Hengeler Mueller successfully represents Afilias in dispute on top-level domain .lotto

13. December 2013

The International Centre for Expertise of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC Expertise Centre) has decided that Afilias Ltd, an ICANN accredited registry operator for Internet domains, may register the new generic top-level domain (gTLD) .lotto.

The European State Lotteries and Toto Association (European Lotteries), to whom the German association of state lottery companies (Deutscher Lotto- and Totoblock) as well as the German Gemeinsame Klassenlotterie belong, had objected to the registration of these gTLD through Afilias in the context of the dispute resolution procedure as foreseen by ICANN for gTLD registrations.

With its decision, the ICC Expertise Centre rejected the arguments of European Lotteries that the availability of .lotto would lead to consumers being confused and exposed to unlicensed or even fraudulent providers of Internet gambling. The case has considerable impact on the economy of convergent gambling markets and addresses fundamental regulatory issues concerning global gambling services offered on the Internet. After the German Lotto- and Totoblock had already lost in German courts in 2006 in its attempt to prevent the cancellation of the trademark “Lotto” referring to the monopoly on lottery operations, it has now also been clarified for Internet domain law that gTLD .lotto is not reserved to state-owned lottery operators. European Lotteries fully lost the case.

Afilias Ltd., an Irish Internet service provider headquartered in Dublin, is the registry operator of the gTLD .info and other top-level domains and provides DNS services.

Hengeler Mueller advised and represented Afilias. The Hengeler Mueller team was led by partner Dirk Uwer (Regulatory) and included associate Susanne Koch (both Düsseldorf).