.de Regulations

Requirements & Information

CountryGermany
CodeDE
CurrencyUSD
Available TLDsRequirements
deLC

Additional Information

Must have a local presence in Germany.
If no legal presence then must assign a German administrator.

I.
DENIC (in full: DENIC Domain Verwaltungs - und Betriebsgesellschaft eG) registers Internet domains under the Top Level Domain (TLD) .de. It does so without any profit motivation, for the benefit of everyone with an interest in the Internet and, in doing so, complies with the internationally recognized standards for the operation of a country code Top Level Domain registry.


II.
Domain applications may be submitted either through a DENIC member or directly to DENIC (DENICdirect). Such applications are only processed provided the applicant supplies the information required by these Guidelines completely and accurately and provided the domain requested complies with the rules laid down in these Guidelines.


III.
DENIC will register the domain if it has not already been registered for someone else (“first come, first served”). It may, however, reject the application if the registration were to be manifestly illegal.


IV.
The Domain Contract comes into being between the (future) Domain Holder and DENIC when the registration is confirmed or performed. If, in the latter case, the Domain Holder does not create the necessary technical conditions for the domain's connectivity with a period of four weeks, this situation shall result in the immediate termination of the Domain Contract (condition leading to termination). The Domain Contract is governed by these Guidelines and DENIC’s Domain Terms and Conditions.


V.
In addition to the TLD ending ".de", a domain may only be comprised of digits (0–9), hyphens, the letters A–Z and the other letters, which are listed in the annex. It must contain at least one letter of the alphabet and it may not either begin or end with a hyphen, nor may it have a hyphen as both its third and fourth characters. No distinction is made between upper and lower case. The minimum length of a domain is three characters and its maximum length 63 characters. If the domain includes any of the letters contained in the Annex, the decisive factor for determining the maximum length is its so-called ACE-encoded form as defined in Request for Comments 3490. It is not permitted to give the domain the name of any other TLD (such as .com, .net, .org or any of the country code TLDs) or any of the combinations of letters that are used for road-vehicle licence plates in Germany indicating the district in which they are issued, or any combination that would result from replacing an umlaut in such a licence-plate geographic abbreviation with the two-letter equivalent, i.e. ä with ae, ö with oe or ü with ue.


VI.
It is permitted to set up subdomains below the domain registered with DENIC.


VII.
The Domain Holder is DENIC’s contractual partner and thus holds the material rights to the domain. It is also permissible for several Joint Domain Holders to share this role. If the Domain Holder or one of the Joint Domain Holders is not a natural person, the domain application must be accompanied by the full name of the incorporated organization (legal person), including the additional indication of its legal form, in the manner required by law. Moreover, the full postal address of the Domain Holder must also be given and, where there are several Joint Domain Holders, the full postal address of at least one of them must be given. It is not enough to indicate a post-office box number.


VIII.
The Administrative Contact (admin-c) is the natural person appointed by the Domain Holder to act as his/her authorized representative and who also has the authority and duty to take binding decisions in all matters concerning the domain and who is thus the contact for DENIC. Only one admin-c may be appointed for each domain. The following data must be communicated for the admin-c: name, address, telephone number, telefax number and e-mail address. If the Domain Holder is not domiciled or habitually resident in Germany, the admin-c will also be the person authorized to receive service of official and court documents for the purposes of §§ 174 f of the German Code of Civil Procedure (Zivilprozessordnung); in this case, the admin-c must be domiciled in Germany and his/her full postal address must be communicated.


IX.
The Technical Contact (tech-c) looks after the technical side of the domain. The tech-c may be either a named natural person or a group of people with an abstract designation (a so-called role account, such as “DENIC-Hostmaster”). The following data must be communicated for the tech-c: name, address, telephone number, telefax number and e-mail address.


X.
The Zone Administrator (zone-c) looks after the name servers for the domain; he/she is subject to the same rules as the tech-c (Point IX). If the Domain Holder does not delegate a name server of his/her own, there is no need for him/her to appoint a zone-c.


