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New rules on administering the Moldovan national top-level domain .MD

October 5, 2020

The Moldovan National Regulatory Agency for Electronic Communications and Information Technology approved the new Regulation on the administration of the national top-level domain “.MD”. The previous regulation was approved back in 2000 and, although amended in 2006, has become substantially out-of-date.

The new Regulation provides for more detailed rules on the administration of the national top-level domain (including the issues of authorizing dealers who will register and administer the respective subdomains, general monitoring of the system by the National Agency, criteria for registration or cancellation of the subdomain names, provisions on disputes resolution, etc.).

General criteria for registration

Some of the criteria for the registration of subdomain names under the “.md” domain (besides purely technical ones) are as follows:

  • they shall not infringe trademarks and other intellectual property rights;
  • shall not incite hatred,discrimination of any kind, public disorder, and violence;
  • shall not threaten psychological integrity of persons, especially minors.

Apart from these criteria, the registration can be refused if the name is of bad taste (although the Regulation does not provide any clear criteria for determining what “bad taste” means in this context), indecent, might infringe public order, create confusion, offend someone, is similar to the name of a well-known person, etc.

Conditions for cancelling/withdrawing subdomain names

The Regulation provides for a number of conditions for cancelling or withdrawing registered subdomain names. It can be done, upon the national registrar’s own initiative, if (among others):

  • the use of the subdomain name harms the Domain Name System (DNS);
  • the subdomain user fails to meet the criteria for registration (see above) or infringes the conditions of registration;
  • there is an attempt of re-selling the subdomain;
  • there is a conflict between the parties with respect to a subdomain name (until the dispute is resolved);
  • the use of the subdomain name creates confusion for other Internet-users;
  • etc.

The subdomain name can also be revoked, following an alternative dispute resolution or judicial procedure, if the name is identical or similar, to the level confusion, to the name for which certain rights have been established, and if: (1) it was registered by a person without the right to or without a legitimate interest in that name; or (2) it has been registered or is being used in bad faith.

If there is a court decision that establishes that a subdomain name is defamatory, racist, or contrary to public order or national security, that subdomain name will be blocked by the national registrar upon receipt of the notice of the respective court decision and is revoked upon receipt of the notice on the court decision becoming irrevocable. The national registrar will refuse any future registrations of the subdomain names that were the subject of such a court decision.

Disputes resolution

The national registrar or a dealer may but is not obliged to notify the parties involved in any conflicts that may arise between different subdomain names or between a subdomain name and a trademark, a well-known name, or a name of personality. The national registrar/dealer may suspend the registration of the subdomain name until the owner of the respective registered trademark, well-known name or person provides a document confirming that the application is valid and he or she agrees with it.

The parties involved in a dispute acknowledge and agree that the national registrar or a dealer cannot arbitrate the disputes regarding the registration and use of subdomain names.

The registration of a pending application for a subdomain name will be suspended by the national registrar/dealer in case of a conflict with another pending application or with an already registered domain name, until the conflicting parties provide a document (court decision or another document issued by an authorized body) that resolves that dispute.

In cases of disputes between registered trademarks, the only obligation of the national registrar/dealer is to provide information to both parties.

Any disputes that refer to the right to use certain subdomain names shall be solved through mediation, arbitration or in a court of law. In the meantime, the Regulation states that the courts of the Republic of Moldova are the only institutions that can resolve any disputes/conflicts regarding subdomain names.

National registrar’s regulation

The national registrar shall also develop its own regulation on the registration of subdomains which shall be approved by the National Agency and then made public. Among other issues that such a regulation shall deal with, it has to provide detailed rules on withdrawal of subdomain names, prevention of speculative or abusive registration practices, ensuring confidentiality of personal data, conditions for public authorities to get access to WHOIS data base, and alternative dispute resolution procedures.

* You can get in touch with us to find out more about the new regulation. Additionally, you can check out the respective web-pages to learn more about the services we provide in the areas of IT law and telecommunications, intellectual property, and data protection.