Legal case library

The CENTR legal case library is a list of relevant court cases and their formal judgements from various jurisdictions among CENTR members. The cases are mostly related to domain names and are categorised according to the list below.

  • Registry Liability
  • Copyright/Trademark infringement
  • Domain Name Law
  • Contracts
  • Legal Nature of a Domain name
  • Domain Name Policy
  • Seizure of domain names
  • Constitutional

 

Area: Registry Liability
 
Germany r-e-y.de Jul 2001 The applicant attempted to claim DENIC was liable as an accessory regarding a website which was circulating infringing content. The court held that DENIC cannot be held liable for content of the website. Click for Case
       
Austria Fpo Sep 2001
Political Party (called FPOE) vs. nic.at, austrian supreme court, 13.09.2001 Can nic.at be held liable because of the domain fpo.at? Yes nic.at can, but at first must be made aware and the violation must be very clear. This decision was the first decision concerning the liability of NIC.at. Click for Case
       
Austria 5htp Dec 2006
Holder of the trademark vs. nic.at, austrian supreme court, 19.12.2006 Can nic.at be held liable because of the domain 5htp.at? No, because there is no infrengiment which is obvious to a legal layman. Click for case (German)
       
Area : Copyright/Trademark infringement
 
 Sweden F.N vs IIS - The Pirate Bay - appeals court decision May 2016 The Court of Appeal’s opinion means that the rights of F.N to the domain names: thepiratebay.se and piratebay.se are forfeit, and that the prosecutor’s claim for forfeiture of the Foundation’s rights to the same domain names should not be sustained. Furthermore, no legal grounds exist that would allow, in conjunction with or instead of confiscation from F.N, an order requiring the Foundation to deregister and cease allocating the domain names. In other words, the District Court’s judgement against the Foundation and F.N is affirmed. Click for Case
Australia Nominet v Diverse Internet Sep 2004 Nominet, the national registry for all .uk domain names, won an Australian court battle against two men who used information stolen from the registry's database to send misleading domain name notices to thousands of its registrants. Click for case
       
Finland TV Kaista June 2014 The District Prosecutor demanded Ficora to terminate (=temporary removal from the root .fi) a domain name, because according to the prosecutor there was content on the webpages that infringed copyright. Ficora refused to terminate the domain name in spite of a specific section in the Domain Name Act that would allow Ficora to terminate a domain name " if there is probable cause to suspect that the domain name is used with a purpose of committing a crime". The prosecutor did not appeal against Ficora's decision. The decision contains a description of the Finnish regulation concerning the illegality of a domain name and regulation of web communications concerning illegal content. Click for case
       
Sweden Piratebay May 2015 Case regarding confiscation of the domain names thepiratebay.se and piratebay.se, directed against the domain holder and .SE as the registry. The court came to the conclusion that the domain names shall be confiscated from the domain holder, but the the claim against .SE was dismissed. In summary, the court found that a domain name is property possible to confiscate under the rule of the Copyright Act. .SE was considered to act with intent when furthered violations of the Copyright Act and therefore contributing to the crimes. But the court stated further that the requirements for the assessment in this present case are specific and due to jurisprudence theories on freedom from responsibility with a basis in social adequacy, .SE actions was considered to be lawful. Open Judgement
       
UK Cartier v B Sky B Oct 2014 Claimants owned a large number of UK trade marks and sought an injunction to block (or at least impede) access to certain web sites advertising and selling counterfeit goods against the 5 main retail ISPs in the UK. Further details and case document
       
Serbia cocacola.co.yu Dec 2003 Subject of the case was domain name cocacola.co.yu. Company Coca Cola sued registrant of cocacola.co.yu who used their trademark for registration of domain name and put some pornographic content on the web site. As a sued parties, Registry and hosting provider was also included in this case. Click for case
       
Belgium Piratebay Sep 2011 The appellant is a Belgian professional association whose corporate aim is to fight piracy and counterfeiting in the name and on behalf of its members (parties with interests in the entertainment sector: film, music, and computer games) on Belgian territory. The respondents are two Internet providers that provide their subscribers with access to websites, including the websites of “The Pirate Bay”. This latter website was founded in 2004 and helps Internet users to download film and music files. Click for case
       
Norway Nordlandsposten\ Aug 2009 Nordlandsposten.no - the name of a famous newspaper in Norway. Two newpapers merged and took a new name - forgetting to keep the domain names of the two old ones. The name of one of them was Nordlandsposten - and the popular name continued to be used by people even if the name was changed. The problem was that another guy registered the domain name and created a rival newspaper, and was actually a parasite on the reputation of the old one. Click for case
       
