Permanent blocking of typosquatted domain names to be introduced
As of July 1 2010, it will be possible to remove typosquatted domain names permanently from the Danish domain name register. The new rules represent the latest effort to curb typosquatting in Denmark, which has introduced a series of mechanisms to suspend and remove harmful and/or infringing domain names.
Denmark has had rules to summarily transfer or cancel registrations for typosquatted domain names since 2005. Over 2,000 typosquatted domain names have been transferred or cancelled under these rules. Aggrieved parties - typically, trademark owners - may either register the domain name themselves (transfer) or have the registration cancelled. However, experience has shown that cancelled domain names are often re-registered, sometimes more than once. Repeated cancellations represent a waste of resources, both for trademark owners and for DK-Hostmaster, the Danish domain name administrator. To address this problem, the 'blocking' of domain names will be introduced as an additional option available to trademark owners.
A blocked domain name will be permanently removed from the Danish domain name space and will not function. Blocked domain names are not registered and, as such, do not have to be renewed. This means that trademark owners that block typosquatted domain names will not be able to use them to point to their own website.
In the event that a party wants to register a blocked domain name, the entity which has had the domain name blocked (typically, the trademark owner) must be contacted and given the opportunity to comment. If the entity refuses to allow the registration of the blocked name by a new registrant, the case can be brought before the Danish Complaints Board for Domain Names. If the entity does not respond within 28 days, the domain name will be unblocked automatically.
A domain name may be blocked only if it has been typosquatted in Denmark. A typosquatted domain name meets the following criteria:
- There must be an obvious risk that internet users looking for the complainant’s website will be directed to another website due to a keyboard error;
- The registrant of the domain name has no trademark rights or other rights in the domain name; and
- The registrant, or a party that works in close association with it, has registered other typosquatted domain names.
The new rules will apply retroactively. Therefore, any domain names that had been found to be typosquatted in Denmark may be permanently blocked from July 1 2010. It is expected that the blocking of domain names will be a relatively inexpensive administrative procedure.
If trademark owners discover the existence of typosquatted '.dk' domain names which do not direct significant traffic to other sites, they should consider having these permanently removed from the Danish register under the new rules.
Peter Gustav Olson, MAQS Law Firm, Copenhagen
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