Annex


Character Decimal position in Unicode V3.2 Hexadecimal position in Unicode V3.2 Englisch name German name
á 225 00E1 Latin small letter a with acute Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe a mit Akut
à 224 00E0 Latin small letter a with grave Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe a mit Gravis
a 259 0103 Latin small letter a with breve Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe a mit Brevis
â 226 00E2 Latin small letter a with circumflex Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe a mit Zirkumflex
å 229 00E5 Latin small letter a with ring above Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe a mit Ring oben
ä 228 00E4 Latin small letter a with diaeresis Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe a mit Diärese (= Umlaut ä)
ã 227 00E3 Latin small letter a with tilde Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe a mit Tilde
a 261 0105 Latin small letter a with ogonek Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe a mit Ogonek
a 257 0101 Latin small letter a with macron Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe a mit Macron
æ 230 00E6 Latin small letter ae Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe ae
c 263 0107 Latin small letter c with acute Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe c mit Akut
c 265 0109 Latin small letter c with circumflex Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe c mit Zirkumflex
c 269 010D Latin small letter c with caron Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe c mit Caron
c 267 010B Latin small letter c with dot above Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe c mit Punkt oben
ç 231 00E7 Latin small letter c with cedilla Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe c mit Cedille
d 271 010F Latin small letter d with caron Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe d mit Caron
d 273 0111 Latin small letter d with stroke Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe d mit Querstrich
é 233 00E9 Latin small letter e with acute Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe e mit Akut
è 232 00E8 Latin small letter e with grave Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe e mit Gravis
e 277 0115 Latin small letter e with breve Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe e mit Brevis
ê 234 00EA Latin small letter e with circumflex Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe e mit Zirkumflex
e 283 011B Latin small letter e with caron Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe e mit Caron
ë 235 00EB Latin small letter e with diaeresis Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe e mit Diärese
e 279 0117 Latin small letter e with dot above Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe e mit Punkt oben
e 281 0119 Latin small letter e with ogonek Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe e mit Ogonek
e 275 0113 Latin small letter e with macron Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe e mit Macron
g 287 011F Latin small letter g with breve Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe g mit Brevis
g 285 011D Latin small letter g with circumflex Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe g mit Zirkumflex
g 289 0121 Latin small letter g with dot above Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe g mit Punkt oben
g 291 0123 Latin small letter g with cedilla Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe g mit Cedille
h 293 0125 Latin small letter h with circumflex Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe h mit Zirkumflex
h 295 0127 Latin small letter h with stroke Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe h mit Querstrich
í 237 00ED Latin small letter i with acute Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe i mit Akut
ì 236 00EC Latin small letter i with grave Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe i mit Gravis
i 301 012D Latin small letter i with breve Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe i mit Brevis
î 238 00EE Latin small letter i with circumflex Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe i mit Zirkumflex
ï 239 00EF Latin small letter i with diaeresis Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe i mit Diärese
i 297 0129 Latin small letter i with tilde Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe i mit Tilde
i 303 012F Latin small letter i with ogonek Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe i mit Ogonek
i 299 012B Latin small letter i with macron Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe i mit Macron
i 305 0131 Latin small letter dotless i Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe i ohne Punkt
j 309 0135 Latin small letter j with circumflex Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe j mit Zirkumflex
k 311 0137 Latin small letter k with cedilla Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe k mit Cedille
l 314 013A Latin small letter l with acute Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe l mit Akut
l 318 013E Latin small letter l with caron Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe l mit Caron
l 316 013C Latin small letter l with cedilla Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe l mit Cedille
l 322 0142 Latin small letter l with stroke Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe l mit Querstrich
n 324 0144 Latin small letter n with acute Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe n mit Akut
n 328 0148 Latin small letter n with caron Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe n mit Caron
ñ 241 00F1 Latin small letter n with tilde Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe n mit Tilde
n 326 0146 Latin small letter n with cedilla Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe n mit Cedille
? 331 014B Latin small letter eng Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe Eng
ó 243 00F3 Latin small letter o with acute Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe o mit Akut
ò 242 00F2 Latin small letter o with grave Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe o mit Gravis
o 335 014F Latin small letter o with breve Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe o mit Brevis
ô 244 00F4 Latin small letter o with circumflex Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe o mit Zirkumflex
ö 246 00F6 Latin small letter o with diaeresis Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe o mit Diärese (= Umlaut ö)
o 337 0151 Latin small letter o with double acute Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe o mit Doppel-Akut
õ 245 00F5 Latin small letter o with tilde Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe o mit Tilde
ø 248 00F8 Latin small letter o with stroke Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe o mit Querstrich
o 333 014D Latin small letter o with macron Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe o mit Macron
œ 339 0153 Latin small ligature oe Kleine lateinische Ligatur oe
? 312 0138 Latin small letter kra Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe Kra
r 341 0155 Latin small letter r with acute Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe r mit Akut
r 345 0159 Latin small letter r with caron Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe r mit Caron
r 343 0157 Latin small letter r with cedilla Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe r mit Cedille
s 347 015B Latin small letter s with acute Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe s mit Akut
s 349 015D Latin small letter s with circumflex Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe s mit Zirkumflex
š 353 0161 Latin small letter s with caron Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe s mit Caron
s 351 015F Latin small letter s with cedilla Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe s mit Cedille
t 357 0165 Latin small letter t with caron Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe t mit Caron
t 355 0163 Latin small letter t with cedilla Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe t mit Cedille
t 359 0167 Latin small letter t with stroke Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe t mit Querstrich
ú 250 00FA Latin small letter u with acute Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe u mit Akut
ù 249 00F9 Latin small letter u with grave Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe u mit Gravis
u 365 016D Latin small letter u with breve Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe u mit Brevis
û 251 00FB Latin small letter u with circumflex Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe u mit Zirkumflex
u 367 016F Latin small letter u with ring above Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe u mit Ring oben
ü 252 00FC Latin small letter u with diaeresis Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe u mit Diärese (= Umlaut ü)
u 369 0171 Latin small letter u with double acute Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe u mit Doppel-Akut
u 361 0169 Latin small letter u with tilde Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe u mit Tilde
u 371 0173 Latin small letter u with ogonek Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe u mit Ogonek
u 363 016B Latin small letter u with macron Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe u mit Macron
w 373 0175 Latin small letter w with circumflex Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe w mit Zirkumflex
ý 253 00FD Latin small letter y with acute Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe y mit Akut
y 375 0177 Latin small letter y with circumflex Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe y mit Zirkumflex
ÿ 255 00FF Latin small letter y with diaeresis Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe y mit Diärese
z 378 017A Latin small letter z with acute Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe z mit Akut
ž 382 017E Latin small letter z with caron Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe z mit Caron
z 380 017C Latin small letter z with dot above Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe z mit Punkt oben
ð 240 00F0 Latin small letter eth Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe Eth
þ 254 00FE Latin small letter thorn Kleiner lateinischer Buchstabe Thorn

