May 13, 2008

Registrars and registries liability in the EU: a (very) short survey

AUSTRIA: The Austrian Supreme Court ruled that the registry ( does not carry a general obligation to watch the domain names registrations, prior to or during the registration, given the large number or registrations and the automatic registration procedure. Nevertheless, the registry must react after being asked by the holder of rights who gives evidence of them, if the infringement is so obvious that a non-lawyer would realize it.
OGH, Urteil vom 12.9.2001, 4 Ob 176/01p

BELGIUM: DNS.BE was found abusing its dominant position, for refusing to sell certain names without any reason.
Comm. Bruxelles, cess., 8 nov. 2000, A.C. 8.286/2000
But the fact of refusing to sell names because they are generic was not in itself found abusive.
Civ. Bruxelles, réf., 28 janv. 2000, R.R. 2000/107/C

FRANCE: A decision is often but improperly presented as stating that a registrar can be liable for letting a client register an infringing name. This registrar only had to pay for the judicial expenses along with the defending cybersquatter.
TGI Paris, réf., 10 avril 2006
The abuse of its dominant position by the French registry was at stake in 2000 before the Competition Council, but this court did not have to rule on this issue since the registry modified the practice which was criticized (it refused to sell generic names).
Conseil de la Concurrence, 9 juin 2000, 00-D-32

GERMANY: DE-NIC can be liable under trademark law if it indirectly causes a trademark infringement by registering a domain name obviously identical with a famous trademark.
OLG Frankfurt/Main Urteil vom 14.09.1999 11 U Kart 59/98
Registrars are deemed access providers, as they grant access to third parties via the names.
LG Leipzig Urteil vom 13.11.2003 12 S 2595/03

HUNGARY: The Highest Court ruled that a registrar can be liable for contributing to a trademark infringement.
Legfelsőbb Bíróság a Pf. IV. 25 696/2002/5

==> If you have other national cases to report (EU or non EU), or have more accurate information to report, please mention them in the comments.
Thanks in advance!


Thomas said...

RE GERMANY: The decision of the OLG Frankfurt/Main of 14.09.1999 actually denied DENIC's liability in the case at hand, which was later confirmed by the Federal Supreme Court (see - This decision of the Federal Supreme Court is generally considered to be the lead case in Germany regarding DENIC's liability.

In a later decision (see - the Federal Supreme Court confirmed that DENIC is usually not obliged to verify whether a specific domain registration infringes the rights of a third party, and is particularly not obliged to "block" domain names in order to prevent potentially infringing registrations in the future.

cedric manara said...

Thanks Thomas