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There can be two views :
1. Ownership - the guy who pays and grabs the domain name earlier buys the domain name from the issuing authority. (we are considering that the issuing authority is under control and cannot abuse this right)
In this case, it is a commodity which is the property of the owner and cannot be ever taken back by anyone. A recurring fees can also be implemented as a management cost for the infrastructure of root servers etc payable to the registrar. In case of failing to pay these fees, the owner looses the right to the domain name.
Since the domain name is owned by this person, he can have a patent on this name and he can use it whichever way he likes.
(But this does not seem to be the case)
2. Lease/Rent - the domain name owner rents/leases the domain name from a authority we call registrar. If the lesee does not pay in time, the registrar can take back this property. Good enough (which is going on right now, i understand). But..
- how can we claim the patent to something we lease or rent ?
- how can a court settle cases in favour or against cases on domain names which comes out of misinterpretation and fraud.
The people who are using, do not own them !
The total concept has been messed up -
You call it an intellectual *property* and also a *leased/rented* *commodity*. I think things have not been properly thought before implementation. They cannot take two stands. Either you own or you lease. And thereafter laws must work on them according to that.
If there is a cigerrete company called 555, and you are assigned a phone number of 555555 by your local telephone house (i guess we lease/rent telephone connections- atleast in my country), can 555 come and claim for this number from you on legal grounds. This is exactly what is happening.
They (ICANN and the bodies involved) are not being able to give the domain industry a proper face and nature. Total chaos. Really unprofessional.
You dont need to move at a lightening speed, if you cannot consolidate things and leave behind chaos and problems.
- just my thought.
Seems that if you can't call a domain property of a company then how can you call a trade mark property? You have to go thru the same sort a Registration to get both but one is property and the other is not? Go figure
Just to add to this story :) I was contacted by a lawyer not too long ago asking me to stop using a certain keyword as i was beating his client in the SE's. He used a lot of large words (that is could not even begin to spell) The bottom line was he said that the word was their company name and I had no right to use it. Being the nice guy I am I removed the page and then went looking for trade marks and domains. I come to find the domain is available and so was the trade mark. The rest of the story is that my lawyer contacted them yesterday with a cease and dissist letter to them :) Yep you got it I bought the domain and the trade mark. I would never had followed this thru if it had not been for their lawyer being so bullish and threatening.
Please excuse the long post I just thought that a story about the little guys winning one would be good :)