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Web Agencies liable for trademark infringements on .it Domain Names

A recent ruling of an Italian court has caused turmoil in the online industry. A maintainer was tried and found guilty of setting up a domain name on behalf of a customer, who was infringing trademark laws of a well-known enterprise operating in Italy.

In the online search industry the domain name may become a relevant part of the search strategy: keyword-rich domain names have been known to be favoured by search engines, giving them the ever-so-slight advantage on competition. It is not uncommon to seek a local presence by setting up a new local domain to acquire visibility.

The procedure to set up an .it domain name involves 3 parties:

  • The Italian Registration Authority (NIC.it)
  • A Provider/Maintainer
  • The end user

A maintainer is typically a web agency or internet provider who deals directly with NIC.it. The end user is required to undersign a formal request of activation (called la lettera di assunzione responsabilit

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Sante J. Achille

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