Re: [DNS] Domain Names & Trade Marks

Re: [DNS] Domain Names & Trade Marks

From: Don Cameron <donc§>
Date: Tue, 6 Nov 2001 18:12:00 +1100
Hello Adrian and all,

Your recent posting, along with others to the auDA list (and at least one
other Australian DNS related forum) have raised several issues that really
should be the subject of considered analysis, and I believe this is one of
the purposes of this forum - to discuss issues in an open and fair manner so
we can (at least try to) realise a solution offering fairness to all the
parties involved.

Your points about registered business names are of course highly valid, and
in the world of business identities, such claims certainly should be
iron-clad. However I think the issue here is perhaps one of naming
conventions in a world that is not solely the domain of business.

I.e. You are of course entitled under law to name and title your business
web-site under your registered business name, and would have justifiable
recourse against any business promoting themselves (on a web site) under
your registered name. But does this legal right also entitle you to register
your business name as a Domain Name? (a domain is not a web, although a web
may, or may not be located under a registered domain name).

A Google search of 'Logistics' lists Australian entities such as 'The
Logistics Association of Australia', along with quite a number of local
logistics-related businesses. Clearly this is a generic word so the question
posed is this: Should any single business achieve a business advantage by
having this word as a registered domain?

I am presuming those in favour would argue the 'first in best dressed' rule
should apply, and that whoever was successful in first registering this word
as an Australian business name, should ipso-facto have automatic rights to
an identical Domain Name.

I am also presuming that those against this practice, would argue it is
simply impossible for every business to register every aspect of their
business as a unique Domain Name - that some words must be regarded as
generic and remain free for all to use in the spirit of competitive

Both perspectives are valid, however the issue remains - Does the
registration of a generic word in a business name automatically entitle the
owner to an identical Australian Domain Name?

Some legal precedence seems to suggest this might be the case. But of course
this also potentially becomes the road to ruination of the entire Internet
naming system... because a business proprietor could simply register
whatever generic word they liked as a business name, and claim the
reciprocal Domain Name as 'theirs', irrespective of any other claims that
may exist (such as those that may be expected from a company like TNT (for
example), who have worked in the field of logistics for decades, however who
have not seen the need to register the word as a business name - and really,
why should they just to secure the use of a generic word on the Internet?)

In my view it is a misconception to construe automatic rights of ownership
to a domain name, simply because it happens to reflect a generic word used
in a registered business name (of course this does not apply to non-generic
words such as QANTAS, Telstra or even auDA which are obviously unique to the
companies/organisations concerned).


Regards, Don Cameron

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Received on Tue Nov 06 2001 - 07:21:03 UTC

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