Domain names

The Domain Name System (DNS) helps users to find their way around the Internet. Every computer on the Internet has a unique address - just like a telephone number - which is a rather complicated string of numbers. It is called its "IP address" (IP stands for "Internet Protocol"). IP Addresses are hard to remember. The DNS makes using the Internet easier by allowing a familiar string of letters (the "domain name") to be used instead of the arcane IP address. So instead of typing 207.151.159.3, people can type www.internic.net. It is a "mnemonic" device that makes addresses easier to remember.

The Internet domain name system (DNS) consists of a directory, organized hierarchically, of all the domain names and their corresponding computers registered to particular companies and persons using the Internet. When someone registers a domain name, it will be associated with the computer on the Internet he/she designates during the period the registration is in effect. From that computer, people can create a website which will be accessible to Internet users around the world.

As more companies move to put information and products onto the Internet, the clashes over Internet domain names become more common. These clashes are challenging the law and the Internet community to develop new procedures and legal rules that adequately address the equities involved.

Because of the increasing popularity of the Internet, companies have realized that having a domain name that is the same as their company name or the name of one of their products can be an extremely valuable part of establishing an Internet presence. As explained above, a company wishing to acquire a domain name must file an application with the appropriate agency. Before doing so, a search is done to see if their desired domain name is already taken. A good site for doing such a search is provided by Network Solutions. When a company finds that the domain name corresponding to their corporate name or product trademark is owned by someone else, the company can either choose a different name or fight to get the domain name back from its current owners.