DENIC under no duty either to check domains for infringements of rights or to block domains
The Dresden court of appeals has also denied that DENIC has a general duty of verification when registering domains
In a judgement that has now been rendered public, the Dresden court of appeals has confirmed the legal standpoint of the German domain registry, DENIC. The litigation was over the domain 'kurt-biedenkopf.de', and the court found that DENIC was not subject to any sort of general obligation to check domains either prior or subsequent to their registration as to whether they might be the source of rights infringements. The responsibility for such verification rests solely on the shoulders of domain applicants. DENIC wishes to take the opportunity to reiterate expressly that the registration of domains is not an absolute free-for-all, and that anyone wishing to register a particular domain has a duty to make sure that no rights of others are infringed in any way. Now that the Frankfurt court of appeals has handed down its judgement in the ambiente.de case, there are two appeal judgements in favour the registry. The Dresden court actually went a step further and ruled that it is, in particular, not possible to demand of DENIC that it should block certain domains from registration in advance, such as the names of individuals in the public eye. That is what the Minister President of the German Federal State of Saxony had been trying to achieve with his action concerning the domain 'kurt-biedenkopf.de'.
This latest judgement represents a further consolidation of the case law regarding DENIC's obligations to perform verifications. Only a matter of weeks ago in a case with similar substance, the Dresdner Bank withdraw its application for an interim injunction after the Frankfurt court of appeals had made it clear during the oral hearing that the application to the court to have domains blocked had no chance of success. Through these judgements, the courts are confirming the position consistently adopted by DENIC, which sees its function in the registration of domains as that of a neutral and purely technical service provider acting on behalf of German Internet users.