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INFORMATION BULLETINS


It is our pleasure to give you our most recent bulletin. As for previous bulletins, you may access these through the hyperlink, by consulting the archival list.




September 2008

INFORMATION BULLETIN

Some thoughts on the internet


Solicitation

You might have received a solicitation to register your domain name in a foreign jurisdiction. Specialized enterprises, based abroad, proceed to the screening of registries in order to offer their services for securing your domain name in other top level domains, whether generic (gTLD) or national (ccTLD). Caution should be exercised as those registrations may prove useless; should you wish to extend your domain name to other top level domains, generic or national, we suggest that you consult with your own domain names supplier.

WHOIS

 WHOIS is the contraction of who is? If you wish to know the owner of a domain name, you may consult section "contact" or "corporate" on the website to ascertain the exact name of the owner, the head office, etc. However, in many cases, that information is either missing or informal (e.g.: the corporate name is contracted). In order to obtain a precise information, you must then rely to the WHOIS registry of the top level domain (e.g.: Network Solutions for .com and Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) for .ca). You then can access information on the owner, the registrar and the server. This is an important tool for identifying the person who would infringe your own domain name or your trademarks.

CIRA has recently adopted a policy (which came into force on June 10, 2008) which renders access to the identity of the owner of a domain name more limited. Indeed, when an individual registers a domain name in the .ca registry (majority of the registrations in .ca), information is hidden by default unless that owner agrees to the information being disclosed. Consequently, if someone adopts a domain name very close to yours or to one of your trademarks or likely to create confusion, if that owner is an individual, you will have to apply for communication of information to CIRA and the communication of information will depend on that owner’s willingness to answer. If that person does not answer in the prescribed delays, you will need to obtain an order from a Court for CIRA to supply the information. See: www.cira.ca/en/whois/whois_intro.html.

New trend in top level domains

Generic domain names such as .com and regional domain names such as .ca, .us, .fr are well known to the public.  There are also reserved top level domain names such as .aero for the air industry, .biz for business, .coop for cooperatives, .edu for educaction, .gouv for governments, etc.  As of today, the number of top level domain names, other than regional or country names, is 21.

However, the domain names world will likely witness a radical change with the introduction of new top level domains. Indeed, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), at its meeting held in Paris on June 26, 2008, authorized the implementation of a new protocol which would allow the use of domain names of a person, a city, a business, a trademark, etc. (e.g.: .mytrademark, .mytown, .myname, etc.). This protocol is expected to be in place at the beginning of 2009 for implementation during the course of 2009. See: https://www.icann.org/en/announcements/announcement-4-26jun08-en.htm.

Payment of accounts through financial institutions

Financial institutions offer their clients more and more on-line services, namely for the payment of suppliers; businesses are thus able to direct payment to their suppliers by electronic instructions rather than sending piles of cheques. Financial institutions insist on the fact that when a cheque is issued and put in the mail, it is exposed to counterfeiting by constantly more astute and sophisticated criminals who deviate payment to their own accounts.

This electronic payment procedure may, at first sight, appear attractive as it liberates the business from the burden of preparing, signing and sending series of cheques, while limiting the possible deviation mentioned above.

Be cautious of the fact that information sent by electronic means is not necessarily secure. Such information will often comprise names, addresses, amounts, tasks and other personal information. As discussed in a prior bulletin, the profiling and stealing of information are frequent on the web, in addition to the loss in good faith of information by the financial institution (recent examples: Chrysler, Talvest / CIBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC, Tax Services of Great-Britain, etc.). Not one single financial institution is exempt from such mishaps and the business must decide whether it is willing to accept the risk.

However, there is one aspect where the business is vulnerable: the terms of the agreement with the financial institution.  Indeed, most contracts proposed by financial institutions render the business completely and fully responsible for payment errors that could happen.  This type of obligation must be compared with the existing bank systems in Canada where the business has 30 days from the date of issuance of the monthly statement to notify the bank of any error or any transaction that appears to be inappropriate.  If the business notifies its bank within the prescribed delay, it will not have to honor the payment; in the case of electronic payments, there is usually no such 30 day delay to allow the business to object to a payment.  Consequently, the documents proposed by the financial institutions should be analysed thoroughly.





September 2008


 

This bulletin is intended as a general information instrument and is not to be considered as a legal advice or opinion on any of the issues raised