What is an abusive registration?
An “abusive registration” is basically a domain name registration which is registered to take unfair advantage of another person’s rights, or to be detrimental to, or infringing, another person’s rights. The complainant must show that the complainant has rights in respect of a name or a mark which is identical or similar to the registered domain name, and that in the hands of the registrant, the registration of the domain name is abusive.
Example: An entity named ABC has DEF as its competitor. DEF decides to register abc.co.za as its domain name. This registration would constitute an abusive registration in that by registering abc.co.za, DEF is preventing ABC from registering a domain name that is the same as ABC’s company name.
Section 4 of the regulations provides a number of factors which a complainant can use to prove abusive registration. These include:
- Circumstances showing that the registrant registered a domain name primarily to:
sell, rent or transfer the domain name to the complainant, its competitor or 3rd party for profit;
intentionally prevent the complainant from registering a mark or name to which the complainant has rights;
unfairly disrupt the business of the complainant; or
prevent the complainant from exercising their rights.
- Circumstances indicating that the registrant has registered the domain name to deceive the public into believing the name is registered, used or connected to the complainant.
- Evidence, when combined with other factors, shows that the registrant is involved in the pattern of making abusive registrations.
- Circumstance showing that the registrant registered the domain name as a result of a relationship with the complainant, and the complainant has been exclusively using the domain name and has paid for its registration or renewal
- Section 5 lists a number of factors which the registrant may use to prove that the registration is not abusive.