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Ministries seek answers to domain-name fights

Update: July, 25/2015 - 09:35
HCM CITY  (VNS) — A circular jointly issued by the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Information and Communications is necessary to regulate domain name registrations tightly, a conference was told.

Participants at the conference, held in HCM City this week, said the circular should not stipulate tough conditions for companies, such as presenting certificates of recognition for famous brands, when there were no regulations on such recognition.

Domain names on the Internet have become one of the important tools by which companies and the source or origin of products and services can be identified. However, many organisations and individuals have registered domain names that are identical or confusingly similar to those of patented brands, trademarks and geographical indications belonging to other organisations and individuals.

Le Thanh Binh, head of the legal department at Vinamilk, said it was a regulatory requirement for companies to show certificates of recognition for famous brands when they approached Governmental agencies to solve conflicts over domain names. There was a need to formulate criteria for recognition of famous brands to simplify the procedure for companies to prove their qualifications, Binh said.

Speaking during the event, Nguyen Phuong Quynh, deputy chief inspector in the Ministry of Science and Technology, said claims for registration and use of domain names that violated intellectual property (IP) rights had been increasing, and most of the conflicts were resolved through negotiations.

Meanwhile, Nguyen Ky Phung, deputy director of HCM City's Department of Science and Technology, said the laws on IP rights did not correspond with those on information and communications, and this resulted in difficulties in dealing with violations of IP rights.

When the department's inspectors discovered IP rights violations in registration and usage of domain names, the department refered the cases to the Vietnam Internet Network Information Centre, but the centre refused to withdraw the names because there were no rules on revoking domain names that violate IP rights, Phung said.

Some of the participants were of the opinion that there was no connection between domain names and the issue of IP rights.

A representative from TST Tourist said e-commerce was a useful tool for the company and the tourism industry to approach customers, but many individuals owning a large number of domain names in the sector had put them on sale at high prices. Domain names and IP rights were related issues because these individuals had paid very little to register the domain names of famous companies, she said.

Ngo Lam Thuy from Amway Vietnam Co Ltd said domain names similar to those of the firm had caused it trouble for a long time, with unofficial information being posted on websites with similar domain names. She said current regulations on domain name registration were too loose and allowed one individual to register several domain names. This was causing concerns to companies, she added.

The conference was organised by the Inspectorate of the Ministry of Science and Technology and HCM City's Department of Science and Technology. — VNS

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