Check .lt domain
Which court to apply to when a dispute regarding .lt second level domain name arises between the national subjects?
In case of a dispute regarding the domain name between Lithuanian natural persons and / or legal entities, the issue of the case’s jurisdiction was solved in various ways until 28 April 2014 – part of the claimants applied to district or regional courts according to the defendant’s (natural person’s) place of residence or (legal entity’s) head office; however, majority of the claimants applied to Vilnius Regional Court.
The Court of Appeal of Lithuania ruled on the use of the way of analogy while processing the issue of jurisdiction in the above-mentioned cases in the proceedings of the civil case No. 2A-421 / 2014 on 28 April 2014. The dispute in the above-mentioned case was not regarding the violation of the rights of the trademark owner; it was regarding the defendant’s actions contradictory to the fair practice of economic activity and good customs, when such actions may undermine the competitive capabilities of another economic operator, including arbitrary use of the label that is identical or similar to the name of the other economic operator, if it causes or may cause confusion with the latter or its activities, or aiming to use the reputation of that economic operator. The Court of Appeal of Lithuania ordered: “[…] one of the criteria for determination of the case’s jurisdiction is the subject (nature) of the dispute (Articles 25, 27 of the Code of Civil Procedure). Subject of the dispute is chosen and defined by the claimant who specifies the actual circumstances and requirements in the claim. In the proceedings, the claimant submitted a claim regarding the illegal use of the domain name, de-registration of the dispute’s domain names, domain trade and registration in the claimant’s name free of charge […] in the absence of legal provisions regulating the legal protection against the illegal use of domain names and remedies for the violated rights, the analogy of statute is applied; domain, like other objects of intellectual property, is an object of intangible nature, and trademark is defined as a symbol that helps to distinguish between different good or services and has a promotional function; the domain also helps to identify its user therefore, in this case, the Law on Trademarks of the Republic of Lithuania (hereinafter – LTM) regulating similar intellectual property relationships with regards to trademarks may be applied […] Article 28 paragraph 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure stipulates that civil proceedings regarding the disputes stipulated in LTM can only be processed by Vilnius Regional Court, as a court of first instance […]. Article 49 part 2 paragraphs 2-4 of LTM stipulate that Vilnius Regional Court processes the disputes arising with regards to the declaration of invalidity and deletion of the trademark, and defence of the rights of the trademark’s owner. Therefore, applying the indicated analogy of statute, Vilnius Regional Court, as a court of first instance, has jurisdiction with regards to the disputes regarding the cancellation of the domain registration”.
Only 7 cases regarding .lt second level domain name in total were processed at first instance not at Vilnius Regional Court; only one of them was accepted in the district court from 28 April 2014.
Therefore, in case it is impossible to solve the dispute regarding the domain name in a peaceful manner, the claim should be submitted to Vilnius Regional Court by the above-mentioned analogy. It should also be noted that case law with regards to the jurisdiction of the above-mentioned cases is in the process of formation; therefore, there are no guarantees that the submitted claim will be accepted in Vilnius Regional Court.