New act regulating '.fi' ccTLDs now in force

Finland

The Finnish Domain Name Act, amending the regulation of the '.fi' country-code top-level domain (ccTLD) system, has come into force.

The main changes set out in the new act include the following:

  • Second-level domain names no longer have to be identical to an existing Finnish registered name, such as a trademark or company name.

  • Generic names such as 'movies.fi' and 'store.fi' (and their equivalents in Finnish) are now accepted as domain names.

  • The Finnish Communications and Regulations Authority, which handles applications for domain names, no longer conducts searches prior to registration.

During the first day of the new registration system, the Communications and Regulations Authority accepted approximately 17,000 new registrations. Thereafter, the amount of new registrations has been around 1,000 per day. This is a significant increase in the amount of registrations since the total amount of ccTLDs registered prior to the change was 42,113.

Cybersquatting cases were rare under the previous governance regime but they are now expected to rise significantly as a result of the abolition of searches prior to the registration of domain names and the increase in the number of ccTLDs. To counter this, the new act prescribes that (i) the Communication and Regulations Authority has the power to resolve cybersquatting disputes, and (ii) the authority's decisions may be challenged with an appeal to the Administrative Court of Helsinki.

Two elements of the previous regime remain: (i) foreign legal entities are still required to have a presence in Finland (through a subsidiary or branch) to be eligible to register ccTLDs, and (ii) individuals continue to be prohibited from registering names in the '.fi' domain space.

Esa Korkeamäki, HH Partners, Helsinki

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