On August 24 2017 the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) issued the final version of the Rules on the Administration of Internet Domain Names (New Domain Name Rules). These new rules came into effect on November 1 2017 and replaced the previous rules which came into force in 2004.

When compared with the draft of these new rules published in March 2016 (for further details please see “Towards a Greater Chinese Firewall?”) the most noticeable change in the new rules is the deletion of the controversial Article 37. Article 37 of the draft provided that any domain name with a website hosted in China must be registered with a Chinese domain name registrar, otherwise Chinese internet service providers will refuse internet access. Article 37 had led to concerns that all foreign websites would be blocked in China and that China’s Internet would become an intranet closed to other regions.

The US government issued a statement publicly criticising the Chinese government’s proposed stance on internet governance (for further details please see “US government slams Chinese domain name rules”). Various sources in the international media also interpreted the Draft as an attempt to exclude foreign websites from the Internet in China.

Perhaps in response to these concerns and controversies, the MIIT has removed Article 37 from the new domain name rules. While this is a welcome move, it remains to be seen whether and to what extent the Chinese government will relax its control over websites hosted in China and, more generally, the Internet. In practice, government control can still be exerted in other ways, including access-blocking and restrictions on internet content provider recordal.

Other notable changes in the new domain name rules (compared with the draft) include:

Want to read more?

Register to access two of our subscriber only articles per month

Subscribe for unlimited access to articles, in-depth analysis and research from the World Trademark Review experts

Already registered? Log in

What our customers are saying

World Trademark Review, and particularly the WTR 1000, are always very useful sources for obtaining impressions and detailed information about foreign colleagues, law firms and jurisdictions. Our whole trademark team benefits from articles published in World Trademark Review.

Christian R Thomas
Attorney at law, legal and trademark department
KUHNEN & WACKER Intellectual Property Law Firm

Benefits

Subscribe to World Trademark Review to receive access to the full range of trademark intelligence, insight, and case law, as well as our guides, rankings and daily market insight delivered to your inbox.

Why subscribe?

Share this article