Anyone can register an internet domain name as it is a first come first serve basis so long as minimum requirements are met. However, there are no proprietary rights in a domain name. The registrant of a domain name merely holds a license to use the domain name. So use of a trade mark in a domain name may infringe rights of the owner of the registered trade mark or breach the owner’s common law rights and consumer protection legislation. Common disputes also occur when a person registers for example the .com.au domain name and someone else registers the .com top level domain name (or vice versa) without any legitimate rights.
Domain name disputes are generally resolved through the Australian Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (auDRP) or the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). In Australia, once a complaint is lodged with .au Domain Administration Ltd (auDA) the domain registrant is given an opportunity to respond to the complaint, followed by the complaint being determined by an independent Panel (which consists of a single or three member). Panel decisions are binding on both parties unless an unsatisfied party initiates legal proceedings against the other party in a court and is successful.
Our lawyers are experienced in successfully prosecuting or defending domain name disputes. We also handle disputes involving the enforcement of trade mark rights against owners of conflicting domain names.
For more information, call us today on (02) 9233 1411 or send us an online enquiry.