What's in a domain name?


Subject: What's in a domain name?
From: Emanuella Giavarra (ecup.secr@dial.pipex.com)
Date: ma 26 elo    1996 - 15:59:23 EEST


Dear ecup-list members,

A series of battles has erupted over rights to use Internet domain
names. The most recent one I came accross, is the fight of Harrods
over its name on the Internet which started on 23 August 1996.
Primarily, these disputes involve trademark owners who believe that
their trade names are being improperly used by third parties as
domain names.

Initially, organisations gave little thoughts to domain names. All this
has changed with the use of the WWW as an advertising media and
market place. In the US the first step to aquire a right to use a
domain name is to contact Network Solutions, The US
subcontractor responsible for assigning domain names in North
America. Network Solutions assigns domain names on a first-come,
first-served basis. Thus, persons who aquire a domain name from
Network Solutions can still be sued for using that domain name by
another party who believes that the domain name violates its trade-
mark or other rights.

An international registration would seem more appropriate for the
borderless WWW. In the Financial Times, I came accross the
International Internet Name Registration organisation "Net Names"
(netnames@netnames.co.uk). Is anyone familiar with this
organisation? Is it an official organisation? I tried to get in contact
with them by phone, but I was unsuccessful. I got a message service
to leave my name and number. They did not come back to me yet.
If it's not an official organisation, does anybody know if there are
plans to set one up in the near future?

At the moment the judgements in most of the infringment cases
seems in favour of the trademark owners. Do you think it is possible
for libraries to make a claim over the use by others of the words
"public library" or even the word "library" in connection to an
institution or a city in a domain name?

Best wishes,
Emanuella Giavarra
Moderator



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