DENIC ENUM Domain Terms and Conditions
Please note:
The English translation of the DENIC ENUM Domain Terms and Conditions is provided for the convenience of our non-Germanspeaking
customers. Regardless of this, only the original German-language version is legally binding.
The following Terms and Conditions shall govern the
Domain Contract between DENIC eG (hereinafter:
DENIC) of Frankfurt am Main, Germany, and the Domain
Holder.
§ 1 Domain Registration and Administration
(1) The (future) Domain Holder shall submit the domain
application to DENIC through a DENIC member, once
said member is convinced that the (future) domain
holder is indeed the legitimate holder of the telephone
number corresponding to the domain. DENIC accepts
the application through the successful completion of
registration, provided the technical conditions are met
for ensuring the domain’s connectivity.
(2) The same DENIC member as registered the domain
shall administer it on behalf of the domain holder thereafter.
All communications which the Domain Holder, the
Administrative Contact, the Technical Contact or the
Zone Administrator send to DENIC on the basis of
these Terms and Conditions shall be channelled
through this same DENIC member. It shall also be
possible for communications from DENIC to the abovenamed
persons to be similarly channelled through said
DENIC member.
(3) It shall be possible for the domain holder to transfer
administration of the domain from one DENIC member
to another. Such a transfer shall be made by the Domain
Holder submitting an appropriate application to
DENIC through the DENIC member who is to administer
the domain thereafter, subject to the provisos that
this member is convinced that the domain holder is
indeed the legitimate holder of the telephone number
corresponding to the domain, that the corresponding
instruction has been issued and that the DENIC member
who has been administering the domain beforehand
has been informed of the transfer.
§ 2 DENIC’s Duties
(1) DENIC shall include the domain and its technical
data in the name servers for the .9.4.e164.arpa domain
(connectivity). This shall not be done if the technical
data is not suitable for connecting up the domain or if
the underlying technical configuration would lead to an
excessive load on the name servers. In this latter instance,
DENIC shall have the right to make modifications
to the technical data in order to ensure connectivity.
If the domain is not connected up, DENIC shall
also have the right to make the corresponding modifications
to the data concerning the Technical Contact and
the Zone Administrator.
(2) At no time does DENIC have any duty whatsoever
to verify whether or not the registration of the domain or
use thereof by the Domain Holder infringes the rights of
third parties. Nor, in particular, does DENIC have any
duty to check that the Domain Holder is indeed the
legitimate holder of the corresponding telephone number.
(3) Should there be any doubt as to whether the Domain
Holder is indeed the legitimate holder of the corresponding
telephone number, DENIC shall have the
right to remove the domain and its technical data from
the name servers for the .9.4.e164.arpa domain (disconnection)
and to bar its transfer to any third party until
such doubt is dispelled.
§ 3 Domain Holder’s Duties
(1) In submitting the application for registration of a
domain, and in submitting any request to have the administration
of the domain transferred to a different
DENIC member (§ 1(3)), as well as in applying for each
renewal (§ 7(1)), the Domain Holder gives an explicit
assurance that the data communicated is correct and
that they are entitled to register and/or use the domain
and, in particular, that they are the legitimate holder of
the corresponding telephone number and that registration
and/or use of the domain does not infringe the
rights of any third party nor break any general law. If the
Domain Holder is not domiciled in Germany, they shall
appoint an Administrative Contact, who must be domiciled
in Germany. This Administrative Contact shall also
be the Domain Holder’s authorized representative for
receiving the service of official or court documents for
the purposes of § 184 of the German Code of Civil
Procedure and § 132 of the German Code of Criminal
Procedure.
(2) It shall be the Domain Holder’s duty to ensure all the
necessary technical conditions for the domain’s connectivity
are permanently met.
(3) Immediately after registration, the Domain Holder is
required to verify the particulars published in DENIC’s
ENUM Whois query service at <http:>de/enum-whois/index.jsp> and to inform DENIC at once
of any necessary corrections as well as of any subsequent
changes in the data communicated to DENIC. In
doing so, the Domain Holder shall comply with DENIC’s
ENUM Domain Guidelines.
§ 4 Fees
The only charges levied by DENIC for the domain will
