On 14 October 1996 the Stichting Internet Domein Registratie NL ("Stichting"), the Dutch authority in charge of domainname registration under the .nl domain, published new rules for the registration of domainnames in the Netherlands. The new rules mark a departure from the previous system where the choice of domainnames was restricted. Under the new rules it is now possible to register a trademark or a second tradename as a domainname. In addition, all other words may be registered as domainnames, with the exception of words and generic names which may create confusion with the public, geographical indications (countrynames are reserved for embassies; names of provinces and municipalities for the respective authorities) as well as names which are contrary to public order or public morality.

As under the old rules, domainnames may only be applied for through an Internet provider who participates in the Stichting, which almost all 140 Internet providers in the Netherlands do.

If the Stichting refuses a domainname, the applicant may lodge an appeal, to be decided by the Board of the Stichting. The new regulations do not provide for a dispute policy or conflict between domainnames and trademarks. Those are left to the Courts to decide.

The rules can be found at http://www.domain_registry.nl.

Available: Intellectuele eigendom in digitaal perspectief (Intellectual property in a digital perspective), Samsom 1996. Chapter 3 on trademarks and domainnames in a digital environment (Merken en domeinnamen in een digitale omgeving) has been written by Wolter Wefers Bettink.

For further information contact Wolter Wefers Bettink at Houthoff, telephone No. +31 (0)20-5772367. You may also send a fax to +31 (0)20-5772703 or e-mail to 100317.2121@compuserve.com. - or enter text search 'Houthoff Advocaten & Notarissen' and 'Business Monitor'.