Domain Name is “Personal Property”


Courts have often struggled with how to characterize a domain name using traditional legal concepts. On one level it’s just a “bundle of rights”  – a registration that provides the registrant with rights to exclude others from the use of the domain name, and point the domain name to a certain IP address on the internet.  The question of whether this intangible bundle is “property” has not been settled by any Canadian appeal court, until now.

In Tucows.Com Co. v. Lojas Renner S.A., 2011 ONCA 548, the court had to decide if the domain name was intangible personal property “located in Ontario”. This was an important issue in the case, since a finding that the domain name was property located in Ontario would permit the court to take jurisdiction and the lawsuit to proceed. The court decided that there is an emerging consensus among other courts that domain names are a form of property, and found that domain names, for the purposes of Ontario law, can be considered intangible personal property. 

Calgary – 07:00 MDT

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