Internet Domain Name Law

Domain Name Laws pertain to the rights and obligations associated with a website's domain name (also known as a web address or “URL”). As the world becomes increasingly connected to the Internet, these rights and obligations become increasingly central to the operations of many businesses and individuals. For example, one can infringe on someone else's protected copyright, trademark, or other intellectual property with a domain name.

It is no longer sufficient to simply determine that a web address is available and register it. There can be serious consequences attached to the domain name selected. Indeed, it is increasingly possible to select names that directly impugn the reputation of another company, or to accidentally tread on someone else's trademark by mistake. And, given the global reach of the Internet, one could violate a regional company's intellectual property rights without having ever heard of the property holder in the first place.

Not only is it wise to hire a service to verify that your selected domain name is available, but to ensure that it will not violate anyone else's interests. An attorney with experience in internet law and intellectual property would also likely be a good idea.

For more information about domain name laws, visit the resources below or contact one of the attorneys on our Law Firms page.


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Articles on Related to Domain Names Law

  • Intellectual Property Expert Witness Describes Domain Name Trademark Infringement
    Infringement in intellectual property occurs with frequency depending on how interesting or attractive the domain name is and how well it may appeal to the online audience. Experts in this field may have the knowledge and experience to explain to the judge or jury panel how the infringement affects the owner and his or her ecommerce business.
  • Should You Register Your Trademarks? Benefits Registered Trademark Owners Receive When Protecting Their Brands
    A trademark is a word, symbol, phrase—or almost anything—that represents your company to potential customers. It may be the first thing that a potential customer or client sees when they interact with your business and will likely be the go-to thing that a potential customer or client thinks about when they think of your business. This means that trademark protection is essential for the long-term health of a business.
  • When a Startup’s Name Leads to Litigation
    Many that start new businesses may not be aware that there are several steps necessary to complete before a company’s name may become public. It is important to register and, in many instances, trademark the name or logo so that it may only be legally used by that one organization.
  • Registering and Defending Your IP
    Intellectual property most often needs both the standard and extra protection from theft, reproduction or those that would build upon the previous work. This is for multiple types of these works to include what a trademark safeguards. Defending the intellectual property from possible violations generally takes registration, a good lawyer and ensuring the information is used properly.
  • Protecting Your Website from Liability
    Websites fall prey to liability just as businesses and company owners do through various acts, terms, users and injuries. There are many website creators that are sued based on the content and lack of content within the pages.
  • Blocking a Competitor from Using a Similar Name
    The name of a company is often one of the most important aspects of building a brand, a business and something to remember. The best organizations are known throughout the decades while smaller and minor companies are forgotten in a few short years.
  • Do You Need to Register Your Business Name?
    When starting a business, the name is often one of the most important aspects to consider. This could become the brand of the company, and it is what customers and clients remember when they leave the building or employees after purchasing a product or service. This means that choosing the name is typically a painstaking process that takes time.
  • Difference in Domain Names, Trademarks and Business Entity Names
    When dealing with a company, creating a business or starting a venture that may accrue revenue, it is important to know what a domain name, trademark and entity name are and how they may be used.
  • Remedies for Cybersquatting
    Have you ever noticed that when a person or business name becomes popular or well-known, there’s often an unrelated third party prepared to park or register website domains in the name of that person or business? In many such cases, the third party’s objective involves making an easy profit by holding the domains “hostage” until the rightful owner of the name or mark is willing to pay a premium for the domains. This is called cybersquatting and it is illegal.
  • Legal Concerns When Registering Domain Names
    As the world becomes increasingly connected to the Internet, concerns from the real world are spilling over into the Web. For example, what are the legal concerns when registering a domain name? Can one violate a trademark or copyright with a domain name? If so, what kinds of remedies and protections exist?
  • All Intellectual Property Law Articles

    Articles written by attorneys and experts worldwide discussing legal aspects related to Intellectual Property including: copyright, domain names, licensing law, patents, trade secrets and trademark.

Domain Names Law - US

  • Bylaws for Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers

    The mission of The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”) is to coordinate, at the overall level, the global Internet's systems of unique identifiers, and in particular to ensure the stable and secure operation of the Internet's unique identifier systems. In particular, ICANN: 1. Coordinates the allocation and assignment of the three sets of unique identifiers for the Internet, which are a. Domain names (forming a system referred to as “DNS”); b. Internet protocol (“IP”) addresses and autonomous system (“AS”) numbers; and c. Protocol port and parameter numbers. 2. Coordinates the operation and evolution of the DNS root name server system. 3. Coordinates policy development reasonably and appropriately related to these technical functions.

  • DNS Security Extensions Securing the Domain Name System

    DNSSEC was designed to protect the Internet from certain attacks, such as DNS cache poisoning [0]. It is a set of extensions to DNS, which provide: a) origin authentication of DNS data, b) data integrity, and c) authenticated denial of existence.

