China's Supreme People's Court issued new rules this summer to govern litigation over domain names in PRC national courts, and a Chinese law office has now provided this English-language summary.
The new rules are limited in an important and intriguing respect: They appear to give protection only to the owners of well-known trademarks. (Presumably, this means trademarks that are well-known in the PRC, as opposed to being well-known anywhere else.) The rules give exuberant protection to those rightsholders, but they appear to give zilch to the obscure-trademark owners who have provided so much of WIPO's UDRP caseload.
In addressing the question of disputes over foreign domain names (presumably any name in a TLD other than .CN), the rules state that the legal wrong is deemed to have been committed -- a crucial step in defining a court's jurisdiction -- wherever the plaintiff has a computer that can resolve the challenged name. In other words (though the summary is incomplete on this point), it appears that Chinese courts are ready to assert jurisdiction over essentially any domain-name dispute involving a Chinese plaintiff with a "well-known" trademark, regardless of where the domain name was registered or by whom.
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