3 October 2016Jurisdiction reportsAurélia Marie

Domain name protection made simple

Like other similar procedures in the field of domain names, the French ADR procedure allows plaintiffs to obtain the withdrawal or transfer of .fr domain names.

However, there are some particular rules.

First, the domain name must be registered in conformity with the AFNIC’s naming charter. One of these conditions is that the registrant must be domiciled in France or be of French nationality. An administrative contact located in France, having an effective address in France, and one or several technical contacts must be designated.

This means that the administrative contact, when this is a company, must have a French address that can be confirmed through the available databases. When this is a natural person, he or she must be able to prove that they have held a French address for more than three months before the domain name registration.

When the domain name appears to have been registered by someone who was not eligible to own a .fr, or by someone for whom the references given are not correct, AFNIC can decide to cancel or block it. Anyone can report that concern to AFNIC through an online request, and this is a very easy and straightforward procedure to neutralise a domain name.

When a .fr is filed with a request that the personal data remain confidential, it is possible to request that AFNIC waives confidentiality. The applicant must give reasons why it is requesting such a waiver. Most often, this request is filed because the domain name was registered in contravention of prior intellectual property rights, so the applicant can explain that it needs to have the name and address of the registrant to claim against it.

However, the owner of the prior IP rights quite often realises that this data does not correspond to any effective address. This is not an obstacle to the launching of an ADR as the Syreli request procedure provides that the information to be given in relation to the registrant is known by the applicant. If the address that was given is not an accurate one, and if the administrative or technical contacts are not real, it will be for the registrant to bear the consequences.

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