|Company names and Business Designations
In view of the case law handed down by the German Federal Supreme Court concerning protection of telegram addresses, where protection of such addresses was made dependent on the acquisition of a secondary meaning, the same holds true for domain names.
Technically speaking, it is true that in addition to their function as addresses, domain names may also serve to identify a company.
Yet, this fact alone cannot be regarded as a sufficient basis for protection of domain names which have not acquired recognition in the relevant trade circles as being the distinctive sign of a certain business.
We have stated in the [trademark] section that the provisions on absolute grounds for refusal of trademark registration cannot be applied to domain names.
The same holds true in respect of Sec. 18 et seq. of the German Commercial Code, according to which firm names that are liable to deceive the public cannot be registered.
However, the use of domain names which are deceptive or which would clash with accepted principles of morality and 'ordre public' may be prohibited according to Secs. 1 and 3 of the Unfair Competition Act.