CONATEL Publishes First Official Domain Name Regulation In Venezuela

Author:Mr Ricardo E. Antequera (Antequera Parilli & Rodríguez)
Profession:Global Advertising Lawyers Alliance (GALA)

On September 24th 2019, the Administrative Regulation for the National Plan for ".ve" Domain Names was issued by the National Telecommunications Commission (CONATEL).

This is the first internal regulation regarding domain names, which had been previously limited to adopting regulations from the internet corporation for assigned names and numbers (ICANN), including their Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy.

In addition to a glossary of terminology in which the is defined as the "Center of network information of the National Telecommunications Commission for the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela", this administrative regulation establishes the terms and conditions for the registration, management, renewal, transfer and use of .ve domain names, and is also applicable to all extensions approved by CONATEL such as "", "" or "".

The most prominent aspect of this regulation is the establishment of the principle of "first to come, first to serve" as a general rule for the registration of domain names in Venezuela. Article 04 points out that the review of registration requests shall be transparent and non-discriminatory, in chronological order as received as long as "no right acquired by a third party over said combination of characters is harmed".

Consequently, according to said regulations, the principle of "first to come, first to serve" which has been an international standard ruling the registration of domain names. Notwithstanding the above, it does not clarify which aspects can be considered as harmful to rights acquired by a third party over said combination of characters, nor does it express the priority of a trademark right. For example, it is still dubious whether likelihood of confusion shall be considered by CONATEL as grounds for refusal of registration, which could be alarming, or if contrarily, as has been uniform in comparative law, only the name being identical to a previously registered domain name is grounds for refusal of registration.

The regulation also establishes that responsibility for use or lack of use of a domain name falls solely on its holder but also on its administrative contact, which shall have special relevance for cases in which an action can fall under criminal acts, such as the ones established in the special law for computer crimes.

This new regulation establishes that any information provided for the purposes of obtaining a registration of a domain name, shall be considered...

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