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Domain Disputes Committee commences work

On Friday, 27 August 2010, the Estonian Internet Foundation Council convened and passed the decision to establish the Domain Disputes Committee, also summing up the current situation with domain renewals.

The Domain Disputes Committee is an independent body of the Estonian Internet Foundation that solves domain disputes, offering extrajudicial protection against domain name hijacking. “Unfortunately some of the persons registering domain names are basically fortune hunters who try to hijack a domain name and then mislead users or even blackmail the corresponding trademark proprietor. The new Domain Disputes Committee consists of experts who are generally capable of solving such issues faster than courts do,” commented on the committee purpose Marek-Andres Kauts, Chairman of the Management Board of the Estonian Internet Foundation.

Domain name hijacking is a globally widespread practice: persons register in their name certain domain names that are identical to or resemble the names of prominent trademarks and companies and that the intellectual property holders have not yet registered themselves. Then these persons attempt to sell the domain name to the trademark/company name proprietor with a profit or use the website to benefit from the trademark or company name, attracting public Internet users under false pretences.

Committee membership: Indrek Eelmets, Carri Ginter, Andres Hallmägi, Taivo Kivistik, Risto Käbi, Ants Nõmper, Riina Pärn, Almar Sehver and Alar Urm.

Having received a dispute application, the Domain Disputes Committee will ask the domain registrant whose activities have been disputed to provide an explanation. If the committee decides in favour of the disputing party, the committee will have the right to either annul the domain registration or transfer the right to the domain to the disputing party. At the meeting of the Estonian Internet Foundation Council on 27 August 2010 the Domain Disputes Committee fees were approved, allowing the committee to commence work.

The agenda of the council meeting on 27 August also included an interim summary of the transition to the new domain registration procedure and goal-setting for subsequent activities. The council listened to the overview prepared by the Management Board of the transition to the new domain registration procedure and recognised the importance of enabling the use of specific letters of the Estonian alphabet in .ee domain names and focusing on re-registration of the domains registered in accordance with the old rules.

The aim is to enable the use in domain names of all letters of the Estonian alphabet, including the specific characters listed below. As a result, it will be possible to register .ee domain names containing the letters õ, ä, ö, ü, š and ž.

Due to the transition to the new domain registration procedure all those who registered their domains in accordance with the old rules must choose a registrar and re-register their domains during the 6-month re-registration period. Although the transition period ends on 5 January 2011, it is nevertheless advisable to re-register the domains in good time and not postpone it until the last moment.

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