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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Vietnam resolves conflicting domain name rules


Vietnam's domain name recovery system has numerous barriers. So far the civil court system has been the main way to recover cybersquatted DNs - see here. Amway, the US direct marketing business sued recently to recover a domain name Amway.2u.vn recently. Amway trades in Vietnam through Amway2u.com.vn and owns trademarks so was in theory in a strong position against the cybersquatter. 
 
The real issue was not the substantive cybersquatting case but, as is common in Vietnam, the often conflicting bureaucratic rules on how to get something done. The decision was issued by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), which hears administrative DN disputes. Their order would then be need to be executed by the National Domain Name operator VNNIC and the registrar thereunder. 
 
The problem was that VNNIC had for some years refused to execute administrative decisions, because their own parent Ministry of Information and Communications’ rules required a court decision, and a MOST administrative decision therefore did not satisfy this.
 
The Amway2U.vn case sparked a series of ministerial meetings which led to the Ministry of Information and Communications having to accept that MOST did have the requisite authority to adjudicate domain name cases under MOST’s regulations and so the domain name should be transferred.  
 
Vietnam frequently suffers from conflicting internal policies and regulations. It makes enforcement time consuming and expensive for rights holders. The government’s usual MO is to issue rules but not consider what earlier rules need to be repealed or amended. IP holders face a higher cost of doing business in such an environment. At least in this case a conflict was resolved and now there is a real prospect of effective administrative domain name resolutions.

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