The Management of Internet Names and Addresses:
Intellectual Property Issues


WIPO Survey of Country Code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs)


While the WIPO Process is directed primarily towards the gTLDs, it was considered that the experience of ccTLDs regarding intellectual property issues raised by domain names may offer valuable insights. Consequently, as proposed in WIPO’s Interim Report, a survey was conducted to gather information on the impact on intellectual property of the practices and procedures adopted by a representative group of ccTLD registration authorities.

The 35 ccTLDs surveyed by WIPO were selected on the basis of their number of domain name registrations (both large and small), geographic representation and diverse registration procedures. The questionnaire was devised to obtain information concerning the registration authorities' procedures and experiences in domain name registrations relating to three main areas:

(i) registration practices and procedures;

(ii) dispute resolution; and

(iii) experiences with registration operations and disputes involving domain names.



.cc Response


Argentina .ar X 70,919
Australia .au 82,094
Austria .at X 37,754
Belgium .be X 15,938
Brazil .br 59,628
Bulgaria .bg
Canada .ca
Chile .cl X 7,500
China .cn X 19,608
Czech Republic .cz
Denmark .dk X 93,181
Egypt .eg X 1,135
France .fr X 37,174
Germany .de X 340,124
Hungary .hu X 7,000
India .in
Ireland .ie
Israel .il X 10,000
Italy .it X 51,446
Japan .jp X 63,678
Malaysia .my X 4,700
Mexico .mx X 14,400
Netherlands .nl X 70,985
New Zealand .nz X 31,161
Norway .no 25,160
Niue .nu 34,688
Senegal .sn X 87
Singapore .sg X 9,401
South Africa .za 3,538
Spain .es X 11,580
Sweden .se X 36,152
Switzerland .ch X 64,967
United Arab Emirates .ae
United Kingdom .uk X 229,954
Venezuela .ve X 2,000

In a few instances, ccTLD registration authorities have requested that their answers remain confidential and, in these circumstances, although statistically represented, the name of the ccTLD is not disclosed.



Registration Practices & Procedures


  1. Does the ccTLD operate an "open" domain, or are there restrictions on who may register a domain name (e.g., requirement that an applicant be resident in the country of the ccTLD)? If "restricted", please state the restrictions:
  2. A significant majority (71%) of ccTLD registration authorities operate restricted domains, while the remaining domains (for example, .at, .dk, .mx, .nz, .ch and .uk) are open to all applicants. In those ccTLDs that place restrictions on which applicants may apply for registration, the most common restrictions were a requirement of residence (for example, .fr, .de, .it, .be, .my, .es, .se, .nl and .ve), or registration of the company or its legal representative in the country. Some ccTLDs limit the numbers of domains which any one applicant or organization may register, for example, 10 domains per person in .il, one domain per organization in .it. Others require official certification by the national authorities, for example, .cl requires an identifier given by the Chilean tax-office.

  3. Does the ccTLD formalize the terms and conditions of the domain name registration agreement with an applicant? If 'yes', how (e.g., by an electronic/ paper document defining the relationship between the parties)?
  4. o Yes o No
    Total: 19 Total: 5
    = 79% = 21%

    Total online contracts = 13

    Total paper contracts = 6

    One ccTLD, .uk, issues a Registration Certificate to the registrant or its agent, as well as sending an e-mail message, confirming that the registration has been successful and refering to the terms and conditions at The registrar of .sg requires applicants to submit an on-line contract via e-mail, and also sends a letter of confirmation outlining its rules and regulations. Another authority, .it, signs a contract with the ISPs which provide the service to domain name applicants, and also requires the applicants to sign a letter acknowledging responsibility. Similarly, in .nl, both registries and registrars sign an Indemnity Statement, and the applicant also signs an Indemnity Statement with the registrar. A number of other registration authorities (for example, .cl, .es, .se, .be) post their terms of registration on-line, and also require applicants to sign a written agreement.

  5. Does the ccTLD require the applicant to provide the following contact details upon registration?:
  6. (a) the applicant's name:

    (b) the applicant's postal address:

    (c) the applicant's e-mail address:

    (d) the applicant's telephone number:

    (e) the applicant's facsimile number:

    (f) the name of an authorized contact person (if the applicant is an organization, association or corporation):

    (g) the primary nameserver (hostname and netaddress):

    (h) the secondary nameserver (hostname and netaddress):

