Ever since the internet was created as a communication network for the US Defence Department in the 1960s its role has only expanded, in particular after the invention of worldwide web. Throughout this evolution, the domain names system has played a major role in the rise of the internet’s popularity by providing a “human friendly” method of internet navigation. Domain Name System helps users find their way around the internet. Every computer on the internet has a unique address just like a telephone number, which is a complicated string of numbers, between 0 to 255, known as IP Address. The number is divided into set of 4 by full stops and is also known as URL. For example- 18.104.22.168 (207 stands for Network, .82.250 stands for sub-networks, .251 stands for computer itself).
This address being difficult to remember, a system of Domain Names was developed known as DNS. The DNS makes using the Internet easier by allowing a familiar string of letters known as a domain name. instead of typing IP Address, the web page can be accessed by typing a domain name. it is a mnemonic device that makes addresses easier to remember. To get the best and low-cost Law course, mock test paper any law-related information can visit Law Planet.
Example- IP Address of Yahoo India is 22.214.171.124 and its domain name is yahoo.co.in.
Types of Domain Names:
- Top-Level Domain Names
- Generic TLD
- Country Code TLD
The top-level hierarchy appears after the last dot in a domain name.
- Second Level Domain Names
- For Generic TLDs: The organizations generally like to register their Trademarks as second-level domain names.
- For Country Code TLDs: Second-level domain name is provided by the registrar registering the domain names.
In India for ‘in’ Country code TLD the second level domain are .co, .firm, .res, .gov, .net, .ind .
- Third Level Domain Names
They are chosen by the organization which wants to register them. It may be a real-world Trademark.
Example- Tata.co.in where tata is a third-level domain name.
There were initially seven Generic TLDs. They are as follows-
- .com: For commercial organizations
- .edu: For educational institutions,
- .net: For organizations involved in internet operations such as internet service providers and network information centers.
- .org: For miscellaneous and non-profit organizations.
- .gov: For government entities including royal families.
- .mil: For military and defense entities.
- .int: For international organizations.
The domain names ending with .com, .net, are registered through many different companies which are accredited by ICANN.
Seven new Generic TLDs have been announced by ICANN on 16.11.2000. these are .biz, .info, .pro, .name, .museum, .coop, .aero.
ICANN is a non-profit organization that administers and is responsible for IP Address space allocation, protocol parameter assignment, domain name system management, and root server system management.
- Research Problem: Is Domain Name a Trademark?: Domain Names were created to serve the technical function of providing addresses for computers that were easier to remember than the underlying IP Addresses. As commercial activities have increased on the internet, domain names have become part of the standard communication apparatus used by businesses to identify themselves, their products, and their activities. Advertisements appearing in media now routinely include a domain name address, along with other means of identification and communication such as corporate name, trademarks, telephone number, and facsimile number. Domain Names are relevant because consumers often perceive them as performing in electronic commerce, much the same role as Trademarks and trade names have historically played in more traditional modes of business. In ACLU v. Reno the court in the USA has held that “Domain Names may be a valuable corporate asset as it facilitates communication with a customer base”. Visit to know about Non-Cognizable Offence.
- Hypothesis: It is difficult to determine how close the current domain names system is efficient in balancing between private incentives and social benefits. The question is whether the current legal system provides incentives for the greatest quantity and highest quality of domain names system with respect to trademarks to be created and consumed over time. Although the answer to such question is not so straightforward, the magnitude of illicit consumption of domain names system in digital form today, suggests that potential efficiency gains can be realized by applying advances in digital technology.
- International Perspective on DNS
- National Perspective on DNS
- Levels of DNS
- Easily accessible with the help of Domain Name
- Economic Benefits
Rediff Communication Limited Vs. Cyber Booth and Another:
The plaintiff had registered its domain name, “Rediff.Com” in 1997 and is an online media company carrying on the business of communication and providing service through the internet since 6th January 1997. The defendants have got the domain name registered “Rediff.com” on 31st January 1999. The plaintiff objected to the domain name of the defendant on the grounds that establishing and broadcasting a web page on the internet with the title “RADIFF” is clearly intended to cause members of the public to believe that the defendants are associated with the plaintiff. It was also contended that the adoption of the word “RADIFF”, which is deceptively similar to the plaintiff’s trade name and style by the defendant is dishonest and has been done with deliberate intention to pass off the defendants business, goods and services of those of the plaintiffs and thereby illegally trade upon the reputation of the plaintiff.
The Bombay High Court cited with approval American Civil Liberties Union v. Reno; Marks and Spencer PIC v. One in a Million; and held that the internet domain names are of immense importance and valuable corporate asset. A domain name is more than an Internet address and is entitled to equal protection as Trade Marks. The court took the help of above-discussed landmark case and other cases to delineate the contours of passing off doctrine and held that when both the impugned domain names are considered, they being almost similar in nature there is every possibility of internet users being confused and deceived in believing that both the domain names belong to one common source and connection although they belong to two different persons.
The court concluded that the field of activity of plaintiff and defendant is clearly similar and overlapping. The only object in adopting the domain name “RADIFF” was to trade upon the reputation of the plaintiff. It was also held that once the intention to deceive is established, the court will not make further inquiries about the likelihood of confusion. To know about the “Carlill V Carbolic Smoke Ball” can visit the law planet once.
Graham Knight, “Internet Architecture” in H. Bidgoli, The Internet Encyclopedia, Volume 2,244.
Final report of the WIPO Internet Domain Name Process para 54