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Dealing with .nz domain name disputes

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In New Zealand .nz domain names are registered on a first-come, first-served basis. This means that once you have a domain name, so long as you have registered it in good faith and keep it current, you can probably hold it for as long as you like. This policy ensures that .nz domain name holders are protected and can build their online presence in a safe and secure environment.

However, should people feel that a .nz domain name has been registered unfairly, the Domain Name Commission runs a Dispute Resolution Service (DRS). This is an independent and impartial service that has been created to provide an alternative to the court system.

Major advantages of this service - especially when compared to its .com equivalent - is that it is quick, convenient and affordable. In fact, most cases that have gone to the DRS have been at no cost to the complainant.

Essentially the DRS states that anyone who disputes the rights to a .nz domain name must prove two things:

  1. They’ve the rights to a name that is identical or similar to the disputed name.
  2.  That whoever has already registered the domain name has done so unfairly. This second rule can mean a lot of things, but it often has to do with people who are using domain names to divert traffic to their own website, using it in phishing schemes, or registering domain names just so their competitors can’t.

 The DRS does not deal with:

  1. Complaints about a website’s content.
  2. Domain names that do not end with .nz.

 At the end of the day, if someone registers a .nz domain name and it sensibly relates to their business, hobby or interest, chances are they can keep it for as long as they want. If people purposely register a .nz domain name that is the exactly the same as their competitor’s business trading name, then they probably won’t be able to.

 For more information about the DRS visit dnc.org.nz/content//Final_Dispute.pdf.  If you do wish to use the service read through the material and either proceed with the necessary steps or seek legal advice. You should be aware that any rulings made will be published online.

You may also contact us us with any questions you have.