Domain names have become an important issue in the protection of intellectual property rights.
US courts have held that a website’s domain name signifies its source of origin, and is therefore an important signal to Internet users who are seeking to locate a web resource. Because of the importance of a domain name in identifying the source of a website, the use of a trademark within the domain name of a uniform resource locator (URL) can constitute a trademark violation.
Registration of domain names in the Philippines is quite easy. If a rightful owner finds its domain name already registered or being used in the Philippines by an unauthorised person or entity, the usual recourse is to notify the website’s host to remove or take it down. The owner may also file a case for infringement or unfair competition of a trademark or trade name under Republic Act No. 8293 or the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines (IPC).
The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 (Republic Act No. 10175) was approved on September 12, 2012, and took effect on October 3, 2012. While the cybercrime law focuses on the regulatory policy of the Philippines government on the use of the Internet in disseminating information, it also incorporates a salient provision on IP protection for domain names.
cybercrime, domain names, IP rights