Update on DN Registration


Henry Huang

This snippet comes to you courtesy the Computer Law Report, Aug. 1995.



--- Forwarded mail from •••@••.•••

2 -New domain name registration rules

Network Solutions, Inc. is a private corporation that receives funding from
the National Science Foundation for managing the Internic (Internet Network
Information Center) Registration Services. Internic is the registry for all
Internet domain names.

Until recently, the registration policy for domain names was simple - first
come, first served. This policy worked fine until recently when the presence
of commercial forces (i.e., addresses ending with ".com") exploded. For
example, in the past year .com registrations have increased from 18,000 to

The result has been an increase in the number of disputes between those with
registered names and those holding trademarks to the registered names. In
some instances, get-rich-quick types rushed and registered domain names that
they hoped would be purchased from them by the trademark holder. In other
cases, disputes arose because of honest disagreements as to the rights to
registered names. Some examples of domain names registered not by the "known"
trademark holder include: mcdonalds.com, ford.com, coke.com and mtv.com.

A recent suit illustrates how Network Solutions could be caught in the
middle. Frenchy Frys, a catering company in Seattle, Washington, registered
the domain name "frys.com." Fry's Electronics, a large retail electronics
chain that wants to register the same name, has sued Frenchy Frys as well as
Network Solutions and the Internet service provider, Octave Systems, which
originally requested the name for Frenchy Frys.

Given the volume of commercial registrations, Network Solutions cannot
pre-check that all such registrations do not infringe any trademark.
Accordingly, Network Solutions has instituted a new policy to reduce its
exposure to lawsuits. The new policy requires that applicants state that they
have a legal right to the name they seek to register. Additionally,
applicants must indemnify all persons involved in the registration process if
a dispute arises. This means that the applicant will have to pay all damages,
legal fees and other expenses that Network Solutions, or others covered by
the indemnification incur as a result of a dispute. 

Under the old policy, where a dispute arose, the registrant kept the name
until the dispute was resolved. However, under the new policy, if the
registrant does not have a trademark registration for the name, then use of
the name is immediately suspended. It should be noted, however, that to
register a domain name, an applicant does not need to have a registered

The bottom line is that before applying for a domain name, a search should be
performed to make sure that it does not infringe a registered trademark.


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