Anwalt Deutschland Fachanwalt deutsch German Lawyer Germany English language Attorney-at-law English Lawyer germany french advocat francais allemagne French Attorney in Germany spanish language abogado alemania Spanish Attorney/ Lawyer in Germany Italian language avvocatto germania Italian Lawyer/ Attorney Germany Portuguese language advogado Alemanha Portuguese Polish speaking Lawyer/ Attorney in Germany adwokat Niemcy Polish Japanese speaking Lawyer/ Attorney in Germany Bengoshi Doitsu Japanese Attorney/ Lawyer Vietnamese language luat su Vietnamese Korean speaking lawyer/ attorney in Germany, Europe Korean Chinese language Lawyer/ Attorney in Germany/ Europe Chinese Lawyer/ Attorney russian speaking advokat Germaniya Russian



Law Office   Lawyers/ Patent Attorneys   Main practice areas   Legal matters   Client Service   Litigation   Free templates   Offices   Brochures   Contact   News   Press   FAQ  

Attorneys at law



Competition law  Copyright law  Trademark law  Design law  Patent law  Media law  Online law  Food law  Public law  ITC

German Lawyer patent attorney Germany trademark attorney design attorney european law german attorney hannover germany based attorney at law for ip law it law competition law european law and regulations in germany litigation file suits representative  file german trademark law tm  competition copyright design food law media law patents contract law online law internet law patent law design protection file german patent utility model law lawyer it law contract law agricultural law architectural law banking law civil cervis law domain law employee inventions law financial penalties law food law guarantee law labour law land law pharma law state aid law waste law

Start   IP Application Services   Contact   Online enquiry   Imprint   Data Protection 



...Start ...Main practice areas ...Online law
Main practice areas 
Administrative law 
Agricultural law 
Animal law 
Anti Trust law 
Architectural law 
Banking law 
Brokerage law 
Business law 
Capital Market law 
Civil law 
Civil service law 
Commercial law 
Commercial Criminal law 
Competition law 
Construction law 
Contract law 
Copyright law 
Corporate law 
Cosmetic law 
Customs law 
Data protection law 
Design law 
Distribution law 
Domain law 
Domain Arbitration law 
Education law 
Employee invention law 
Energy law 
Engineering law 
Environment law 
European law 
Event law 
Family law 
Film law 
Financial penalties law 
Fiscal Offences law 
Food law 
Gambling law 
Guarantee law 
Higher Education law 
Image rights 
Industrial law 
Inheritance law 
Insolvency law 
Insurance law 
International law 
International Trade law 
Internet law 
IP law 
IT law 
Labour law 
Land law 
Law on associations 
M&A law 
Mail order law 
Media law 
Medical malpractice law 
Medical Products law 
Medicine law 
MLM law 
Music law 
Online law 
Patent law 
Pharma law 
Plant variety law 
Photography law 
Press law 
Publishing law 
Public commercial law 
Public procurement law 
Purchasing law 
Real Estate law 
Restaurant law 
Sales representaves rights 
Sports law 
State Aid law 
Students rights 
Tax law 
Technology law 
Tenancy law 
Telecommunications law 
Terms and conditions law 
Tort law 
Trademark law 
Traffic law 
Transport law/Shipping law 
Waste law 
Wine law 
Lawyers/ Patent Attorneys 
Main practice areas 


Lawyers Hannover
Attorneys at law
Patent AttorneYs
Trademark Attorneys
Design Attorneys


Georgstr. 48
30159 Hannover

Tel +49.511/357356-0
Fax +49.511/357356-29


Lawyers Munich

Landshuter Allee 8-10
80637 Munich

Tel.: +49.89.2500790-50
Fax: +49.89.2500790-59


Lawyers Vienna

Trauttmansdorffgasse 8
1130 Vienna

Tel.: +43.1.8761517
Fax: +49.511.357356-29



Online law

What is a domain name?

A domain name is an “electronic” address enabling computers to communicate with other computers (which have an address as well) via the internet. Domain names can be used as addresses for e-mail, websites and so forth.

For instance, a website within the www (World Wide Web) can be accessed by requesting HTTP stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol and defines the protocol for communication (such communication requires mutual “understanding” of the “language” and thus a standardised protocol). .de represents the so-called TLD (Top Level Domain). “Top Level” means that according to the code .de a server in Germany is accessed or rather addressed. Apart from such national Top Level Domains (.at for Austria, .ch for Switzerland and so on) there are the following conventional TLDs: .com for commercial enterprises, .org for non-commercial institutions, .net for network providers, .edu for educational institutions (the latter especially in the USA). The Second Level Domain iprecht followed by the TLD separated by a dot represents the complete (basic) address. then is an example of an e-mail address and is an example of a website address –. The latter is a complete URL (Uniform Resource Locator), since the added index.htm points to a particular file located on a computer with the address in the www. htm or html describes the “language” of the file “index” as HTML (Hypertext Markup Language).

