Trade Marks on the Internet copyright 1996-2003; last updated August 14, 2003

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All of these new registries are now accepting domain name registrations.

Each new TLD can create its own rules and dispute resolution mechanisms. For example, information on the .biz registry, operated by NeoLevel (formerly JVTeam) is available online. NeoLevel is using the UDRP for disputes.

In recognition of the rights of trade mark owners, the .biz registry had a pre-registration period during which trade mark owners could apply to pre-register domain names which incorporated their trade marks. The Start-Up Trademark Opposition Policy or (STOP) allowed trade mark owners to claim special interests in the new domains. A decision under the STOP policy was set aside by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. In Black v. Molson Canada15 the court seems to have reviewed the adjudicator's decision de novo and concluded that the domain name was generic and that Molson's rights to the trade-mark CANADIAN for use in association with beer did not give rise to a right to recover the domain name from Black, the registrant, who showed that he intended to use the domain name for a bona fide business or commercial purpose.

Although all of these new registries are trying to preserve the rights of trade mark owners, it is likely that they will be open to abuse by cybersquatters.

The .CA Domain

Domain names in Canada's ccTLD, the .ca domain, first became available in May, 1987. Responsibility for managing the .ca domain was delegated to John Demco of the University of British Columbia. John Demco managed the .ca domain name registry on a voluntary basis with the help of the .ca Committee. The group, CDNnet, originally allocated .ca domain names at no charge to users. During the remainder of 1987, the structure of the name space was agreed upon and a registration process was developed. The first domain name registration in the .ca registry was approved in early 1988.

The rapid evolution of the Internet, the nature of the .ca policies, and the delay involved in obtaining a .ca registration generated dissatisfaction within the Canadian Internet community. In June 1997, a meeting was held in Halifax at the Net97 Conference with members of the Canadian Internet community to discuss the situation. Following that meeting, the Canadian Domain Name Consultative Committee (CDNCC) was created to transform the .ca domain name registry into a commercial operation. CDNCC was composed of representatives from the .ca Committee (represented by John Demco), the Canadian Internet Society (CISOC), the Canadian Association of Internet Service Providers (CAIP) and the federal government.

CDNCC began reforming the .ca domain structure in the fall of 1997 and produced a proposal for public consultation. The CDNCC maintained the core elements of its proposal throughout the process but did modify it to reflect the input and concerns of the contributors. The new entity which was created to make the .ca domain a commercial operation, Canadian Internet Registration Authority ("CIRA"), was incorporated in December, 1998.


Like ICANN, CIRA is a not-for-profit corporation. CIRA provides professional registry services for the .ca domain. CIRA operates like other major national and international registries. CIRA’s objective is to preserve the .ca ccTLD as a Canadian resource operated and managed by Canadians for Canadians. CIRA offers registration services through approved registrars. CIRA is also empowered to provide for domain name dispute resolution services for .ca domain names. A draft policy was posted on September 26, 2000, it was revised and posted again on November 29, 2001. The CIRA Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the "CDRP") applies to all .ca domain names.

Disputes under the CDRP are heard by one of two dispute resolution service providers, Resolution Canada or the British Columbia International Commercial Arbitration Centre. To date, there have been five decisions under the CDRP. The CDRP and the decisions are discussed below.


Registering a Commercial TLD Domain Name

To register a domain name in the .com, .net or .org registries, chose a domain name and do a WhoIs? search. If the domain name hasn’t already been registered, you can do so right there, or you can find another registrar. The services and fee structures of each registrar are different.

Domain name registrations can expire and, depending on the registrar you use, the length of a domain name registration can vary. If you do not renew your registration, you will lose your domain name so registrants must carefully diarize renewal dates.

To date, there have been no restrictions on registrations in the commercial TLDs. Commercial entities have been free to register their trade marks and domain names in any, or all, of the .com, .net or .org registries. ICANN has announced a proposal to restrict use of the .org domain to non-profit organizations. This would reorganize the .org domain and reflect the original significance that .org was intended to have.
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