A recent Ontario Superior Court of Justice decision has
determined that ".ca" domain names are personal property.
This decision clarifies that ".ca" domain names may be
characterized as personal property independently of any
registration in any public office, such as the registration of a
domain name as a trade-mark under the Trade-marks Act
(Canada)1. It also implies that ".ca" domain
names, being personal property, may be subject to a security
interest created by a general security agreement
In Moldservices2, a co-founder of a
company called Mold.ca Inc. (the
"Company") registered domain names
associated with the Company under his own name. The Company and
others subsequently applied for summary judgment to determine
ownership of the domain names in question. In reaching its
conclusion that the domain names were owned by the Company as the
associated registrations were made for the benefit of the Company,
the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (the
"Court") noted that the domain names
were wrongfully converted by one of the co-founders for use by a
The Court's decision has implications for lenders taking a
GSA from a company with associated domain name registrations.
Although a company may not be the registered owner of a domain
name, it may be the beneficial owner of domain names used for its
benefit. A GSA granted by a company may therefore include any
domain name registrations beneficially owned by the company in
addition to those for which it is the registered owner.
While this decision provides an opportunity for a company to
hold a potential beneficial interest in domain names, lenders
should also consider preparing a specific security agreement for
domain names of significant value. In addition, lenders should
ensure that the appropriate registrations of domain names as
trade-marks and appropriate notations for security agreements with
the Registrar of Trade Marks are made under the Trade-marks
Act (Canada) in order to maximize the potential realization
value of the associated domain name.
1 Trade-marks Act (Canada), RSC 1985, c T-13, as
2 Mold.ca et al v Moldservices.ca Inc et al,
Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Court File No. CV-13-480391,
summary judgment granted on January 10,
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