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Legal Issues on Domain Name: A world Wide Watch(从全球范围看域名法律问题)(2000)

作者:杨春宝律师 来自:法律桥 时间:2004-12-19 20:31:16 点击:

Legal Issues on Domain Name: A world Wide Watch(从全球范围看域名法律问题)
I. Introduction

The Internet use expanded at an amazing rate in the last decade. By the end of 1999, there were over a quarter-billion Internet users worldwide. The "total number of host computers and users have been growing at about 33 percent every six months since 1988, with some 72 million host computers on the Internet currently serving users in 218 countries and territories."1 The USA accounts for the large majority of Internet users, and the number of Internet hosts in Europe increased by about 600 per cent between 1993 and 1996, the growth in Internet hosts in Africa and Asia amounted to about 840 per cent for each region over the same period.2 It is obvious that the use of the Internet in developing countries will increase more quickly in the next few years while these countries are devoting to fill in the ”digital gap? Meanwhile, domain name registration also increases very quickly. By 25 September 2000, 29,374,480 domain names have been registered worldwide,3 compared to 645 in July 1991 and 150,000 in late 1995.4 The weekly volume of new registrations is about 21,000.5

As the rapid development of the Internet and the dramatically increasing of domain names, some legal issues surrounding the protection of intellectual property have arisen, especially the relationship between trademark and domain name becomes the focus among them. There are so many articles discuss this issue in almost all aspects, and the domain name registration rules always include some basic principles to deal with the trademark infringement in domain name registration. However, it seems that some other legal issues on domain names have been overlooked. And authors of most of the articles on these issues are from USA. They maybe disagree with each other in some aspects, but it seems that they all agree that the management of domain name system should be led or guided by USA. Many countries have enacted or are enacting legislations specifically target to abusive domain name registrations. However, it seems that these legislations are also inconsistent in some aspects.

The Internet itself is multijurisdictional. Users can access it from any place on the Planet, and information may travel through various countries or jurisdictions in order to reach its destination. It is a global medium which is no longer limited by the historical system of separate physical jurisdictions. Hence, the legal issues on domain name should be discussed in an international context but not a purely USA domestic matter, and the disputes should be resolved according to a uniform policy adopted by an international organization, such as the WIPO but not the ICANN.

This article indentifies the legal issues on domain name in a world wide background. Part two discusses the relationship between domain names and trademarks, trade names, geographical names, names of celebrities, names of internetional organizations, INNs, etc. Part three reviews the management of domain name system. Part four makes some suggestions about the management of domain name system and domain name disputes resolution.
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