Friday 12 April 2019

Welsh Top Level Domain Names

ICANN's Head Office
Author Coolcaesar
Licence Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 3.0 unported

Jane Lambert

A domain name is a mnemonic for an address on the internet.  It must have at least two elements:
  • a top-level domain ("TLD") such as ".com" or ".uk"; and
  • a second level domain which can be registered with the operator of the TLD registry.
Usually, there is a third level domain such as "www" for "worldwide web."   In a typical "universal resource locator" such as "" the third level domain name is on the left, the second level domain name is in the middle and the top level domain name is on the right.

Top Level Domains
There are two kinds of TLD:
  • ccTLD (country code top-level domains) such as ".au" for Australia, ".cn" for China, ".de" for Germany, ".fr" for France, ".jp" for Japan and ".uk" for the United Kingdom; and
  • gTLD (generic top-level domains) such as ".com" for a commercial organization, ".org" for an organization and ".net" for a network.
A list of country code top-level domains appears here and a list of the original generic top-level domains appears here.

The domain name system is managed by a California not-for-profit corporation known as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ("ICANN") which is located in Los Angeles. ICANN delegates the administration of TLDs to generic and country code top-level domain operators such as Nominet which runs the ".uk" space and Verisign which runs the ".com" space. 

Geographically Specific gTLDs
Country code TLDs were not originally allocated to political subdivisions of countries.  However, in 2005 ICANN authorized the FundaciĆ³ puntCat to sponsor the registration of TLDs ending in ".cat" as URLs for Catalan language sites or sites about Catalonia.  Further, in 2007 it authorized the registration of ".asia" TLDs for URLs for sites about Asia or the Pacific.  The ".cat" and ".asia" TLDs were not ccTLDs but gTLDs designating specific geographical areas.

New gTLD
In 2012 ICANN invited bids for new gTLDs. These could include TLDs for cities such as ".london" and ".tokyo" and regions such as ".scot" as well as brands and generic names like ".top", ".loan" and ".xyz".  Nominet bid successfully for the right to launch ".cymru" and ".wales" registration services and entered agreements with ICANN for the operation of the ".cymru" and ".wales" TLD spaces on 8 May 2014.

Nominet's Welsh Domain Name Registration Services
Nominet operates its ".cymru" and its ".wales" registration services separately from its ".uk" services.  It markets those services through separate Welsh and English language websites at and The sites promote ".cymru" and ".wales", provide "whois" searches and link to a blog.  Nominet does not register ".cymru" or ".wales" domain names directly. Instead, it introduces applicants to registrars that offer registration services for such TLD.

ICANN requires all operators of gTLD spaces to oblige their registrars to incorporate provisions for resolving certain disputes between trade mark owners and domain name holders known as the Uniform Domain Name Dispute-Resolution Policy ("UDRP") into their domain name registration agreements.  This is quite separate from the Dispute Resolution Service that Nominet offers for the resolution of similar disputes that relate to ".uk" ccTLDs.

Applicant's Representations
Every applicant for the registration or renewal of a ".cymru" or ".wales" domain name must make the following representation and give the following warranty to his or her registrar in accordance with paragraph 2 of the UDRP:
"By applying to register a domain name, or by asking us to maintain or renew a domain name registration, you hereby represent and warrant to us that (a) the statements that you made in your Registration Agreement are complete and accurate; (b) to your knowledge, the registration of the domain name will not infringe upon or otherwise violate the rights of any third party; (c) you are not registering the domain name for an unlawful purpose; and (d) you will not knowingly use the domain name in violation of any applicable laws or regulations. It is your responsibility to determine whether your domain name registration infringes or violates someone else's rights."
The last sentence is perhaps the most important part of this provision.   It is the applicant's responsibility and not the registrar's or Nominet's to ensure that the registration if the domain name will not infringe any other person's trade marks or other intellectual property rights.

Cancellations, Transfers and Changes
Paragraph 3 of the UDRP entitles the registrar to cancel, transfer or otherwise make changes to a domain name registration in any of the following circumstances:
(a)    the domain name holder or his or her agent asks the registrar to make such a change in writing,
(b)    a court or arbitrator of competent jurisdiction orders such a change,
(c)    such a change is ordered by a panellist in an administrative proceeding, or
(d)    in accordance with any other provision of the registration agreement

Administrative Proceedings
Paragraph 4 (a) of the UDRP provides:
"You are required to submit to a mandatory administrative proceeding in the event that a third party (a "complainant") asserts to the applicable Provider, in compliance with the Rules of Procedure, that
(i) your domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights; and
(ii) you have no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
(iii) your domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
In the administrative proceeding, the complainant must prove that each of these three elements are present."
Those proceedings are determined in writing by one or more panellists who are appointed by an accredited domain name dispute resolution service provider.  There is more information about domain name disputes in my article of 15 July 2017 in NIPC Branding,

Anyone wishing to discuss this article or domain names generally should call me on 020 7404 5252 during office hours or send me a message through my contact page. 

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