Domain names such as can be accessed from all over the world. This means that the domain name is used only once worldwide. could be used by another domain owner, though. Similarly, or a similar domain name could be used by third parties. Even the slightest deviation of just one sign or another TLD point to another -similarly unique -address.

What should be taken into consideration when choosing a domain?

Consider the example of finding a name for a law office named “Horak Rechtsanwälte” with the respective subtitle “Horak Weber Lehr Horak”. Appropriate domain names could be among others,, Another option might be or The latter names are relatively long though and thus quite impractical. The name on the contrary, is a short imaginary acronymic term.

Usually, quite a number of activities in an enterprise can be handled via internet (by means of a computer). This number is most likely to be increasing steadily. Manufacturers, merchants, service providers and others can offer or at least present their services on a worldwide platform available at any moment. The way things are now, e-commerce or B2B (business to business) seems to provide an opportunity for all participants to develop new information, sales or marketing strategies. A company’s real address in a prestigious location can be replaced by a domain name and online contents that place the company in a similarly prestigious position at a cost below comparison. The domain name is a central aspect in all possible internet activities of a company.

In order to locate this website or to e-mail us, you have to know our domain name. Therefore, the name of a company or trademark should easy to remember. Short domain names are typically preferred. The following basic principles should be taken into consideration when determining what your domain name will be:

  • It is in principle out of question to use existing trademarks, company names, advertising slogans etc. of third parties as one’s own domain name (it is recommendable research if certain trademarks or company names already exist). The same applies to “similar” terms and in principle to authorities, communities and the like. As a rule, the legal owner has “better right” to his domain name and can thus possibly claim its use. Using such names may be highly fined.
  • You should avoid using purely generic terms, such us “”, “”, “” etc., since their legal status is still unclear. An option is to merely register a domain name, without offering any contents or with general contents only. The Higher Regional Court in Hamburg considered the domain name “”, a highly generic term for a platform for people willing to share a flat, to be violating competition law. An appeal to the Federal Supreme Court has not been ruled on yet, but was accepted (i.e. worth considering).
  • You can often use your company’s name, its abbreviation an so on to your advantage. This name, however, might have already been assigned. It is a typical of the internet that a name has already been used someplace else in this world – who is entitled to the name can in most cases be decided out of court and usually depends upon whose rights to the name are the oldest and which nationalities are involved (sometimes certain variations of a domain name can be considered).
  • You should avoid using misleading domain names as well as names that violate competition law or that are illegal in any other way, shape or fashion.
  • To a certain degree, the service offered is often reflected in the imaginary term.
  • If not all TLDs are available for the domain name of your choice, it might be necessary to examine the ones already registered, since the domain owners might have already acquired a right to the name by already using it with another TLD. If, on the contrary, all TLDs are still available, it is advisable to consider multiple registration. Usually, .de and .com are relevant for a company operating in Germany. In some cases you might consider registering for all German-speaking countries (.ch, .de, .at). Similar domains should be registered as well, so that potential users of your website will find the right address even when they do not use the exact spelling.

If your desired domain name has already been assigned, there are the following alternative solutions. You might choose an alternative name, but sometimes you can just choose another TLD, as long as it does not infringe the rights of the owner of a domain already existing or another third party. Another solution is making the current domain owner “sell” his domain. Lastly, the current domain owner can assert no or  “worse” rights to the domain and thus make the domain available.

What is the relationship of domain names to trademarks?

Registering a domain at a private institution does not automatically give you the absolute right, but merely relative rights. The absolute right includes the right against “everyone” (e.g. trademark right), relative rights on the contrary are usually a contractual regulation between two parties which do not interfere with the rights of third parties. If an internet service provider registers a domain at DENIC, certain facts change (the name is assigned and cannot be assigned for the second time), but does not change the legal status against third parties. If a third party has a trademark right to the name, he can claim the release of the domain name.

Exploitation of a domain can create trademark protection, possibly in the form of the so called title protection. There are, however, substantial differences:

  • Trademark protection results from a registration of concrete services or goods in a particular country. Accordingly, trademark protection exists only in that respective country, and not in others. A domain is accessible either worldwide or nowhere.
  • In the area of domain names, there is no risk of “confusion” or “similarity”. If the trademark “iprecht” is registered in Germany as a trademark for legal counselling at the Trademark Office, the protection is extended to include similar names and services. A domain as such without further rights, does not have such a “protection area”, which means that even the slightest alternatives can be registered.
  • The owner of a trademark is obliged to exploit his trademark, otherwise trademark rights expire. This does not apply to a domain owner, who is not obliged to exploit his domain.
  • Trademarks are registered for specific goods/services. Therefore, it is possible that one trademark is registered for two different companies with different products. Thus, another enterprise might register the trademark “iprecht” for bicycles without infringing the trademark right. This does not apply to domains. If two enterprises want the same domain, this leads to a conflict, regardless of the activity or the seat of the enterprise, the latter concerning especially .com-domains.