  7. Does the ccTLD require the applicant to certify upon registration that their ownership and use of the domain name will not interfere with or infringe the intellectual property rights of any third party?
  8. o Yes o No
    Total: 17 Total: 7
    = 71% = 29%
  9. Does the ccTLD require the applicant to certify upon registration that the information they provide to the ccTLD is true and accurate?
  10. o Yes o No
    Total: 18 Total: 6
    = 75% = 25%
  11. Does the ccTLD take any steps to verify that the information provided by the applicant is true and correct? (e.g. on-line data validation mechanisms, or automatic confirmation by e-mail). If 'yes', please describe such steps:
  12. o Yes o No
    Total: 13 Total: 11
    = 54% = 46%

    A number of registration authorities verified applicants' identities with on-line e-mail checks (for example, .my, .nz, .ch), while others required companies to present certificates of registration from the national authorities either as a matter of course (for example, .cl, .fr, .nl, .eg), or in the authorities' discretion (for example, .it, .jp). Verification is only partial in .uk, where applicants are checked against the authorized national register of companies only if applying to register in the restricted second-level domains of, or

  13. Does the ccTLD require the applicant to notify the ccTLD of any change in the information provided at registration (i.e., maintain up-to-date registration information)?
  14. o Yes o No
    Total: 17 Total: 7
    = 71% = 29%
  15. Does the ccTLD take steps to maintain the confidentiality of information provided by applicants for domain name registration? If 'yes', please specify the steps taken:
  16. o Yes o No
    Total: 11 Total: 13
    = 46% = 54%

    A majority of ccTLDs take no steps to maintain the confidentiality of registrants' contact details, and in most cases make the information freely available on Whois databases (for example, .my, .mx, .nz, .sn, .se, .ch, nl, .uk, .be, .eg). However, even in such domains, registrars may ensure that their practices comply with applicable national privacy laws (for example, .nz and .uk). Of those ccTLDs that do take steps to maintain confidentiality (for example, .cl, .ch, .dk, .fr, .il, .it, .sg, .es, .ve, .jp), a number will release information only to parties that have entered a contract with the registry and have thereby committed to following the ccTLDs' policy for acceptable use of the contact details (for example, .ch). Other registration authorities undertake to provide the information freely, but only upon request (for example, .mx and .dk).

  17. Does the ccTLD make registrants' contact information available to third parties in any circumstances? If 'yes', please specify in what circumstances such information is made publicly available:
  18. o Yes o No
    Total: 20 Total: 4
    = 83% = 17%

    A clear majority of ccTLDs make registrants' contact details available in some circumstances, usually through publication on the registration authorities' web sites, or via Whois (for example, .at, .cl, .ch, .dk, .fr, .de, .il, .it, .mx, .nz, .sg, .es, .ch, .nl, .ve, .uk, .jp). The registration authority for .fr makes such information available on Whois, but forbids its use for commercial purposes. The registration authorities for .uk and .il note that applicants are notified in their registration contract that their contact information will be in the public domain.

  19. Does the ccTLD take any steps if an applicant is found to have provided false or inaccurate information, particularly in the case of false or inaccurate contact details (e.g., suspension, take-down or de-activation of domain name registration)? If 'yes', please describe:
  20. o Yes o No
    Total: 21 Total: 3
    = 88% = 12%

    A clear majority of ccTLDs take action if an applicant is found to have provided false or inaccurate contact information (with the exception of .cn, .nz and .uk). The most common actions are described as warning, suspension, take-down, de-activation, and revocation of the domain names. The registration authority for .dk will put a domain name on hold for up to three months, while the authorities for .es, .be and .de warn the domain name holder to correct the data before taking action, although no indication is given of the length of the period before subsequent de-activation. The authorities for .nl and .sg will revoke the name if the organization holding the domain name ceases to be active. The authority for .mx, after de-activating a name takes the additional step of not re-registering the name for a further 30 days.

  21. Does the ccTLD require payment of a registration fee?
  22. o Yes o No
    Total: 21 Total: 3
    = 88% = 12%
  23. Does the ccTLD require payment of the registration fee before activation of the domain name registration?
  24. A small minority (12%) of registration authorities (.cn, .de and .jp) require payment of registration fees before a domain name is activated. The more common procedure, by which domain names are activated without requiring payment (88% of ccTLDs), was identified by a substantial number of commentators in the WIPO Process as facilitating abusive registrations by cybersquatters and warehousers.

  25. Does the ccTLD require payment of re-registration (i.e. renewal) fees?
  26. In contrast to the previous response, of those ccTLDs that do require a fee to be paid, a significant majority (88% of ccTLDs) also require payment of renewal fees (only .jp does not).

