Domain name law

As an element of internet law, domain name law is the legal science and legal practice having to do with domain names. A domain name is a name in the Domain Name System (DNS), the naming system in the internet with which networks, computers, webservers, mailservers and other applications are identified. This legal (sub-) field is not codified, i.e. laid down in laws, but is governed by jurisprudence. However, the term "domain name" does occur in law, namely in article 3:15 e (3) BW (Netherlands Civil Code), which explains what commercial communication means. In domain name law, cases almost always involve issues where the domain name holder alleges infringement on rights of third parties, brand name and trade name holders, famous people (janpieterbalkenende.nl) and instances (ministers.nl). Questions of domain name grabbing also arise, even if to a lesser extent, because domain name grabbers are meanwhile able to assess their legal position.

Other topics of domain name law are disputes with registries (such as SIDN and EURid), the status under property law of domain names and their financial valuation, and advertising with domain names. The big players do not always win. So a car dealer can continue using fordoccassion.nl because that name does not state explicitly that a commercial tie exists with carmaker Ford. The court allowed the domain name principle of "first come, first served" to apply, which left Ford fishing the ball out of the net.