Registration and use of domains at ccTLD registry

Registry

Which entity is responsible for registration of domain names in the country code top-level domain (ccTLD)?

The registry for the German ccTLD .de is DENIC eG of Frankfurt, a registered cooperative under German law. Membership can be obtained by anyone who administers domain names under the ccTLD .de. In February 2019, DENIC eG had 284 members.

Method

How are domain names registered?

Domain names can be registered directly with DENIC eG or through one of its members. The registration agreement, however, is always concluded between the registrant and the registry. If a domain name is registered with a registrar, the registrar acts as an agent for DENIC eG.

Duration

For how long is registration effective?

Registration is effective for 12 months. If a domain name is not renewed after this term, it will enter into a redemption grace period for 30 days before becoming publicly available again.

Cost

What is the cost of registration?

The cost of registration varies depending on the registrar, and for a .de domain name starts at approximately €3 per annum. The most expensive registration is probably a registration directly with DENIC eG, which currently costs €116 per annum.

Transfer

Are registered domain names transferable? If so, how? Can the use of a domain name be licensed?

Domain names may be transferred to a third party using an authorisation code, which is provided by the current registrar of the domain name concerned. Usually, the transfer is effected by DENIC eG within hours. However, the transfer will be blocked by DENIC eG if the domain name is subject to a disputed entry (see question 6).

In addition, the use of a domain name can also be licensed.

ccTLD versus gTLD registration

What are the differences, if any, with registration in the ccTLD as compared with a generic top-level domain (gTLD)?

Unlike for gTLDs, the registration agreement is always concluded between the registrant and the registry (as opposed to the registrant and the registrar). Furthermore, if a third party intends to serve documents on a registrant not located in Germany, such a registrant has to name, upon request, an authorised recipient within two weeks.

An important characteristic of registrations under .de is that any third party can apply to DENIC eG for a dispute entry in order to prevent the transfer of the domain name concerned to a third party and changes with regard to the WHOIS data during pending litigation. The party applying for a dispute entry must provide evidence that it enjoys rights in the domain name (based on a trademark or name) and to give assurance that it will take legal action to obtain the deletion or transfer of the domain name concerned. It is not sufficient to base the action intended only on cease-and-desist claims (claims for forbearance) with regard to the specific use of a domain name.

If a domain name is deleted while subject to a dispute entry, the domain name will automatically be registered in the name of the applicant for the dispute entry and will not be open to the general public. As a result, the legal enforcement of a claim for deletion equals a transfer of the disputed domain name.

The dispute entry is valid for one year and can be renewed if the applicant provides evidence of claims pending.

DENIC eG receives several thousands of applications for dispute entries every year (approximately 2,300 in 2018).

Registrants’ privacy

Can the registrant use a privacy service to hide its contact information?

DENIC eG does not allow the use of privacy services. If a party does not want to be named in the WHOIS data and uses third-party contact information in connection with its domain name registration, DENIC eG will consider the third party (ie, the registered owner) to be the actual owner of the domain name.