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You are here: Home  Domain Name Law  What's a Domain Name

What is a Domain Name?

by Charles Runyan, Ph.D., J.D. Domain Name Law Attorney

A domain name is known technically as a "uniform resource locator" or "URL."  The domain name actually consists of a series of numbers that are used to identify a specific computer connected to the internet.  A domain name is an internet protocol address ("IP address") made of a string of four sets of numbers separated by periods such as "206.110.241.01."  The IP address is similar to a telephone number in that it can be used to send and receive electronic communications to and from the IP address.

Because it can be difficult for most people to remember a long string of numbers, Dr. Jon Postel of the University of Southern California helped to create what is now known as the Domain Name System (DNS), which is a system by which computers translate a  unique set of numbers, letters and characters into the corresponding IP address.  For example, the domain name www.keytlaw.com equates to the IP address 216.205.148.162.  To determine the IP address of a known domain name, go to Tracert and enter the domain name in the blank space and click on "Resolve."

Each domain name must be unique, just as two people cannot have the same telephone number.  It is this requirement of uniqueness that creates valuable domain names and problems arising from trademark infringement and cybersquatting.  Business.com sold for $7,500,000.  Sex.com was the subject of a six year legal dispute that resulted in the original owner of the domain name getting a judgment for $65,000,000 against the man who allegedly improperly acquired sex.com.  No domain name would be worth that kind of money if it were not unique.

This article was first published on April 1, 2001.

About Charles Runyan

Chuck Runyan, Ph.D., J.D., has been practicing intellectual property law since 1997.  Chuck advises trademark holders about domain names that infringe on a trademark and if the trademark holder has a claim to a domain name under ICANN's Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy and the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act.  He has a Ph.D. in chemistry and has been a patent attorney since 1998 whose practice includes patent preparation, prosecution, portfolio management, and opinion work.  Chuck represents individuals and businesses, start-ups through large, multi-national pharmaceutical companies, in their pursuit and enforcement of patent rights throughout the United States and worldwide.  Charles Runyan is licensed to practice law in Arizona, California and Texas.  Call Chuck at 480-205-9365, email at cer@keytlaw.com and fax at 602-297-6890.  Communicating with Charles Runyan via email, telephone or otherwise does not cause you to become a client of Chuck Runyan or KEYTLaw, LLC, or cause your communications to be confidential or subject to the attorney client privilege.  Charles Runyan is of counsel to KEYTLaw, LLC.

Domain Name Law Consultations

Domain name lawyer & trademark lawyer Charles Runyan, Ph.D., offers phone consultations on domain name law and cybersquatting issues for $499 (1 hour) and $299 (1/2 hour).  Call Chuck at 480-205-9365 or send an email to cer@keytlaw.com.

 

 

This page was last modified on April 06, 2009.

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