be on the DENIC member administering it.
§ 5 Liability
(1) DENIC shall only be liable for any damage caused
by it or by any of its vicarious agents through gross
negligence or with malice aforethought as well as for
any breach of substantial contract duties for which it is
to blame. In the event of a breach of substantial contract
duties through ordinary negligence, DENIC’s liability
shall be limited to the damage typically foreseeable,
as a rule, however, to a sum not exceeding one hundred
euros. These limitations shall not apply if any harm
has been caused to life and limb.
(2) DENIC members are not DENIC’s vicarious agents.
(3) The Domain Holder shall be liable for any damage
incurred by DENIC on account of incorrect registration
data.
(4) The Domain Holder shall relieve DENIC of any liability
resulting from claims filed by third parties and shall
compensate DENIC for any damage and costs that it
may suffer through third parties taking action against it
on the grounds that the Domain Holder is not the legitimate
holder of the corresponding telephone number or
that the registration of the domain for the Domain
Holder or its use by the Domain Holder infringes the
rights of third parties in some other way. In the same
way, the Domain Holder shall also compensate DENIC
or DENIC employees for any damage and costs they
may incur through criminal prosecutions on account of
the registration or the use of the domain.
§ 6 Transfer of the Domain
(1) The domain is transferable.
(2) DENIC will register the domain for a third party
nominated by the existing Domain Holder provided the
existing Domain Holder terminates the domain contract
and the third party submits a domain application.
DENIC shall have the right to refuse the third party’s
application if said third party is not the legitimate holder
of the telephone number corresponding to the domain.
§ 7 Duration of Contract, Renewal, Termination
(1) The domain contract is concluded for a period of
one year, after which it shall terminate automatically. If
administration of the domain is transferred to another
DENIC member (§ 1(3)), the period of one year shall
recommence. The Domain Holder shall have the right
to renew the contract for periods of one year at a time.
Each request for renewal must be submitted to DENIC
by the DENIC member administering the domain before
the end of the current contract period; before submitting
a renewal request, the DENIC member must be convinced
that the (future) Domain Holder is indeed the
legitimate holder of the telephone number corresponding
to the domain.
(2) DENIC shall have the right to terminate the contract
or to refuse its renewal, when it has substantial grounds
for so doing. These grounds shall include, in particular,
any case in which:
a) the Domain holder is not the legitimate holder of the
corresponding telephone number; or
b) the Domain Holder has persistently breached substantial
contract duties or has remained in breach
thereof despite receiving a formal warning accompanied
by a deadline for compliance; or
c) the data communicated by the Domain Holder to
DENIC is incorrect; or
d) it is impossible to establish the identity of the Domain
Holder from the particulars communicated; or
e) the Domain Holder not being domiciled in Germany,
the formal service of a document on the Administrative
Contact instigated by a third party fails at two consecutive
attempts, or if such service is deliberately thwarted
twice by changing the Administrative Contact; or
f) the Domain Holder, having abandoned their domicile
in Germany and having received a formal warning accompanied
by a deadline for compliance, fails to appoint
an Administrative Contract domiciled in Germany.
(3) Notwithstanding any further-reaching legal rights it
may have, it shall be permitted for DENIC, when it gives
notice of termination for the domain, to remove the
domain and its technical data from the name servers for
the .9.4.e164.arpa domain (disconnection) and to make
the corresponding modifications to the particulars for
the Technical Contact and the Zone Administrator.
§ 8 Data Protection Clause
The names, postal addresses, telephone numbers,
telefax numbers and e-mail addresses of the domain’s
Technical Contact and Zone Administrator are published
by DENIC in its Whois query service at
<http:>. Any particulars
about the Domain Holder and the Administrative
Contact will only be published if, and to the extent,
expressly desired by the Domain Holder.
§ 9 Applicable Law and Jurisdiction
The Domain Contract shall be governed by German
law. For all legal persons as well as for natural persons
having their domicile or habitual residence outside of
Germany, the courts with exclusive jurisdiction shall be
those of Frankfurt am Main. DENIC shall, however,
have the right to take legal action against the Domain
Holder before the courts having general jurisdiction for
them.</http:></http:>