UK Toth vs Emirates Mar 2012 Summary to be added
Click for case
       
Area: Domain Name Law
 
France Décision n° 2010-45 QPC 6/10/2010 AFNIC was informed of the Constitutional Court’s decision that considered unconstitutional article L.45 of the French Electronic Communications Act, which is the legal framework of domain name management in France.AFNIC highlights that the Constitutional Court differs the effects of its decision until July 1st 2011. AFNIC is pleased to remark that the Consitutional Court took the trouble to underline that past decisions as well as decisions to be taken until July 1st 2011 cannot be challenged on the basis of its decision.Finally, AFNIC notes that this decision is focused on the way the Parliament set the legal framework for domain name policies. The Court considers that, while Intellectual Property is taken into account, Freedom of Communication and Freedom of Trade are not. The decision’s motives do not challenge the appointment of AFNIC as the registry for the .fr country-code Top Level Domain (ccTLD). Consequently, the current policies of the .fr ccTLD will remain unchanged until a new legal framework is adopted. Click for Case
       
Area: Contracts
 
Poland NASK vs. Seczkowski/Wis 12/02/2008   Since some provisions of telecommunication law apply to a domain  name contract, it is not regulated by the provisions concerning "an  order contract" in the Civil Code. Due to that fact a registry claim to  receive payment for direct registration of a domain name is not limited  by lapse of time determined in the Civil Code for "an order contract" (2  years), but general claim limitation by lapse of time (3 years) should  be applied.Click for case
       
Area: Legal Nature of a Domain name
 
Canada Tucows vs Renner
(Canada)
08/04/2011 The Ontario Court of Appeal held, for the first time, that domain names can be considered "intangible personal property," and the registrant of a domain name located in Ontario may successfully bring a proceeding in an Ontario court. In particular, the Court held that service of a Statement of Claim outside of Ontario by the owner of a domain name registrant based in Toronto was valid in accordance with Rule 17.02(a) of the Ontario Rules of Civil Procedure. This case is of particular importance as it will facilitate the ability of a domain name registrant with a place of business in Ontario to have a domain name dispute heard by an Ontario court. However, this potential procedural advantage is contingent on the ability to establish a sufficient connection between the registrant and Ontario. Click for case
       
Area: Domain Name Policy
Norway Elineweb vs Uninett Norid 28/06/2012 About the co.no domain: The category "co" is used as an official category domain within several other top-level domains, e.g. co.uk. This is not the case in Norway.
Sør-Trøndelag District Court resolved the lawsuit between Elineweb and Norid in a judgement made on 28 June 2012. The judgement finds in favour of Norid on several principal issues regarding the domain name policy and our right to add co.no to the list of domain names that cannot be registered or transferred.
Click for case
   
       
Area: Seizure of domain names
 
Norway HR-2009-1692 26/08/2009  The issue in this case is whether domain names can be made subject  to seizure (and later confiscation) pursuant to the Norwegian Criminal  Procedure Act and the General Civil Penal Code. The domain names  in the case had been used for possible criminal activities. Even if the  Web pages would still have been available through the IP address after  the domain names were removed from operation, their availability  would be substantially reduced. It was therefore not unnatural to  regard the association of the domain names to Web sites with criminal  content as the instrument for a criminal offence. The court ruled that  the holder of a registered domain name has an exclusive right of use  to an asset that may have financial value. The fact that the registration  itself does not have any significance for rights that are already  established, for example to a trademark, does not change this.The  similarity that domain names have to other assets such as trademarks  supports the premise that domain names can be seized. In addition to  this comes the need to be able to stop a domain name from functioning  to prevent criminal offences from continuing. Norid does not undertake  any control of the content of Web sites; nor does it have any mandate  to react to Web sites that may appear to violate the law; it is up to the  police and the judicial system to do this.
 The court also confirmed that that domain names "are deemed to be  liable to confiscation “ Click for case
       
 Area : Constitutional      
       
France Article 45 9/08/2010
This decision is focused on the way the Parliament set the legal framework for domain name policies. The Court considers that, while Intellectual Property is taken into account, Freedom of Communication and Freedom of Trade are not. The decision’s motives do not challenge the appointment of AFNIC as the registry for the .fr country-code Top Level Domain (ccTLD). Consequently, the current policies of the .fr ccTLD will remain unchanged until a new legal framework is adopted.Click for Case
 
Switzerland Switch & SwitchPlus  27/08/2012   SWITCH Registrar can base its activities on the commercial freedom  of  action. SWITCH with a public mandate for being registry and  registrar  can base itself on the commercial freedom of action  regarding his  registrar activities in the public mandate and its private  activities as a  registrar (switchplus ag). SWITCH is only bound to the  fundamental  rights like transparence and equal treatment (of the  competitor)  regarding it's registry services towards the registrars and  as a  registrar with a public mandate towards the end consumer.
 Click for case
       
Area: To be defined/classifed
 
Germany viagrabestellung.de  13/02/2003   Click for case