This refers to a policy developed by Network Solutions (the first registrar to register domain names in the U.S.) that can be invoked when two parties have a dispute over rights in a domain name. Typically, these disputes involves at least one party who claims the domain name infringes or dilutes their trademark rights. The policy has been revised a couple times in an effort to reduce the amount of litigation and hassles with which Network Solutions has had to contend. Currently the policy can be read at The predominant feature of the policy (ver. 3) are that anyone who has a trademark registration issued by any country may ultimately stop the domain name owner who is using the registered trademark as a domain name. The policy has been severely criticized on the basis that it fails to accommodate the fact that trademark law permits use of the same mark for unrelated products or services. Network Solutions' policy has also been criticized because it unfairly favors owners of registered trademarks, even though trademark rights in this country are not granted by registration, but by use. Registrations are only effective under the dispute policy if they were obtained prior to the acquisition of the domain name. For this reason, trademark registration is more important than ever, if you plan to do business on the Internet.

Another important trademark registration consideration prompted by Network Solutions' current dispute policy is whether or not to register design features of marks. Network Solutions' policy currently excludes from its protection any trademarks incorporating a design. It appears from the plain language of the policy that Network Solutions' intended to exclude from protection all lingual marks that are portrayed with special typefaces or colors, as opposed to excluding only those marks that are registered specifically as design marks, which happen to have words in them as well. Thus, if you want to protect design features of a mark, be sure to register a text-only mark without claiming protection for typeface or color, etc., in addition to a registration with the design features.