Domain Pulse 2015: Brand Owners Happy With DENIC Procedures

Domain Pulse conference logoThe lawyers of brand ownersand other registrants expressed their satisfaction with DENIC’s rules and procedures in a panel discussion at the Domain Pulse conference in Berlin last Friday. But lawyers being lawyers, they’re never totally happy!

Disputes over .de domains run at about 4,500 per year, but this is relatively small given that there are 15.8 million domains registered in the ccTLD and 1.5 million new domains registered each year.

The lawyers quibbled about issues such as faster granting of so-called Dispute entries, DENIC’s surrogate for an ADR procedure or the introduction of a rapid suspension system when there was a manifest violation of the law. DENIC’s general counsel Stephan Welzel stated that DENIC is not going to offer anything which would involve DENIC in judging whether a domain name or the content of a website constitutes an infringement or breach of the law.

With respect to the Dispute entry, Welzel said that for no cost, complainants received good value and emphasised that the processing of an application for a Dispute entry usually takes no more than 24 hours.

Lawyers on the panel also expressed a desire for changes to the way in which DENIC deals with disputes over trademarks such as a domain that includes a trademark as part of the domain string to be deleted. However Welzel said that the German courts have ruled that DENIC is obliged to step in only if the domain is identical to a ‘famous’ trademark. In such cases DENIC cancels the contract first and then deletes the domain.

There was also discussion about a dispute over the domain aserbaidschan.de. In this case DENIC deleted the domain because it was believed this was a case where the registry had to step in following judgments of the German Supreme Court regarding DENIC’s liability.

The registrant involved went to court, and eventually lost in three different panels of two courts who dealt with the case. But each held three different views on whether DENIC really had to or even was allowed to step in here. This the panel agreed was good proof that it might not be the best idea to put the burden of deciding which domain names to delete on DENIC – and in any case it shows that the criteria have to be crystal clear so that there is no debate on whether DENIC acted correctly after the fact.

All presentations but not panel discussions are now available in German only at the Domain Pulse conference website – www.domainpulse.de/en/programme