What is the use of registering a trademark?

Registering a trademark can provide supportive protection against third parties and is recommended, since a registered trademark, contrary to a domain, secures a sole right (spatially limited as it may be). Thus, a trademark might create legal certainty. However, not every term is suitable for a trademark, and moreover, there might be rights already existing to the name, so that additional trademark protection is sometimes redundant (e.g. company names).

Domain grabbing

Trade with domain names, i.e. registration without use, sale and purchase are not per se illegal, but nothing to complain about.

However, some of the domains offered for sale have been registered because there are more or less known respective companies, brands, etc., that are supposed to buy the domain name at the highest possible price. This activity, called domain grabbing, is illegal and enterprises that have suffered from it might claim a release, without having to pay any “purchasing price” for it.

Steps to protection of a domain

While looking for a domain name, you should first of all pay attention to the rights of third parties. This requires constant research as far as the availability of a domain is concerned.

Moreover, from the legal point of view, a trademark search is advisable, in order to avoid infringement of a trademark. Such a search should cover company names as well. In many cases, similarity search is also advisable.

When a search concerning trademarks, company names and domain names has been completed successfully, the domain can be registered. Afterwards, you should investigate if a trademark registration is advisable.

What information do we need in order to secure your rights?

We need the following information to check and verify the registration of domain names:

  • Name of the domain, including the desired TLD (e.g. .de, .com), and, if necessary, alternative names
  • Name and address of the potential domain owner
  • Description of the occupation of the domain owner (one sentence is usually enough)
  • Data on a trademark application or registration for an identical or similar term (if available)
  • Name, address, phone and fax number of the person who will be responsible for the administration of the domain (the so called admin-c) as well as the person who will be responsible for technical matters (the so called admin-tech)
  • Do you want us to perform research concerning the domain, trademark and companies and do you want us to check the possibility of registration of a trademark?

Please contact

Michael Horak, graduate engineer, LL.M.


German IP Law, Information relating to patents, trademarks and licences, with further reading comprising judgements, commentaries, downloads and links

IT Law Germany: Information on IT law, online law and domain law

horak law office germany hannover lawyer representative compliance design infringement warning letter business start up law guarantee warranty liability border seizure leasing trademark infringement mediation minimum wage patent attorney patent infringement pro bono legal advice piracy product piracy brand piracy counterfeit litigation arbitration disputes renovation compensation online sales youtube pinterest instagram copyright infringement deutsch german law german court lawyer litigator german litigator hannover english

© German lawyer Michael Horak 2002-2018

 trademarks patents designs law lawyer german law firm litigator litigation file court suit attorney Germany patent attorney agricultural law architectural law contract law employee inventions law medical malpractice law pharma law terms and conditions law gtc waste law print  attorney at law hannover germany europe trademark competition law save attorney solicitor hannover stuttgart berlin munich german law firmback  german law european law european lawyer specialist expert german law competition law germany copyright law german design lawyer food attorney media law germany online and computer lawyers patent law patent application telecommunications law office trademark law firm classical and modern physics solid state physics mechanics Laser Physics Electrical electronic radiofrequency technologies Telecommunications telematics Mechatronics Information Technology Data Processing Technology image processing technology semiconductor technology consumer electronics computer hardware IT technology software telecommunications automation optics Atomic Physics Molecular Physics Engineering Construction Automotion shipbuilding aircraft Drive Technology Control Technology Process Engineering Production Engineering Production Technology Packaging Paper Technique Product Development Measurement Control Engineering Process Technology Appliances Small Appliances Food Technology Aerospace safety technology power plant technology material technology steelmaking alloys nanotechnology plastics energy technology renewable energy Life Sciences Medical Biology Biophysics biotechnology Microbiology Cell Biology Neurobiology Molecular Biology gene therapy bioinformatics Pharmacy Pharmacology agents Biochemistry Chemistry Physical Chemistry Organic Chemistry Inorganic Chemistry Pharma antibody technology biosimilar generic diagnostic plant biotechnology diagnostic technology implants Immunology enzyme replacement therapy proteins muteins enzymes Transgenic cytokines, ribozymes, antisense RNA, RNAi Virology GM microorganisms plants animals human medicine food polymers catalysts lithography PhotographyOnline-Request