  27. Does the ccTLD take any steps in the event that a domain name holder fails to pay any required fee (e.g., suspension or cancellation of domain name registration)? If 'yes', please describe the steps taken by the ccTLD:

    The majority (83%) of those ccTLDs that do require a fee to be paid, take some action if the domain name holder fails to pay the fee. Only .jp does not take such action. In most cases (for example, .cl, .fr, .my, .nx, .sn, .se, .ve), non-payment results in cancellation of the domain name. Some registration authorities describe their procedures for warning applicants by e-mail, fax and/or post (for example, .de, .sg, .es, .ch, .be), or waiting for a 30-day period (for example, .mx, .cn, .il), before suspending and ultimately de-activating names. The registration rules and procedures of the ccTLDs detail these actions, for example;

  28. Does the ccTLD register domain names solely on a first-come, first-served basis (i.e., when processing an application for a domain name, does the ccTLD perform any checks, other than ascertaining whether the domain name applied for has already been registered)? Please describe the ccTLD's policy in this respect:
  29. A significant majority (88%) of ccTLDs operate on a strictly first-come, first-served basis of registration. A number of registration authorities noted that they also do not permit reservation of names (for example, .cn, .fr. .it). Some registration authorities operate on a different basis, for example, .se will register only names that are identical to the applicant's company name, regardless of priority of application. A number of ccTLDs, although operating under the general priority principle, take some procedural steps to ensure that all of their rules of registration are met before a domain name is allocated. For example:

  30. Does the ccTLD take any (other) steps to prevent 'cybersquatting' or 'warehousing2' of domain names? If 'yes', please describe:
  31. A majority (67%) of ccTLDs take steps to prevent abusive registration of domain names, while a minority (33%) do not (for example, .at, .dk, .nz, .uk, .be, .eg). The preventive steps taken by the registration authorities vary widely. For example:

  32. Does the ccTLD sub-divide its country code domain space into differentiated sub-domains?
  33. Two thirds of ccTLDs differentiate their domain space into second-level domains (only. cl, .dk, .de, .es, .nl, and .be do not).

    (a) Please specify the categories of sub-domains:

    There is wide variation in the number of categories of sub-domains into which ccTLDs are differentiated, ranging from four (.at) to forty-two (.fr) such second-level domains. Most registration authorities follow a common pattern, sub-dividing into second-level categories for education, organizations, police, military, government, network services, geographic regions and commercial services, with some regional variations. For example,

    (b) Does the ccTLD maintain criteria for registration in sub-domains, or can applicants select freely which sub-domain they wish to be registered in?

    o Criteria are maintained o Open choice of applicant
    Total: 14 Total: 5
    = 74% = 26%

    A significant majority of ccTLDs maintain, or regulate, the second-level domain in which an applicant's domain name will be registered. A small number of ccTLDs allow applicants free choice (for example, .at, .it, .sn, .ch).

    (c) If, 'criteria are maintained' by the ccTLD, do they serve merely as guidelines, or are they enforced?

    o Guidelines o Enforced o Not applicable
    Total: 7 Total: 11 Total: 6
    = 29% = 46% = 25%

    A significant number (46%) of ccTLDs enforce the distribution of users into appropriate second-level domains (for example, .fr, .il, .mx, .nz, .sg, .se, .ve, .uk, .jp, .eg). A number of registration authorities maintain some of their second-level domains, but not others, for example:

    (d) If criteria are 'enforced' by the ccTLD, please describe how:

    Registration authorities vary as to the methods they use to enforce their second-level domains. For example:

    (e) Please comment on whether you consider any ccTLD practice of differentiation into sub-domains has been useful in avoiding intellectual property disputes (particularly in terms of permitting identical names to co-exist):

    Most registration authorities indicated that they did not consider the procedure of differentiation into second-level domains to have been useful in preventing disputes (for example, .il, .nz, .ch, .uk). A small number, however, indicated that the policy had been very useful in their experience (for example, .fr, .se).

  34. Please describe any other registration procedures or requirements of the ccTLD you consider to be important:

    Dispute Resolution


  36. Does the ccTLD have an established policy for the resolution of disputes that may arise between the holder of a domain name and a third party?
  37. o Yes o No
    Total: 11 Total: 13
    = 46% = 54%

    Almost half the ccTLDs have an established dispute resolution policy (for example, .cl, .dk, .de, .il, .it, .mx, .sg, .ch, .ve, .uk, .jp), while a small majority have no established policy (for example, .at, .cn, .fr, .my, .nz, .sn, .es, .se, .nl, .be, .eg). The registration authority for .mx noted that any disputes in its domain are sent to the national industrial property office (IMPI), for resolution.

