Domain name nicked?

You came up with the perfect domain name that fully covers the scope of your business, products or services. You're about to register that domain name... but someone else beat you to it. Now what?  

Take quick action

A domain name is not an intellectual property title. The fact that it contains your (company) name does not automatically mean that a domain name belongs to you. When registering domain names, the 'first come, first served' principle applies. This means that the first person to register a particular domain name owns it....

So the message is to register your desired domain name in your name as promptly as possible. Even if you have no plans to build a website for the time being, we recommend registering your domain name anyway so as to prevent someone else from appropriating your desired domain name.

Domain names no longer available?

If your preferred domain name is no longer available, you can try contacting the registrant and see whether you can reach an agreement with them to buy or rent the domain name, for example.

Renting a domain name

If the domain name you had in mind is already registered, you can always try contacting its owner. There might be a chance that you can rent the domain name from the current owner.

Beware! Renting a domain name involves certain risks.

If no agreement seems possible, there is not much else to do but look for a new domain name.

Sometimes a conflict over domain names leads to real legal disputes, especially when someone (usually a company or organisation) believes it is entitled to a domain name that a smart person had registered in the hope of one day capitalising on it.  

Domain name disputes have been around since the commercialisation of the internet. In 1996, for example, a certain Bob from the US "accidentally" registered As you can imagine, this was not very convenient for Microsoft.

Domain names are not only nicked for profit or as an innocent mistake. The political world eagerly uses the so-called 'domain grabbing' as a tool to sling mud. Just ask former president Donald Trump.

Domain name disputes and possible procedures

Did someone register your domain name and does that violate your rights? Then he or she may be obliged to surrender that domain name to you as the rightsholder.

An amicable agreement is the first step to getting that done. If that is not possible, legal proceedings provide the solution.

More information on domain name disputes.

CEPANI, a simple procedure for be domain name disputes

To avoid getting stuck in time-consuming court proceedings to claim a domain name to which you believe you are entitled, CEPANI, the Belgian Centre for Arbitration and Mediation, created what is known as the Alternative Dispute Resolution ( ADR ). This procedure is fast, entirely in writing and avoids sky-high legal costs.