Dan's Domain Site | Conflicts | Pre-ICANN

Dan's Domain Site

Conflicts: Pre-ICANN

After a few actual and threatened lawsuits over alleged trademark infringement by domain names, in which (former monopoly domain registrar) Network Solutions got threatened with being dragged into the cases, the domain registration policy was modified from a strictly first-come-first-served system to one where a domain registration could be put on hold if another company showed it owned the rights to a trademark on the same name.

Some thought this policy was discriminatory against the "little guys" who might not have an official trademark to a name, but should still have the legal right to use it in contexts that don't infringe on the trademark holder. In fact, the policy did seem to be weighted heavily against the current users of a domain name that's come under challenge, and in favor of a corporate challenger with any sort of trademark claim (however tenuous), since the current domain holder was compelled to show a trademark registration of its own to the name, or else the domain would be put on hold so nobody could use it. In a later (9 Aug 1996) revision of the policy, things were made not quite so weighted against domain name holders, as a challenged domain holder no longer needed to sign an indemnity agreement or post bond, as they were formerly required (a requirement never imposed on the party challenging the domain). The new policy, however, still didn't recognize any defense of continued domain name use other than a trademark registration; common law usage rights were not good enough. They did pledge not to suspend a domain when it was the subject of ongoing litigation in court, unless the court so ordered.

The controversial Network Solutions domain dispute policy was replaced on January 1, 2000 with a controversial ICANN domain dispute policy, which I have a lot more to say about in my other pages.


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This page was first created 14 Mar 2001, and was last modified 04 Jun 2006.
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