As a European based manufacturing company who source from China, we have discovered that our products, both genuine and counterfeit, are sold over the internet without our permission. Does this constitute an IPR infringement? What actions are available to us?
The registration of a domain name is a simple process. After searching the various databases1 or engaging the help of a specialized agency to ensure that the domain name has not been registered, the applicant can apply through an authorized domain name registration agency who will handle the registration process before the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC).
Although in the past domain names would only be registered by legal entities, CNNIC now accepts registration by individuals. In either case, the authorized domain name registration agency will be in charge of the registration process.
The cost of registration varies slightly among different agencies, but usually ranges from RMB 100 to 1,000 RMB, based on the length of registration. The applicant for the domain name can choose to register for one year and then renew upon its expiration. Alternatively, depending in the services of the agency, registration for more than one year can be obtained.
What are my options if my company’s domain name has been registered by another company in China?
If your company’s domain name has been registered by another company in China, your first option is to begin negotiations with the company in question and request a transfer of the domain name to your company.
In the event that the negotiation is not successful, you may file for arbitration before the Domain Name Dispute Resolution Centre requesting the transfer of the domain name to your company, based on solid legal grounds. China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Committee (CIETAC) has been authorized by CNNIC to resolve domain name disputes. Usually, hearings are not necessary. A decision will be issued by the Domain Name Dispute Resolution Centre within about 15 days. Further to its decision, any party may bring an action before a court or another arbitration body with 10 days.
Alternatively you can initiate a judicial action to claim before the court that the other company has infringed your rights and request a transfer of the domain name to your company.