FAQ for Parties Interested in Already Registered Domains


What can I do if the domain I would like to have has already been registered for someone else?



How can I get hold of information about the holder of a domain?



What can I do if I need more information about a domain than that supplied when I use the whois query?



Can I insist on DENIC taking action against a domain that is infringing my rights?



What can I do if I believe that I have a better right to a domain than its current holder?



Can I demand that a domain be transferred to me if there is no website to go with it?



Can I insist that DENIC disconnects a domain if it is used to address a website with illegal or immoral contents?



Can I insist that DENIC 'block' a particular domain so that it can't be registered?



What is a DISPUTE entry and what effect does it have?



How can I get a DISPUTE entry?



What is the period of validity of a DISPUTE entry?



What happens if there is a DISPUTE entry in my name and the domain is deleted?



Can I maintain or extend a DISPUTE after I have agreed with the domain holder that the domain will be released or transferred to me at some later date?



How can I arrange for a DISPUTE entry to be removed?



How much does it cost to set up a DISPUTE entry?



How can I reach the holder of a domain, if he/she is unobtainable at the address that I have found in the whois query?



What can I do if the whois query shows me false or incomplete data for a domain?



What can I do if I feel that my rights have been infringed by a domain that does not end in .de?



Is DENIC able to advise me if I have a legal problem?



What happens to the domain if its registered holder is a legal entity that suffers insolvency or is dissolved?



Why is there no Dispute Resolution Procedure (like ICANN's UDRP) at DENIC?



Why does DENIC insist on particular forms for many of the communications it receives from me? Why does it go so far as to insist on original forms?






What can I do if the domain I would like to have has already been registered for someone else?


DENIC always registers domains on a “first-come, first-served” basis. If someone else registered before you, there are only two things you can do. Firstly, you could settle for a different name for your domain. Secondly, you could try contacting the domain holder (whose identity you can find from our whois database) and ask them if they would be willing to transfer the domain to you and, if so, what their conditions would be. The only exception to this might be if you can show that you have a greater right to the domain than its current holder. We have put some advice together for you on how to proceed in such instances. You will find it in the “ Legal Information” section of our website. Our FAQs also include a segment for prospective holders interested in a domain that has already been registered.





How can I get hold of information about the holder of a domain?


The data about a domain, which includes its holder and its other contacts, is kept in DENIC's whois database, where it is publicly accessible. You can consult this information by going to the appropriate section of DENIC's website. However, please take very careful note of the guidance we give you on searching in this service and its Conditions of Use.





What can I do if I need more information about a domain than that supplied when I use the whois query?


It can sometimes happen (for instance, if you are involved in litigation) that you need to find out more about a domain than you will be able to extract directly yourself by using the whois query. For reasons of data protection, DENIC can only disclose such additional information to you, if you can first demonstrate that you have a legitimate interest. You must tell DENIC in writing (which includes fax), what additional information you would like to have and for what purpose. You must support your request with documentary evidence. The more detailed the presentation of your reasons and the more convincing your evidence, the less likely it will be that DENIC will need to contact you for further clarification before taking its decision.





Can I insist on DENIC taking action against a domain that is infringing my rights?


The short answer is no. DENIC is at no time in a position to check whether or not the registration or use of a domain infringes the rights of others. Moreover, DENIC has no duty to perform routine verifications of this nature. The German Federal Supreme Court said so quite clearly in its judgement of May 2001 in the “ ambiente.de” case. Such a verification would, however, be the precondition for DENIC to intervene, since it ought to be clear to everybody that it cannot be permissible to take a domain away from its holder simply because someone else wants it. You certainly wouldn't want that if it was your domain that was at stake!

In these circumstances, you must pursue any disputes you may have on account of possible infringements of your rights directly with the domain holder. DENIC will only take action once the dispute has been brought to a clear-cut conclusion, typically through a final judgement handed down by a court of law (ruling on the substance of the case).






What can I do if I believe that I have a better right to a domain than its current holder?


The first thing you should do is to establish with as much certainty as you can who really has the better rights. To do that it is not enough merely to establish a clear picture of what rights you have, you must also do the necessary research to find out what rights there are in favour of the existing domain holder (such as a trademark, brand or company name). So-called "priority" plays a key part in this, i.e. establishing who has the longest-standing rights. You are going to need to put comprehensive information together, including the legal situation, and you'll almost certainly need the assistance of a lawyer to do so, since there is already considerable jurisprudence on this issue, and some of the court judgements even contract one another on certain points. Once you have done all that and you genuinely conclude that the domain ought actually to be yours, you must set about trying to resolve the matter with the current domain holder by persuading him/her to release the domain and, if necessary you'll have to go to court. DENIC does not become involved in such disputes in any way, either in favour of you or in favour of the domain holder. What DENIC can, however, do is to place a DISPUTE entry on the domain, which will ensure that the domain holder will not be able to shirk away from sorting the matter out with you.





Can I demand that a domain be transferred to me if there is no website to go with it?


The fact that a domain is not being used to address a website does not mean that it is not being used. It is possible to use a domain in conjunction with various services (such as e-mail or file transfer (FTP)) without this being visible on the outside. Moreover, there is no obligation to use a domain to address a website. In no circumstances, then, does the lack of a website give DENIC any occasion whatsoever to terminate the domain contract. DENIC does not even have the means for doing that, and you have no claim at all to take over the domain concerned.

