Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Approach "new" domain extensions with caution

As domain names become more popular it is inevitable that the new Top Level Domains (TLDs) will be launched to cater for the growing demand.

Two relatively new extensions are .eu, .asia and .me. Each of these TLDs has a purpose, the first two give a presence to a large geographical area covering a few countries while the third is the country code TLD for Montenegro. These TLDs were established after consultation with the relevant governing bodies and are considered to be legitimately established.

Notwithstanding the various sunrise periods, most domain names are registered on a “first come, first served basis” so if you are second, you have lost out.

Well, not really. Savvy entrepreneurs have created new extensions that appear to be affiliated with a legitimate TLD but are in fact sub-domains. The first company to do this on a global scale was Centralnic. Through their service it is possible to register a domain name under extensions such as uk.net or uk.com.

At first glance it would appear uk.com is probably endorsed by Nominet the governing body of the .uk TLD. This is not the case, it is just a two letter domain name registered under the .com TLD. If you visit the .com whois database you will see uk.com is registered to Centralnic Ltd.

This form of domain name has now been expanded upon by EuroDNS, who has begun to offer domain names such as com.org.lv, com.co.ee and com.asia.com. In a few months time co.nl will be launched.

The co.nl domain name is registered in the name of S Scholten.

On its website it states “CO.NL is registered as a domain name but the CO.NL Operator does not have any affiliation with the SIDN Registry.” It is clear that this domain name is not sanctioned by the .nl registry – SIDN.

This domain name will be used as an alternative to the .nl TLD. If you cannot secure your domain name under .nl, there is no reason not to register a co.nl domain name but be aware that it is not an internationally sanctioned extension and that the risk exists that the domain you have registered is totally dependant on another domain name registered by a private company or an individual as is the case with co.nl.

When registering domain names you need to make sure that you are using a reputable provider and the TLD is a legitimately sanctioned extension. The sub-domains should only be considered as a last resort.

Contact us at info@lexsynergy.com if you need guidance or assistance in registering domain names or protecting your trade mark / brand online. www.lexsynergy.com

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Domain News Sites

We have seen it time and again, a domain name news service starting with the intention of reporting news in the domain name industry becoming a forum for Domaining. Rather than remaining an independent news reporting service they become a forum to communicate Auctions and how to profit from domain names. Lexsynergy has contributed articles to such a site but now feels that the ethical approach would be to withdraw as an editor.

Monday, 16 June 2008

Citroen.co.za: Driving its way back to Automobiles Citroen


Automobiles Citroen lodged an ADR complaint against Mark Garrod, through the South African Institute of Intellectual Property Law, for his registration of the domain name Citroen.co.za. Mr Garrod registered citroen.co.za on 16 March 2000.

Automobiles Citroen had registered its trade mark in South Africa in 1953 but did not conduct business in South Africa at the date of the registration of citroen.co.za.

In 2004 Mr Garrod set-up a website at citroen.co.za as a tribute to Citroen cars. The website was not used for commercial purposes and had the following statement on its home page “Welcome to www.citroen.co.za, the official website of Citroen enthusiast Mark Garrod”.

Although Mr Garrod was successful in establishing that the domain name was not an abusive registration in terms of the ADR Regulations, the Adjudicator ordered the transfer of the domain name to Automobiles Citroen.

The Adjudicator held that the problem in this case was the “conflict between the legitimacy of (the name for) a tribute site, and the rights of the Complainant in and to its trade mark”.

The Adjudicator summed up the principle in this case as follows “when the mark of another is appropriated, it must be in a manner that cannot leave scope for doubt but that it is wholly descriptive and truthful. When that happens, jurisprudence deems the use acceptable, otherwise not. In the Adjudicator’s view, <www.citroen.co.za> does not meet this test”

The Adjudicator stated that “prima facie, a trade mark owner – at least, particularly a registered trade mark owner – ought to be able to register a domain name comprising his trade mark, and nothing but his trade mark. In the modern world of e-commerce, this is de rigeur. Why should a trade mark proprietor be held to ransom (metaphorically speaking) because he was not quick enough?”

The Adjudicator also mentioned that a trade mark owner should not be held to ransom where it has failed to secure its trade mark as a domain name, however this is a reality as most gTLDs and ccTLDs operate a “first come, first served” registration policy. The only solution is to make sure that your trade marks are secured as domain names at the first available opportunity.

Contact Lexsynergy (info@lexsynergy.com) for advice and assistance in securing your valuable trade mark as a domain name worldwide.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Welcome to the Lexsynergy blog

Lexsynergy is a specialist domain name management company that provides domain name services to trade mark owners and IP law firms.

We regard domain names as a crucial element of intellectual property that require continuous maintenance and management in order to ensure trade mark and brand protection on the internet.

This blog is intended to introduce its readers to our services (http://www.lexsynergy.com/) as well as to provide information on domain name issues affecting trade mark owners.

We also welcome your comments.

Regards

Lexsynergy Team