Duty to advise customers

Domain name registrars must advise their customers before registering fi-domain names. Guidance must be provided at least about the domain name’s form, content and compliance with law.

Domain name registrars must provide their customers with information on the requirements related to fi-domain names in detail and without unnecessary trouble before registering a domain name. This obligation is limited to providing information. The domain name holder bears the ultimate responsibility for ensuring that the domain name is lawful.

The information must be available for both current and future domain name holder regardless of whether the customers already have a contract with the registrar or not.

Registrars must actively contribute to ensuring that domain name registrations comply with law. Customers should be particularly aware of requirements concerning protected names and trademarks already before they register a domain name. The purpose of the obligation to provide advice is to avoid incorrect and illegal domain name registrations which may even lead to the domain name being cancelled.

Minimum level of guidance

Registrars may choose themselves how they will fulfil the obligation to provide advice, but in terms of content, registrars must provide their customers information on at least the following issues related to the content and form of the domain name:

What is a protected name or trademark?

Under the Information Society Code, protected names and trademarks include:

  • names or trademarks that have been entered into the trade register or into the registers of trademarks, associations, foundations, or political parties in Finland
  • names of public bodies, unincorporated state enterprises, independent public corporations, public associations, or diplomatic missions of a foreign State or their bodies
  • established names, secondary marks or trademarks referred to in the Business Names Act or Trademarks Act
  • EU trademarks entered into the EUIPO trademark register.

How to check whether a name or trademark is protected?

Registrars must provide their customers with links to public registers of the Finnish Patent and Registration Office (business information system, register of associations, register of trademarks) and the EU trademark register of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).

What does a lawful domain name mean?

At the time of registration, a domain name must not be:

  • based on a protected name or trademark owned by another party, unless the domain name holder can present a good, acceptable reason for registering the domain name
  • similar to a protected name or trademark owned by another party, if the clear intent of registering the domain name is to benefit from it or to cause damage.

Permitted characters for a domain name

Registrars must advise their customers on characters allowed in a domain name, which are the letters from a to z and the numbers from 0 to 9. In addition, permitted characters include native language characters å, ä and ö as well as characters in the Sami languages spoken in Finland and the hyphen-minus.

In marketing and registering domain names, registrars must pay attention to the restrictions concerning domain names containing native language characters. Customers applying for a domain name or planning to do so must be aware of the technical restrictions related to domain names containing native language characters.

In particular, customers may have the need to apply for a domain name containing native language characters and an equivalent domain name without native language characters, for example ääkkönen.fi and aakkonen.fi.

Punycode, also called ACE (ASCII Compatible Encoding), enables the use of characters outside the Latin alphabet. The name server system understands a domain name consisting of native language characters, if it is technically defined as an ACE string.

For instance, the ACE form of ääkkönen.fi is xn--kknen-fraa=0m.fi.

IDN converter

Key words: Internet , Domain names

Updated 11.05.2017

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