What is Important to Know about Domain Name Registration?

Authors: Vilius Martisius, an Associated Partner, Attorney-at-law at METIDA, Mykolas Jakutis, an Assistant to Attorney-at-Law in METIDA

In the Internet era, probably every company has its own website. Yet, it seems that not all of them are familiar with the rules of registering their website addresses. Thus, what should be taken into account when creating a website and registering a domain name?

A domain name represents an Internet Protocol resource and could be understood as an Internet website address, which may consist of no more than 63 symbols without gaps. The symbols may be letters, numbers or other figures.

Why is it necessary to register a domain name?

  • It allows email and web hosting
  • It provides an easy access to a website.
  • A domain name could serve as an advertisement of goods or services of a company
  • E-mail addresses of registered domains are easy to remember
  • It creates a prestigious and solid look of a company.

Careful decisions should be made when choosing a domain name as it might influence the popularity of a website. Picking up a name could be very easy, yet, some may find it very tiring and difficult.

A domain name could also function as a trademark. It is important for companies to have websites that could be easily found on the Internet, as this might affect the number of visitors of the website and the growth of the interest in a trademark.

Experience shows, that an Internet website is an essential part of the image of market participants and legal persons, for it helps to represent a company and spread information throughout the Internet. Without its technical function, a domain name also contributes to the identification of a company and aids it to advertise and realize its goods and services. Thus, it is crucial to check if a domain name does not infringe the rights of other persons before planning to register it. For example, it could be studied whether a domain name does not infringe the rights to legal person’s name, trademark or any other mark used in business. If it appears, that a registered domain name encroaches on the aforementioned rights, the owners of those domains are expected to give up their websites and even to compensate for the loss of persons whose rights were infringed. There have been many cases against the infringement of IP rights on the Internet, when the infringers lost due to the unfair or incautious domain name registration.

As the Internet has provided more flexibility for business, more and more infringers tend to profit from the illegal use of famous brand names and trademarks. The most frequent examples would be cybersquatting, brandjacking, typoscquatting and traffic diversions.

It is worth mentioning, that regulations for the use of word ‘Lithuania’ in a domain name approved by the Government of the Republic of Lithuania define the conditions that need to be met in order to get this right. These Regulations enable to control the use of the word ‘Lithuania’ in domain names. This would guarantee the grammatical use of the word, ensure the rights of persons willing to use the word and their legal interests, and give a possibility to use the word in a domain name by promoting an appropriate representation of Lithuania on the Internet. These permissions are authorised by The Communications Regulatory Authority.

Domain names of type ‘.lt’ that consist of Lithuanian letters could also be registered. This type of domain is advisable only for the companies that wish to grow within the scope of Lithuanian audience. For those which plan to have contacts with other countries, domain names without Lithuanian letters are recommended. Of course, two domain names could be registered: one could be with Lithuanian letters for a Lithuanian market and another one could be without Lithuanian letters for the foreign market. Both domains could be connected for free to either the same or different websites. For example, when domains direct to different websites or a Lithuanian domain name opens a Lithuanian website and a domain without Lithuanian letters opens an English website.

Lithuanian domain names with the ending ‘.lt’ are administered by the Information Technology Development Institute of Kaunas University of Technology (ITDI KUT). Therefore, Lithuanian domain names are registered by the regulations approved and defined by ITDI KUT (http://www.domreg.lt).

Thus, it is always important to check if a domain name is available and distinguishable from other domain names and trademarks as well as to comply with the legal standards, when opting to register a new domain name.

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