While domains were actually just an address at the beginning of the Internet hype, they are increasingly becoming an economic asset. It is not for nothing that pure domain names are auctioned off on portals such as Sedo, sometimes for six-figure amounts, and that entire companies have specialized in trading domains.

However, whether a domain can be exploited in the context of a foreclosure was hotly disputed for a long time. The Federal Court of Justice has long held that a domain name is not another property right within the meaning of Section 857 (1) of the German Civil Code. 1 ZPO, but that the object of an attachment is the entirety of the claims under the law of obligations against the awarding authority.

The garnishment is therefore carried out in the same way as a garnishment and transfer order, making the registration office a third-party debtor. However, this could only exert rather economic pressure on a debtor, because the latter might no longer be able to access the domain and use it for its online services, for example. Often enough, however, the debtor preferred to see his money. Then it was difficult for the debtor to realize the domain, because DENIC, for example, usually refused to cooperate in seizures.

The Federal Court of Justice recently clarified this and ruled:

[…]b) The third party debtor in the attachment of the entirety of the domain holder’s claims under the law of obligations arising from the registration agreement is DENIC eG (following BFHE 258, 223).

c) In the event of a realization of the attached claims pursuant to sec. 857 para. 1, § 844 para. 1 ZPO by transfer in lieu of payment at an estimated value, the creditor assumes all claims arising from the registration agreement with DENIC eG, including the contractual position as domain holder to be registered. […]

So DENIC will probably not be able to refuse in the future and a sale of the domain for example via Sedo should be possible now. Thus, if the debtor does not pay, the domain can be exploited, at any rate in compliance with all other provisions of enforcement law.

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