On April 23rd 2019, the Russian Supreme Court adopted Resolution No. 10/2019, which clarified the provisions of Part 4 of the Russian Civil Code relating to intellectual property rights, and therefore to domain names, which are the subject of this article.
Among the clarifications provided, the Russian Supreme Court decided in particular that the commercial courts had jurisdiction to rule on disputes relating to distinctive signs (with the exception of appellations of origin, however), whether the party concerned is an individual person, a private entrepreneur or a company. Previously, the commercial courts and the general courts had jurisdiction based on the identity of the holders of intellectual property rights.
Furthermore, it is increasingly difficult to obtain information on the identity of Russian domain name registrants.
Indeed, although it is possible to make a request to registrars to disclose the identity of domain name registrants, obtaining this information has become increasingly complicated without legal action since many registrars refuse to disclose this information by taking refuge behind applicable legislation or requesting additional documents.
Resolution No. 10/2019 specifies that this information may be obtained through a court by filing a request for disclosure of personal data in legal proceedings. However, this is complicated when the identity of the domain name registrants is unknown. One solution would be to take legal action against registrars and then file a request for disclosure of personal data. It would be then possible to substitute the defendant.
In addition, with regard to infringement of a trademark by registration and use of a domain name, the Russian Supreme Court ruled that trademark infringement is characterized by the use of a domain name for goods and services similar to those designated by the trademark in question, and in some cases still, by registering the domain name only. Consideration should be given to the purpose behind registering the domain name to judge whether there is trademark infringement.
Finally, the Russian Supreme Court provides various additional clarifications. For example, a monetary claim may be filed against the current user of a domain name. In addition, it is possible to request provisional measures in respect of domain names. Finally, in cases concerning domain names, evidence consisting of printed screenshots of websites clearly showing i) the address of the websites in question, ii) the time at which the screenshots were taken and iii) whether they have been verified by the parties to the proceedings is admissible.
These clarifications are welcome. We will keep you informed of any further developments in this regard. Dreyfus is a specialist in domain name protection and defense strategy and can find solutions adapted to your needs. Do not hesitate to contact us.