Domain names

The domain name is the understandable address of a web page. Computers communicate with each other via IP-addresses (e.g. 195.22.138.102), similar to a telephone number. By linking an IP address to a domain name, you ensure that your website is easily found.

A domain name you can use:

  • as the location of a website
  • as part of a personalized email address.

Both individuals and companies may register a domain name. To register a domain name, you need to contact a registered agent:

  • The national domain names (‘.be’, ‘.fr’, ‘.nl’, …) are managed by national organizations, which in turn are recognized by Icann.
    In Belgium, the management of ‘.be’ domain names is in the hands of the asbl DNS.be.
  • The generic domain names (‘.com’, ‘.org’, ‘.net’, ….) are managed by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann).
  • The domain name ‘.eu’ is managed by EURid.

The terms and conditions, procedure and price vary from organization to organization and therefore from agent to agent. The registration of a domain name must also meet certain technical and legal conditions. deJuristen can help you register your domain name.

Each domain name is unique. Usually a domain name is assigned based on the principle ‘first come, first served’. Whoever submits an application the quickest, will thus acquire the domain name. What if your wanted domain name is already in the hands of someone else?

In good faith

This refers to the situation where a person registers a domain name without the intention of harming the rights of third parties to the same name, for example, because that person owns a right to the name in question.

Here, the principle of ‘first come, first served‘ continues to apply. Whoever is the first to register a disputed domain name in good faith, will therefore be allowed to keep it.

However, it is conceivable that the holder of the domain name and the person who can assert rights to the name in question will make agreements among themselves in order to limit the damage for the latter. deJuristen can help to steer these negotiations and agreements in the right direction.

 

In bad faith

The illegal registration of a domain name, registration in bad faith, is called ‘cybersquatting‘. Specifically, cybersquatting is the registration of a domain name that is identical or similar to a trademark, trade name, surname or any other name that belongs to someone else, without having a legitimate right or interest in that name and with the aim of causing damage to a third party or taking unfair advantage of it.

For example, offering a domain name for sale for large sums of money to the holder of a trademark or trade name or to a competitor of theirs; the attempt to lure Internet users to their own website for profit; registering a domain name with the purpose of disrupting the trade of a competitor …

In Belgium, there are two ways to get back a domain name registered by someone else. The first way is through an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) procedure. The second way is through the Belgian courts. The Act of 26 June 2003 on the unlawful registration of domain names introduced a specific action for injunctions.

In particular, deJuristen can help to steer negotiations in the right direction and advise on a possible procedure.

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