Apart from that, you should also consider that it can always happen that the domain holder may have encountered short-lived technical difficulties, so that a website that really exists is inaccessible for a while. It may also happen that, in looking for a website, you made a typing mistake in the web address. Another possibility may be that the website has been set up only under a sub-domain that an outsider is never going to find by guessing (perhaps under christmas.easter.specimen.de instead of www.specimen.de).






Can I insist that DENIC disconnects a domain if it is used to address a website with illegal or immoral contents?


If you are concerned with the contents of websites, the first thing you must do is to clearly understand the fundamental difference between websites and domains. It is possible to make a website reachable under a domain, but that is not the only way, since websites can be addressed by entering the appropriate IP address too. It is also possible for a website to be accessible through several domains and under a number of different Top Level Domains. To give you an example: the domains www.denic.de, www.nic.de and www.denic.info all route you to DENIC's website. A domain is actually only a reference to a computer ("host"), which itself (with the exception of the example just given) is not operated by DENIC, but by someone else. DENIC has no means of accessing such computers.

From this it follows that DENIC has nothing to do with either the contents or technicalities of websites accessible under .de domains. DENIC cannot determine the contents of websites (nor can it even influence them); it doesn't even have them saved on its own servers. All DENIC does is to provide the link between the domain and the website by registering the domain on its name servers.

From this, it is already clear that DENIC is not in a position to do anything to prevent the spread of a particular website. The most it could do would be to break its link with a particular domain. That wouldn't really achieve anything, since the possible legal or other problems concern the website itself and not its link to a particular domain. For this reason alone, DENIC is under no obligation to break such links, as has also already been confirmed in a court judgement.

But there is something else to be considered too. DENIC would, of course, only be able to intervene if it had first verified that the questionable website was indeed illegal or morally offensive. DENIC is not in a position to carry out such checks, nor does it have any duty to do so. It would actually be highly undesirable to want to impose such a duty on DENIC, because it would end up making DENIC into a general policing and censorship body for the whole Internet, insofar as it was active under .de.






Can I insist that DENIC 'block' a particular domain so that it can't be registered?


No. DENIC does not "block" domains in such a way that they are no longer available for registration. That even applies if you believe that you have rights on account of your name or a brand or trademark you own to stop anyone apart from yourself from holding a particular domain. Given the many thousands of millions of people and legal entities throughout the world, nobody can ever say for certain that they are unique and that there is no-else or no organization that might not have the right to register the domain for themselves. That fact that DENIC has no obligation to "block" domains was expressly confirmed in a judgement handed down by the Court of Appeals in Dresden when it found against a leading politician in the German federal state of Saxony who had taken action against DENIC with the aim of forcing it to "block" the registration of a domain called kurt-biedenkopf.de. Despite that, there is an easy way to prevent domains from being registered by others and then used in a way you would not like: you should get in first and register them yourself.





What is a DISPUTE entry and what effect does it have?


Even if DENIC does not become involved in pending disputes about domains, it can do something for you by placing a DISPUTE entry on the disputed domain. The main effect of this instrument is that the domain holder loses the right to transfer the domain to someone else, which prevents them from trying to shirk away from sorting the matter out with you. The only feasible transfer of the domain is to you and that, of course, remains possible. The DISPUTE entry made on the domain in your favour also guarantees that you will instantly become its holder if the existing holder deletes it. That is particularly advantageous for you, since the highest German court has ruled that an adversary may file for a court to order a domain holder to delete a domain but it cannot file for an order to transfer it. If there is a DISPUTE entry on the domain in your name, then it is enough for you to file for deletion and, thanks to the DISPUTE-entry mechanism, you are sure that you will then become the domain holder yourself. For this purpose, it is essential that the form applying for a DISPUTE entry also specifies the person who will become your administrative contact should such a case arise. This will accelerate the clearing procedure later on.





How can I get a DISPUTE entry?


To get a DISPUTE entry made in your name you must apply to DENIC. It is mandatory to use the appropriate form , to sign it and to send the original to DENIC. This is particularly important, since, in signing the application, you confirm that you have already started the process of resolving the dispute with the domain holder or that you intend to do so very soon.

When you send your form to DENIC you must also enclose documentary evidence to show that there are reasonable grounds for claiming that you might have a right to the domain. Suitable documents for showing the existence of a potential right might be:
in a case based on a trademark, the certificate granting you that mark,
in a case based on a company, an excerpt from the commercial register,
in a case based on your name, a copy of your identity card or passport,
and in a case based on the name of a commune (i.e. a German local-government body), the commune's official letterhead.

Once you have applied to DENIC for a DISPUTE entry and DENIC has accepted your application, DENIC will send you confirmation with further guidance and an indication as to the period of validity of the DISPUTE entry. DENIC will also inform you if it decides that it cannot grant you a DISPUTE entry, possibly because there is insufficient evidence to support the rights you claim or possibly because there is already a DISPUTE entry on the domain. If you receive no communication from DENIC, you cannot automatically assume that DENIC has set up the DISPUTE entry. After 2-4 weeks, you should contact DENIC again and ask about the status of your application.






