By Mr. Algimantas Guzevicius

Academic and Research Network in Lithuania (LITNET), which is an association of academic research and other non-profit organizations, is currently the State authority responsible for the management of the country code top level domain name (ccTLD) "lt".

Domain names shall be registered on "first come, first served" basis. Both, foreign and local, legal and natural entities can apply for registration of ccTLD in Lithuania. Foreign entities have the same rights for registration as local entities. A local presence is not required and the applicant is not obliged to have an already registered trademark or company/subsidiary in Lithuania.

The applicant is served with a domain name, which is easily associated with the organisation of the applicant. This can be done by registering a well-known or common abbreviation for the organisation, trademarks or the complete organisation name. Applicants are not limited on numbers of domain names.

As in many countries, the domain name may contain all Latin letters in the range a-z and numerals 0-9. The character "-" is used for the separation of the symbols (it can not be used at the beginning or the end of the name). Minimal length of the domain name is three letters, except if two-letter domain name is registered as a trademark. Maximal length of a domain name is 63 symbols.

The anatomy of a domain name is following: the top-level domain (TLD), the second level second-level domain (SLD), the subdomain, etc. The top-level domain is usually made by using the country code "lt". The second-level domain is composed according to the name of organization or the name of Internet WWW. The second-level domain names are made from the names of the service station, protocol or the names of Internet service or lower names of that hierarchy. The domain name is composed strictly according that hierarchy: from the name of the lowest domain name level till the highest separated by periods, called "dots", for example, where "lt" is a top-level domain, "office" is the second-level domain, "name" is the subdomain. The use of "generic names" (such as AC, CO, GO, RE, COM, EDU, GOV, NET, ORG, etc.) under the "lt" domain is phased out and no new registrations will be done in these categories.

At the moment there is no special legislation dealing with the domain name registration in Lithuania. There are certain rules that are applicable to registered ccTLD’s in Lithuania, namely, the domain names can not be used in:

1. International law and/or for the execution of computer crimes, such as:

  • Computer cheating;
  • Computer falsification;
  • Damage for the computer data or programs;
  • Computer sabotage;
  • Illegal invasion;
  • Illegal appropriation of the data;
  • Illegal access to the information or data.

2. Activities that are prohibited by the law of the Republic of Lithuania:

  • Earning by the illegal economic and commercial activities on a large scale having no enterprise, without a patent or license;
  • Spreading the pornography;
  • Violation of copyright;
  • Violation of industrial property right;
  • Other crimes, provided in criminal code of Lithuanian;
  • Violations provided by administrative code of Lithuanian.

The domain name is public, so it must be composed not to disturb the moral norms and not to mislead the users by its content or dependency. The registrant can not violate the rights of the third party. In case of a conflict between domain name registrants as to the rights to a particular domain name, the registration authority, i.e. LITNET, will have no role or responsibility other than to provide contact information to both parties. The usage of the domain name will be stopped until the conflict is resolved.

So far, there are about 13,500 domain names already registered in Lithuania, and it is believed that the number of domain names will increase in the coming years. Up to now no domain names disputes have reached the courts. However, if such disputes occur, it would be difficult to resolve all problems just on a basis of existing domain name registration rules and Trademark law, since the Trademark law is silent on the issue of trademark's infringement and use on the Internet. The LITNET allows so-called "inactive registrations", therefore, it is advisable to better register a particular domain name even if the domain name is not intended to be used in the nearest future. It may be much cheaper compared to the expenditures involved in recovery of a domain name occupied by a cybersquatter.

The content of this article does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on in that way. Specific advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.