Supreme People's Court Juridical Interpretation by the Supreme People's Court of Several Issues Relating to the Application of Law in Adjudication of Cases of Disputes over Domain Names on Computer Network (2001.7.24)
(Adopted at the 1182nd Meeting of the Adjudication Committee of the Supreme People's Count on 26 June 2001 and has been in force since 24 July 2001)
With a view to duly adjudicating cases of civil disputes over acts of registration and use of domain names on the computer network (hereinafter referred to as the cases of domain name disputes), this Interpretation is hereby made as to the following matters in accordance with the General Principles of the Civil Law of the People's Republic of China (hereinafter referred to as the General Principles of the Civil Law.), the Anti-Unfair Competition Law of the People's Republic of China (hereinafter referred to as the Unfair Competition Law) and the Civil Procedure Law of the People's Republic of China. (hereinafter referred to as the Civil Procedure Law):
Article 1. Where an interested party institutes legal proceedings in the people's court with respect to a civil dispute over an act of registration or use of a domain name on the computer network, and the case complies with the provision of Article 108 of the Civil Procedure Law upon examination, the people's court shall accept the case.
Article 2. Cases of disputes arising as a result of infringement of domain names shall be under the jurisdiction of the people's court of the place where the infringing acts take place or where the defendants have their domicile. Where it is difficult to determine the place where the infringing acts take place or where the defendants have their domicile, the place where the plaintiff finds the equipment, such as the computer terminals with the domain names at issue, may be deemed the place where the infringing acts take place.
Foreign-related cases of domain name disputes include those in which one or both parties thereto are a foreigner, stateless person, foreign enterprise, foreign organization or international organization, or in which the domain names in question are registered overseas. The jurisdiction over foreign-related cases of domain name disputes arising in the territory of the People's Republic of China shall be determined according to the provisions of Part IV of the Civil Procedure Law.
Article 3. The cause of action in a case of domain name dispute is determined according to the nature of the legal relation of the two parties at issue, with the domain name attached to the beginning thereof; where it is difficult to determine the nature of the legal relation, the case may generally be called the case of domain name dispute on computer network.
Article 4. Where a case of domain name dispute it handles falls under the following circumstances, the people's court shall determine that the defendant's act to register or use the domain name constitutes a case of infringement or unfair competition:
(1) The civil rights and interests for which the plaintiff seeks protection are legitimate and valid;
(2) The defendant's domain name or the main part thereof constitutes the reproduction, imitation, translation or transliteration of the plaintiff's well-known mark; or so identical with or so similar to the plaintiff's registered mark or domain name that it creates confusion on the part of the relevant public;
(3) The defendant does not enjoy any right or interest in the domain name or the main part thereof, nor has any justifiable reasons for registration or use of the domain name; and
(4) The defendant registers and uses the domain name in bad faith.
Article 5. The defendant's act proves to fall into any one of the following circumstances, the people's court shall determine that it or he has acted in bad faith:
(1) Registering another person's well-known mark as its or his own domain name for commercial purposes;
(2) Registering or using, for commercial purposes, a domain name identical with or similar to the plaintiff's registered mark or domain name, etc., intentionally creating such confusion with the product or service the plaintiff supplies or the website it hosts as to mislead the network users to visit its or his website or any other site on line;
(3) Having offered the domain name for sale or rental, or assigned it in any other manner at a high price to seek unlawful interests;
(4) Neither using nor being prepared to use the domain name after the registration thereof, but intentionally preventing the right-holder from registering it; or
(5) Acting in any other manner in bad faith.
Where the defendant furnishes evidence that it or he had acquired some reputation for the domain name it or he holds before the domain name dispute arose and that the domain name is distinct from the mark or domain name the plaintiff has registered, or there exists any other circumstance showing that it or he has not acted in bed faith, the people's court may determine that the defendant does not act in bad faith.
Article 6. The people's court, in hearing a case of domain name dispute, may determine, according to law, whether the registered mark in question is well known at the request of the interested party or in the light of the specific circumstances of the case.
Article 7. In hearing a case of domain name dispute, the people's court shall apply the relevant laws and regulations where it falls into the provision of Article 4 of this Interpretation and constitutes a case of infringement, the people's court may apply the provisions of Article 4 of the General Principles of the Civil Law and Article 2, paragraph one, of the Unfair Competition Law, where an act constitutes a case of unfair competition.
Foreign-related cases of domain name disputes shall be handled according to the relevant provisions of Chapter VIII of the General Principles of the Civil Law.
Article 8. Where it determines that an act to register or use a domain name constitutes a case of infringement or unfair competition, the people's court may order the defendant to desist from the infringement and cancel the domain name, or order that the domain name be registered or used by the plaintiff at the request thereof; where actual damages are done to the right-holder, the people's court may order the defendant to compensate therefore.