What is the period of validity of a DISPUTE entry?


Given that the DISPUTE entry deprives the domain holder of the right to dispose of the domain, it would not be good and also most probably not even admissible to maintain it indefinitely. It is conceivable that the parties might simply give up fighting over the domain and forget about the DISPUTE entry altogether. For that reason, the DISPUTE entry is limited to one year, after which it lapses without prior notice. If the DISPUTE entry has been made in your name, it is your duty to inform DENIC as soon as the dispute with the domain holder has been brought to a conclusion, so that DENIC can remove the DISPUTE entry. Of course, once the DISPUTE entry has been removed, the domain holder become free to dispose of it again by transferring it to someone else and, if it is deleted, the claimant will no longer automatically become the new holder. That is why it is particularly important that if a DISPUTE entry has been made in your name, you carefully note the date on which it will lapse, so that you can apply in good time for an extension if appropriate (a period of approximately one month before the DISPUTE entry lapses is best). It is possible to grant such an extension, provided the dispute with the domain holder is still continuing and the holder of the DISPUTE entry can demonstrate this adequately in writing, submitting suitable documentary evidence (such as a summons to appear in court). In order to grant an extension, DENIC also needs a new copy of the DISPUTE form. Once again, your must complete the form, sign it and send DENIC the original.





What happens if there is a DISPUTE entry in my name and the domain is deleted?


In such a case, you instantly become the new holder of the domain. DENIC will also communicate this fact immediately either to you in person or to your representative who originally set the DISPUTE entry for you. DENIC will also inform you as to what further steps you'll need to take, such as appointing a provider to administer the domain for you in future.





Can I maintain or extend a DISPUTE after I have agreed with the domain holder that the domain will be released or transferred to me at some later date?


No. The DISPUTE entry is intended to be solely a parallel measure to resolving the dispute over a domain. It can thus not be used as a form of guarantee for claims resulting from an agreement between the holder of a DISPUTE entry and the domain holder.

A DISPUTE entry should never be necessary for this purpose anyway. If you fear that the domain holder is not going to respect an agreement entered into with you, you are at liberty not to accept such an agreement to begin with or to take out some other form of protection. One conceivable solution might be for the domain to be transferred to you immediately, but with the agreement that the (existing) holder would be permitted to continue to use it for a transitional period.






How can I arrange for a DISPUTE entry to be removed?


It goes without saying that if a DISPUTE entry has been set up for you, you have the right to ask for it to be removed at any time. You must, however, use the special form for this purpose, sign it and send the original to DENIC. Once the DISPUTE entry has been removed, the domain is free again for transfer to others and, if the domain happens to be deleted, you'll no longer automatically become its new holder.





How much does it cost to set up a DISPUTE entry?


At present, DENIC does not charge for setting up DISPUTE entries or for removing them.





How can I reach the holder of a domain, if he/she is unobtainable at the address that I have found in the whois query?


The first thing you should try and do is to get in touch with any of the other domain contacts whose data is given in response to the whois query. If you don't succeed with them, then DENIC will be willing to look into the matter, but you must provide us with suitable evidence in support of your claim that the domain holder does not exist or cannot be contacted at the registered address. Suitable forms of evidence could include envelopes returned by the postal service with a stamp saying "unknown at this address" or "moved to an unknown address" and information from an appropriate register (companies' register, trade register, residents' registration office, etc.). It is not adequate evidence to show that the domain holder simply refuses to accept letters or does not collect (registered) letters from a post office, since in such circumstances, the domain holder might actually exist at the address registered. A returned envelope with a stamp such as "delivery refused " or "not collected" will thus never be accepted by DENIC as adequate evidence of a false address.





What can I do if the whois query shows me false or incomplete data for a domain?


If you yourself are the holder of the domain concerned and if it is administered by a provider, you ought to contact your provider immediately and tell him/her the correct data, so that it can be communicated to DENIC. If you are the domain holder and if your domain is being managed by DENICdirect, you should send your corrections to DENIC without delay, making sure you use the form provided for the purpose.

If the domain belongs to someone else, you can send your observations directly to DENIC, provided you also send evidence of the inaccuracy of the data or provided it is obvious that it is wrong. Suitable forms of evidence could include envelopes sent to the domain holder and returned by the postal service with a stamp saying "unknown at this address" or "moved to an unknown address " and information from an appropriate register (companies' register, trade register, residents' registration office, etc.). It is not adequate evidence to show that the domain holder simply refuses to accept letters or does not collect (registered) letters from a post office, since in such circumstances, the domain holder might actually exist at the address registered. A returned envelope with a stamp such as "delivery refused " or "not collected" will thus never be accepted by DENIC as adequate evidence of a false address.