  38. Does the ccTLD require applicants, in the registration agreement, to submit to the jurisdiction of any particular court of law, in the event of a dispute arising between the holder of a domain name and a third party?
  39. o Yes o No
    Total: 10 Total: 14
    = 42% = 58%

    A majority of ccTLDs require domain name holders to submit to a particular court of law in the event of a dispute (for example, .at, .dk, .de, .il, .mx, .sg, .se, .ch (only for disputes between registry and registrant), .ml, .eg), while the rest specify no jurisdiction (for example, .cn, .fr, .it, .nz, .sn, .es, .ve, .uk, .be, .jp).

  40. Does the ccTLD's registration agreement provide the applicable law to apply in the event of any dispute arising between the holder of the domain name and a third party?
  41. o Yes o No
    Total: 10 Total: 14
    = 42% = 58%
  42. Does the ccTLD require applicants, in the registration agreement, to submit to any alternative dispute resolution (ADR) procedure (i.e., a procedure, other than in a court of law, for the resolution of disputes, e.g., conciliation, mediation, arbitration or administrative dispute resolution) in the event of a dispute arising? If 'yes', please specify the procedure of alternative dispute resolution:

    o Yes o No o Not applicable
    Total: 5 Total: 12 Total: 7
    = 21% = 50% = 29%

    Half the ccTLDs surveyed do not require applications to submit to alternative dispute resolution (for example, .dk, .fr, .de, .my, .mx, .nz, .sn, .sg, .ch, .nl, .uk), while those that do, use the services of an arbitrator (for example, .cl, .se, .ve). The registration authority for .uk facilitates the use by registrants of alternative dispute resolution services, solely on a voluntary basis.

  44. Does the ccTLD become involved in any significant, formal or informal, way in the resolution of the dispute (e.g., to encourage applicants to mediate or settle their dispute)? If 'yes', please describe how the ccTLD is involved:
  45. A majority (63%) of registration authorities do not become involved in the resolution of disputes which occur in their domains (for example, .at, .cl, .cn, .fr, .il, .mx, .sn, .sg, .se, .ch, .nl, .jp, .eg). Of the significant number (38%) of ccTLDs that do become involved, almost all seek to informally mediate the dispute, without becoming substantially involved (for example, .uk, .my, .be). Some registration authorities take more of an active role (for example, .it, .es, .ve), while others simply provide information (for example, .ch). Some ccTLDs have adopted different procedures, for example:

  46. Please describe the ccTLD's procedures for implementing decisions resulting from court litigation or alternative dispute resolution proceedings, in the event such decisions affect the status of a domain name (e.g., cancellation or transfer of a domain name):
  47. Almost all registration authorities follow a policy to immediately implement the orders, usually for cancellation or transfer of a domain name, in a certified decision of a competent court (for example, .at), or the national court (for example, .dk), or as determined by an arbitration authority (for example, .cl, .ve). Some registration authorities will implement only final non-appealable decisions of the courts (for example, .nl), whereas others will implement the orders, pre-trial or final, of competent courts (for example, .uk). Some registration authorities follow different procedures, for example:



    Experiences of Registration Operations &
    Disputes involving Domain Names


  48. Please specify the number (if any) of disputes relating to domain names, which are known to have occurred in the ccTLD name-space:
  49. Total number of disputes:
    0 = 4
    1- 10 = 11
    11 - 20 = 3
    100 - 500 = 4
    > 500 = 2

  50. Please indicate the occurrence of use of the following types of dispute resolution:
    1. Resulting in use of the ccTLD dispute resolution policy:
    2. No policy = 13
      0 = 5
      1- 10 = 3
      11 - 20 = 1
      100 - 500 = 2
      > 500 = 0

    3. Resulting in legal action being initiated before the courts:
    4. Unknown = 2
      0 = 10
      1- 10 = 10
      11 - 20 = 1
      >30 = 1

    5. Other:

      Most registration authorities indicated that when disputes arose, the parties reached agreement without becoming involved in formal dispute resolution (for example, .de, .it, .mx, .sg, .nl). The registration authority for .nz indicated that, in its experience, most disputes occurred because of businesses splitting up, causing disputes over who controlled the name, rather than disputes between trademark owners.

  51. Please describe any other experiences of disputes in the ccTLD you consider to be important:

[Annex X follows]


[1] These numbers reflect the total registration as at April 28, 1999. See’s website at

[2] For the purposes of this questionnaire, 'cybersquatting' occurs where a person registers as a domain name the mark, often famous or well-known, of another, taking advantage of the registration practice of first-come, first-served, in the hope of either blocking the owner of the mark from using the mark as a domain name, or being able to sell the domain name to the owner for profit. 'Warehousing' occurs where a person registers many such domain names, thus hoarding a digital collection of marks to be offered for sale for profit.