Every website needs a domain name, which is the web address that identifies it and allows users to access it. The domain name registrar oversees assigning domain names.
In the Philippines, the domain name registrar is dotPH.
dotPH has rules regarding what can and cannot be included in
.ph domain names. Understanding these rules is important when registering a domain name in the Philippines.
Some key points about dotPH domain name rules:
- Certain reserved names cannot be registered
- Inappropriate language is not allowed
- Trademarked names owned by other companies are prohibited
|Type of Prohibited Name
|Government agencies, geographic locations
|Profanity, racial slurs
|Brand names owned by other companies
Knowing the dotPH domain name rules can help avoid having a request rejected. This article outlines what is not allowed in
.ph domain names.
Domain Name Restrictions in the Philippines
a). Using Reserved Names
One type of domain name that is prohibited by DOT Philippines is reserved names. These are domain names that are set aside and cannot be registered by the general public.
There are two main categories of reserved names:
- Government agencies and services
- Geographic locations
Government Agencies and Services
Domain names matching government agencies and services in the Philippines are reserved and cannot be registered. For example:
These domain names are set aside to ensure government entities can use domain names that match their official organization names.
Some other examples of reserved Philippine government domain names:
- doh.ph (Department of Health)
- deped.ph (Department of Education)
- dot.ph (Department of Trade)
- nso.ph (National Statistics Office)
- dfa.ph (Department of Foreign Affairs)
- poc.ph (Philippine Olympic Committee)
Trying to register one of these reserved government domain names will result in the request being denied by dotPH.
Domain names for major Philippine geographic locations are also reserved. Examples include:
Domain names matching province names or major cities cannot be registered by private entities or individuals. This prevents ambiguity or misrepresentation of official government regions.
Some other examples of protected geographic domain names in the Philippines:
- Region names (soccsksargen.ph, calabarzon.ph)
- Province names (pangasinan.ph, batangas.ph)
- Major city names (makati.ph, pasig.ph)
As with government agencies, attempts to register reserved geographic domain names will be rejected.
Trying to register a domain name matching an existing government agency or geographic region is futile.
dotPH has set these names aside to avoid confusion. Checking the reserved name lists can prevent a domain name application from being denied.
b). Inappropriate Language
Another type of domain name that is prohibited by dotPH regulations is names containing inappropriate language.
DOT Philippines screens all domain name applications and denies any names that have obscene, offensive, or otherwise unsuitable words and phrases.
Examples of inappropriate language that cannot be used in
.ph domain names:
- Profanity – Domain names cannot contain swear words or vulgar language. Words like shit, fuck, or bastard would be denied.
- Racial slurs – Derogatory or racist terminology is not permitted. Slurs targeting race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or other groups would be rejected.
- Violence – Domain names promoting violence, crime, or illegal acts are prohibited. This includes terms like kill, murder, rape, etc.
Some other categories of inappropriate language that dotPH screens for:
- Sexual content – Overtly sexual domain names are not allowed. Examples like porn, xxx, or boobs would be denied.
- Illegal drugs – Domain names related to the use, production, or distribution of illegal substances will not be approved. For instance, cocaine.ph or weed.ph would be rejected.
- Harmful content – Names suggesting or glorifying self-harm, eating disorders, suicide or other destructive behaviors are prohibited.
|Type of Inappropriate Content
|Example Domain Names
|(Examples too offensive to list)
dotPH has broad discretion to deny any domain name with content deemed unsuitable, offensive, or contrary to public interest.
Applicants should be cautious of trying to register domain names with suggestive spellings or hidden meanings of inappropriate terms.
Even subtle offenses may lead to rejection during screening.
Carefully considering the language used can help avoid a domain name application being denied.
Brand, product, and company names that raise no concerns make for the best domain name choices when registering with dotPH.
c). Trademarked Names
Another prohibited domain name category enforced by DOT Philippines is trademarked names belonging to other companies or products.
Domain names that match registered trademarks cannot be registered without permission from the trademark owner. This prevents brand infringement and mimicry.
Some examples of protected trademarks that cannot be registered as .ph domain names:
These and many other trademarks are legally owned by established companies. DOT Philippines will reject any attempt to register their trademarked names as domains.
Exceptions may be made if you have documented permission from the trademark holder.
For example, an authorized Apple reseller could potentially register applestorecebu.ph with Apple’s consent.
However, dotPH will still likely reject slight misspellings or variations of trademarked names. For example:
- Micrososoft.ph instead of Microsoft
- Philipins Airlines instead of Philippine Airlines
- Jollybees.ph instead of Jollibee
Intentionally misspelling a brand name does not mean you can freely register it as a
.ph domain. dotPH screens for these attempts to misuse trademarks through mimicry.
The safest approach is to avoid trademarked terms entirely when choosing a domain name.
Original names not tied to existing brands make for easier approval.
If your desired domain name contains any trademarked words or phrases, consult with a legal professional first.
They can verify whether you may legally use the trademarked content and guide you through the domain registration process.
With numerous high-profile brands to consider, checking for trademark conflicts is crucial when applying for a
Following DOT Philippines rules helps avoid unnecessary trouble from trademark infringement.
Intentionally misspelling a trademarked name does not allow you to freely register it as a .ph domain.
Even with typos and spelling errors, dotPH screens for attempts to misuse trademarks through mimicry.
For example, consider these misspelled variations of famous trademarked brands:
- Adidas -> Addidos
- Starbucks -> Starbux
- Youtube -> Utube
- Facebook -> Facebuk
Although creatively spelled, these domain names would likely be rejected by DOT Philippines due to their similarity to existing trademarks.
Some other examples of misspellings that could be denied:
- Gooogle instead of Google
- McDonalds instead of McDonald’s
- Samsng instead of Samsung
- Havaianas instead of Havaianas
Spelling errors and phonetic substitutions do not evade trademark law. dotPH often recognizes misspellings of brand names and denies registration accordingly.
The rationale is that these domain names could:
- Cause consumer confusion
- Dilute or disparage a brand’s image
- Allow cybersquatting on a valued trademark
So misspellings raise the same issues as directly using a trademarked name. Protection still applies.
Of course, slight variations may sometimes slip through if not obvious. But there is no guarantee. Safer to avoid mimicry attempts when possible.
For any trademarked name, however spelled, get legal guidance before seeking
.ph domain registration.
Confirm whether your desired spelling would be considered infringement. This can avoid wasting time on an application that will certainly be denied.
When registering a
.ph domain name, carefully follow the rules set by dotPH to avoid having your request rejected.
This article covered the major categories of prohibited domain names:
- Reserved names like government agencies and geographic regions
- Names with inappropriate language or offensive terms
- Trademarked names belonging to other brands
- Intentional misspellings of trademarks
Attempting to register names in these categories will result in denial of the domain registration.
Some key takeaways:
- Check dotPH resources like the Reserved Names List before applying.
- Avoid language that could be considered obscene, derogatory, or harmful.
- Steer clear of trademarked terms owned by other companies.
- Minor typos or spelling tweaks do not circumvent trademark law.
|Type of Prohibited Name
|What to Avoid
|Profanity, slurs, violence
Violating any of these rules can derail your .ph domain name registration. Carefully screen your desired name against dotPH regulations first.
For any questions, consult a legal advisor to review your domain name and registration request. Following the proper procedures will help smooth the application process.
With some prudent planning, you can identify an available
.ph domain name that aligns with your brand or website vision.