What can I do if I feel that my rights have been infringed by a domain that does not end in .de?


DENIC is the registry for the Top Level Domain .de and is thus responsible solely for domains ending in .de. DENIC is unable to give you any information about domains under other Top Level Domains. However, we can tell you that most other registries responsible for TLDs also provide more information on this matter.

If the domain that concerns you comes under one of the a so-called generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs), such as .com, .net, .org., .info. .biz or .name, you can call ICANN's websites, where you'll find a directory of responsible registries. If certain preconditions are met, you may be able to settle your problem through a so called UDRP (Uniform Dispute Resolution Procedure).

If the domain that concerns you comes under a so-called country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) such as .at (for Austria) or .uk (for the United Kingdom), IANA's website is where you'll find a list of registries.






Is DENIC able to advise me if I have a legal problem?


Naturally, it is DENIC's policy to assist its customers in any way it can when they have problems. However, it cannot give legal advice on individual cases. DENIC is not able to help you if, for instance, you want to know how to react to a written warning or what sort of chances you have of defending your domain in a legal dispute or how you can manage to force a domain holder to delete his/her domain. In such cases, you will have to seek specialist advice elsewhere, such as from a lawyer. In Germany, the local professional chamber of lawyers (Rechtsanwaltskammer) and in some localities the local professional associations of lawyers (Anwaltsvereine) will be able to help you find the correct lawyer to handle your particular problem. Some of the German federal states have set up public legal-advice centres (Rechtsauskunftsstellen) and in some cases there may be a scheme of legal-aid vouchers to help you if you are unable to afford lawyers' fees. If in doubt about this last point, you will be able to get more information from the ministry of justice of the federal state concerned (Landesjustizministerium), or the nearest local court (Amtsgericht) might be able to assist you. In many cases, the best first step is often to try and find out more yourself by using the Internet, where there are many websites that provide legal information. There are also various mailing lists for online law, where you may find others willing to discuss your problem with you.






What happens to the domain if its registered holder is a legal entity that suffers insolvency or is dissolved?


The insolvency of a domain holder has no impact on who holds the domain. It may, however, be that the right to dispose of it is transferred to a liquidator.

When a legal entity is dissolved, all its remaining assets are realized, and that includes any domains it may hold. That means that it is the liquidator who decides on what is to happen to these domains. DENIC cannot simply delete them.





Why is there no Dispute Resolution Procedure (like ICANN's UDRP) at DENIC?


The Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) run by ICANN is only one of the available channels for settling disputes about domains. It thus does not follow that all domain registries have to opt for it automatically. In point of fact, very few of the county code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs) actually use ICANN's UDRP.

The motivation for setting up the ICANN dispute resolution procedure was that disputes involving generic Top Level Domains, such as .com, .net or .org, may result in an extremely complex mesh of international relations amongst the parties concerned. It is possible for the domain holder, the complainant and the registrar to be domiciled in three different countries, and it is even possible that the registry may be in a fourth country. Then it may happen that the competent court is not in the same country as the complainant, so the latter is forced to find an additional lawyer in that country, it may prove complicated to have official and court documents served, and the court hearing might be in a foreign language… The list of imponderables is virtually endless. Even assuming that all these hurdles can be overcome and the victorious party wins a court judgement, there is still the potential problem of getting that judgement executed on the territory of another country. From this brief description, it is clear that what is needed for tackling disputes concerning generic Top Level Domains is completely different from what is required when country code Top Level Domains, such as .de, are at stake.

In litigation involving .de domains it is usually the case that all the parties are based in Germany, the case can also be heard by a German court and a judgement can be secured quickly and for a moderate outlay.

The UDRP has another disadvantage in that it only comes into play for trademark infringements and malicious intent on the part of the domain holder, and the losing party still has the possibility of going before the ordinary courts afterwards. Moreover, in the case of the UDRP, it is the complainant who has to bear the costs of the procedure, whereas the practice of the German courts is for the losing party to bear the costs of litigation.

From the above it is clear that anyone holding rights to a name or a trademark would have no reason at all to want to opt for the UDRP procedure or a similar one for .de domains, since a German court hearing – combined with a DISPUTE entry at DENIC – represents an evidently superior alternative, given that it is both faster and cheaper.

Quite apart from all these considerations, the parties at dispute over a domain are perfectly free to refer their case to a dispute resolution procedure or even to a court of arbitration, if that is their preference.






Why does DENIC insist on particular forms for many of the communications it receives from me? Why does it go so far as to insist on original forms?


DENIC provides forms for many transactions and also insists on their use. That makes the job easier for both you and us. All you have to do is print out the forms and complete them, and DENIC knows it will receive the declarations needed. It should thus not be necessary for us to contact you again to seek clarification, which would only mean delays. The reason that DENIC insists on you (or your representative) using only original forms is to avoid forgeries and to prevent misunderstandings arising at some later date.

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