Domain name laws and commercial litigation in Canada

Much of today's business marketing happens on the internet and so domain names have become an increasingly important factor in the branding, marketing and public relations of companies. Because the online industry is booming, there are now laws and regulations in Canada and the rest of the world dealing with issues such as domain names. In fact, there have been a significant amount of commercial litigation over who gets what name or who had the name first, etc.

In a nutshell, a domain name is the online address of a company or a service. The domain name's owner gets the internet traffic generated by searches of that name and, as such, can forbid others from using the same domain name. Having an internet address that is exclusive gives a business owner with an online presence a lot of exposure, which adds potentially significant financial value to his or her products and services. That's why legally, it is forbidden to register a domain name that someone has already registered and is using.

Disputes in Canada that arise in regard to internet domain names would likely end up in court as a dispute under the Canadian Trademarks Act. These are likely times when businesses have very similar domain names, causing online traffic to be misdirected. On the other hand, if someone took a domain name that was already being used, a cease and desist letter coming from a lawyer is usually enough to make the person stop. If not, arbitration could ensue as a means of resolving the issues quickly and in a cost-effective manner.

Commercial law can often be complex and misunderstood by the general public. It can be even more complex when it comes to issues in the virtual world. A lawyer in Canada would be able to answer questions pertaining to things like domain names and how his or her clients can avoid commercial litigation when conducting online business.

Source:, "Domain name laws in Canada", Miriam Yosowich, Accessed on Oct. 20, 2017

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