  • Domain Name Policy Models - Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO)

    The Country Code Names Supporting Organisation (ccNSO) is a policy development body created for and by ccTLD managers for handling global country-code top level domain (ccTLD) issues within the ICANN structure. Since its setup in 2003, the ccNSO has provided a worldwide forum for ccTLD managers to meet and discuss topical issues around activities concerning ccTLDs. It is also a medium to nurture consensus, technical cooperation and skill building among ccTLDs and facilitates the development of voluntary best practices for ccTLD managers.

  • Domain Names - Wikipedia

    A domain name is an identification label that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority, or control on the Internet, based on the Domain Name System (DNS). Domain names are used in various networking contexts and application-specific naming and addressing purposes. They are organized in subordinate levels (subdomains) of the DNS root domain, which is nameless. The registration of these domain names is usually administered by domain name registrars who sell their services to the public.

  • FTC - Domain Name Registration Scams

    What's in a name? Plenty, if you want to register a website. A new scam is targeting would-be website owners by offering the opportunity to pre-register new top level domain names. Domain names, such as "," are the unique terms that enable Internet users to locate a specific website. The top level domain is the final extension, such as ".com" or ".org." According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation's consumer protection agency, scam artists are taking advantage of the news that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has made new top level domains available to the public.

  • ICANN -Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policies

    The following policies apply to various types of disputes between registrants and third parties over the registration and use of domain names. Disputes under these policies may be filed with one of the approved dispute-resolution service providers for the given policy. The Uniform Domain-Name Dispute Resolution Policy (below) is applicable across all gTLDs. Additional dispute resolution policies may apply to specific circumstances only in individual TLDs.

  • Truth in Domain Names Act of 2003

    As a part of the massive 2003 PROTECT Act (Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to end the Exploitation of Children Today Act), which included the AMBER Alert legislation, Congress passed the Truth in Domain Names Act. The Truth in Domain Names Act is an attempt to thwart the use of deceitful domain names for the purpose of attracting surfers to pornographic websites.

  • United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)

    The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is the Federal agency for granting U.S. patents and registering trademarks. In doing this, the USPTO fulfills the mandate of Article I, Section 8, Clause 8, of the Constitution that the Executive branch "promote the progress of science and the useful arts by securing for limited times to inventors the exclusive right to their respective discoveries." The USPTO registers trademarks based on the Commerce Clause of the Constitution (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3). Under this system of protection, American industry has flourished.

Organizations Related to Domain Names Law

  • American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN)

    ARIN provides services related to the technical coordination and management of Internet number resources. The nature of these services is described in ARIN's mission statement: Applying the principles of stewardship, ARIN, a nonprofit corporation, allocates Internet Protocol resources; develops consensus-based policies; and facilitates the advancement of the Internet through information and educational outreach. These services are grouped in three areas: Registration, Organization, and Policy Development.

  • Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)

    ICANN was formed in 1998. It is a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with participants from all over the world dedicated to keeping the Internet secure, stable and interoperable. It promotes competition and develops policy on the Internet’s unique identifiers. ICANN doesn’t control content on the Internet. It cannot stop spam and it doesn't deal with access to the Internet. But through its coordination role of the Internet's naming system, it does have an important impact on the expansion and evolution of the Internet.

  • InterNIC - Public Information Regarding Internet Domain Name Registration Services

    The new site provides the public with information regarding domain name registration and a directory of domain name registrars accredited by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) that are currently taking registrations in the .com, .net and .org domains.

  • Management of Internet Names and Addresses - National Telecommunications and Information Administration

    This document, concerning the management of the Internet Domain Name System, is a statement of policy. Though it is not intended or expected, should any discrepancy occur between the document here and that published in the Federal Register, the Federal Register publication controls. The paper is being made available through the Internet solely as a means to facilitate the public's access to this document.

  • Neustar - United States Domain Name Registry

    The .US top-level domain (usTLD) was established in 1985 as the official country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for the United States. It is administered by Neustar. The expanded second-level .US domain launched on April 24, 2002, enabling companies, nonprofits, government entities and individuals to establish unique, memorable American addresses online.

  • Safe Selling Organization - Obtaining And Protecting Domain Names is a companion to, an earlier project of the Cyberspace Law Committee of the American Bar Association’s Section of Business Law, which answers questions for consumers about shopping on the web.

Publications Related to Domain Names Law

  • DNS: Fed Activity / NTIA

    NSF was responsible for registration of nonmilitary domain names, and in 1992 put out a solicitation for managing network services, including domain name registration. In 1993, NSF signed a five-year cooperative agreement with a consortium of companies called InterNic. Under this agreement, Network Solutions Inc. (NSI), a Herndon, Virginia engineering and management consulting firm, became the sole Internet domain name registration service for registering the .com, .net., and .org. gTLDs.

  • Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure (TMEP)

    The Manual is published to provide trademark examining attorneys in the USPTO, trademark applicants, and attorneys and representatives for trademark applicants with a reference work on the practices and procedures relative to prosecution of applications to register marks in the USPTO. The Manual contains guidelines for Examining Attorneys and materials in the nature of information and interpretation, and outlines the procedures which Examining Attorneys are required or authorized to follow in the examination of trademark applications.

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