It is easy in principle to reserve a domain name as soon as it is available in a given extension (.com, etc.) except that said extension (known as TLD for Top Level Domain) obeys an allocation regime. restrictive and special (e.g. .eu is reserved for nationals of the European Union). First come, first served.
However, it can be challenged if it infringes trademark rights or other protectable interests.
It can also be opposed (subject to presentation of good evidence and convincing demonstration!) to a domain name, a trade name, a brand, dedicated to similar activities.
This dispute is exercised within the framework of legal proceedings or, if the elements are obvious, of dedicated arbitration proceedings such as UDPR or URS before the World Intellectual Property Organization.
The disputed domain names can thus be transferred or suspended, blocked. Injunctions will be issued to reservers, registrars, hosts, internet service providers.
Domain name blocking supporting illicit activities
Moreover, the domain name being the support of sites, its blocking does not prevent the illicit activity on the site which can be transported elsewhere on another domain name. But the site will lose the referencing associated with the old domain name. Procedures do exist, however, to ask internet service providers to block domain names supporting illegal activities, and to quickly sanction the reappearance of sites.
The domain name is a seizable asset
Can the blocking measure be used for a measure of seizure and sale of the domain name to force the debtor holding the domain name to pay his debt, or as a confiscation in criminal matters? Under such a procedure, the domain name would be put up for sale and transferred to a third party.
- What if the domain name allocation authority was based abroad?
- The person seized may possibly complain of the loss of dereferencing, if the domain name is sold at a low price. The domain name can indeed be the support of an important effort of referencing on the Internet or communication in general, and have more value than it seems. The threat of blocking should therefore encourage the debtor to pay.