensions (such as .COM, .NET…) or country extensions (.CH, .DE, .EU…) authorize the registration of accented characters in their domain names. This is known as an Internationalized Domain Name (IDN) and applies to characters not listed in the table of the American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ACSII). IDNs enable the writing of internet addresses corresponding to the correct pronunciation of a trademark or a word without spelling errors. • The law n° 2011-302 on .FR, published on 22 March 2011 Entered into force on 1 July 2011, this law made it possible to register terms that were previously prohibited. However registration is subject to prior review. *Applicable domain names: it is now possible to apply for the registration of domain names which had previously been blocked. These were fundamental terms for which registration was either prohibited by the French Network Information Centre (AFNIC) (forbidden terms), or subject to specific conditions (reserved terms). On the one hand, these terms may be commune names. Bear in mind that there are 36,682 communes in France and that certain commune names such as rang.fr, poison.fr, barthes.fr, massais.fr, piano.fr or minerve.fr may correspond to a trademark, a patronymic name or a generic term that might be of interest to you. On the other hand, these terms may be generic names related to the internet, regulated professions, state functions, or may be of an illegal nature or considered to be contrary to public policy (for example: antisemites.fr, barbarie.fr, traite.fr, abbe.fr, aeroport.fr, multicast.fr, alcools.fr, societe.fr, academie.fr …). You can check the AFNIC website if any such name is of interest you to (See .fr listing) http://www.afnic.fr/obtenir/chartes/fondamentaux * Conditions required: the first-come-first-serve rule applies, providing the registration applicant establishes a legitimate interest and acts in good faith. That being said, these notions are usually cited in UDRP-type arbitration proceedings and the ownership of a trademark, a corporate name, a commercial or patronymic name will imperatively be taken into account. The law also lays down the principle that domain names can in certain cases be refused ̶ at registration, at the time of renewal or when they are contested by a person who has an interest in taking legal action ̶ if it is not proven that the registrant or rights-holder has established a legitimate interest and has acted in good faith. The domain names in question are those which are likely to be contrary to public policy, to intellectual property rights, or to the personality, and the rights-holder will be given the opportunity to provide justification in order to avoid a refusal of their request or loss of their domain name. • The SYRELI system: the new dispute resolution procedure Launched on 21 November 2011, this system applies to domain names created or renewed prior to 1 July 2011 with .FR and .RE extensions as well as all others managed by AFNIC as of 6 December 2011. *Advantages: the cost is lower than a UDRP complaint and the timeframe for obtaining a decision is quite short (about 2 months). *When is it used? (Article L 45-6 and L 45-2 of the French Postal and Electronic Communications Code (CPCE)): “The registration or renewal of a domain name can be refused or a domain name cancelled if the domain name: 1. is contrary to public policy or to accepted principles of morality or to the rights guaranteed by the Constitution or by statute; 2. infringes intellectual property rights or individual rights, unless the registrant establishes a legitimate interest and is acting in good faith; 3. is identical or similar to a sign of the French Republic, a regional body or a national or local institution or service, unless the registrant establishes a legitimate interest and is acting in good faith.” • .XXX: a new and rather confusing extension!! There are two priority and concurrent periods for this new extension: The first period is reserved for companies in the adult industry (sunrise A). The second period is reserved for companies not involved in the adult industry that are trademark owners (identical to the blocked domain name) (sunrise B), followed by a general opening in December 2011. The particularity for trademark owners during the priority period is the blocking of the domain name for 10 years, although this domain name cannot be used. After December 2011, trademark owners can reserve this extension, without justification if a legitimate interest is not established, according to the important rule of first-come-first-serve. • Opening of the extensions: .中国 and .中國 (equivalent of .CHINA) In keeping with Chinese culture, there are two priority and very tight periods for this new extension. The calendar is relatively short. Nevertheless, it is an important opening in view of the changes taking place in China and in the Chinese market for prominent and active companies involved in that market. On 25 October, over 3,000 trademarks had already reserved their domain names in Latin characters in the new .中国 or .CHINA extension across all sectors, according to the list published by the Chinese Register. Key points to remember: – The liberalization of reservation requirements for national extensions by the opening of accented characters and IDNs from all countries ̶ in other words, a national extension, such as that of Serbia .срб, or Russia, or recent Chinese extensions written in Chinese ideograms. – The watchwords of trademark owners faced with this wave of new extensions are: Avoid frequent cybersquatting during new extension openings and to try to be as best-positioned as possible to protect against counterfeiters.

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