RE: [gnso-raa-b] Is there any revision to the US supreme court ruling of 2000 that "Internet domain names are a new form of intellectual property"?
- To: "Sivasubramanian M" <isolatedn@xxxxxxxxx>, <gnso-raa-b@xxxxxxxxx>
- Subject: RE: [gnso-raa-b] Is there any revision to the US supreme court ruling of 2000 that "Internet domain names are a new form of intellectual property"?
- From: "Hammock, Statton" <shammock@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Thu, 19 Aug 2010 17:16:20 -0400
I'll try to answer your question.
A domain name is not property of any sort - it is a contract right that
does not exist separate and apart from the services performed by a
registrar. Wornow v. Register.com, Inc., 2004 N.Y. Slip. Op. 04776
(App. Div., June 8, 2004) (citing Network Solutions, Inc. v. Umbro
Int'l, Inc., 259 Va. 759, 770, 529 S.E.2d 80, 86 (2000)). Other court
decisions have held that a domain name is simply an address. It is
valueless apart from the content or goodwill to which it is attached. A
domain name that is not a trademark entails only contract, not property
rights. Thus, a domain name registration is the product of a contract
for services between the registrar and registrant. Dorer v. Arel, 60 F.
Supp. 2d 558, 561 (E.D. Va. 1999). When the contract between a
registrar and registrant expires or terminates, the domain name ceases
to exist. Property, on the other hand, does not cease to exist merely
because services associated with the property come to an end.
Because a domain name is a product of a contract for
services, the disposition of the domain name is a function of the terms
of the contract. For instance, Network Solutions' current Service
Agreement with registrants provides:
a. By You. You may terminate this Agreement upon at least thirty (30)
days written notice to Network Solutions for any reason.
b. By Us. We may terminate this Agreement or any part of the Network
Solutions services at any time in the event you breach any obligation
hereunder, fail to respond within ten (10) calendar days to an inquiry
from us concerning the accuracy or completeness of the information
referred to in Section 4 of this Agreement, if we determine in our sole
discretion that you have violated the Network Solutions Acceptable Use
Policy, which is located on our Website at
http://www.networksolutions.com/legal/aup.jsp and is incorporated herein
and made part of this Agreement by reference, or upon thirty (30) days
prior written notice if we terminate or significantly alter a product or
Thus, Network Solutions has the power and authority to terminate its
registration services, under some circumstances, as provided in its
The language from the Network Solutions agreement you cited is more than
ten years old and is very much out of date.
I hope this is helpful.
Sr. Director, Law, Policy & Business Affairs
P 703-668-5515 M 703-624-5031 www.networksolutions.com
From: owner-gnso-raa-b@xxxxxxxxx [mailto:owner-gnso-raa-b@xxxxxxxxx] On
Behalf Of Sivasubramanian M
Sent: Thursday, August 19, 2010 4:34 PM
Subject: [gnso-raa-b] Is there any revision to the US supreme court
ruling of 2000 that "Internet domain names are a new form of
There is a very old report at page
http://news.cnet.com/2010-1071-281311.html that says that in the year
2000, the US supreme court reversed a 1999 circuit court ruling that
"Internet domain names are a new form of intellectual property".
1) Is there any revision on this US supreme court ruling that domain
names are not intellectual property ? Is ICANN's position on ownership
of a domain name entirely governed by the US Supreme Court decision of
2000 or later, if revised?
2) This report also says that Network Solutions revised its Domain
Registration Agreement (based on the Supreme Court ruling ??? ) in Nov
1999 which gave the company sweeping rights such as. The agreement
* NSI may terminate "domain name registration services" if the
registrant uses them for "any improper purpose, as determined in our
sole discretion." The term "improper" is left open for NSI to interpret.
Ten years later, in 2010, is this power to terminate a domain name with
the Registrar, Registry or with ICANN ?