March 15 (3-15) is Consumers' Day in China and the website 315.gov.cn was launched a few years ago to help consumers find useful information online. However an unnamed private company's recent registration of 315.com.cn has attracted attention and caused a flurry of online discussions about domain squatting.

CNNIC (China Internet Network Information Center) has now made a formal statement on the issue, making it clear that established number combinations such as "315" should be used freely as domain names since they do not fall into the scope of trademark infringement. Local media report that CNNIC says it is acceptable and legal for the private company to have ownership of 315.com.cn.

If the Chinese Consumer's Association, owner of the 315.gov.cn domain name, wants to contest the 315.com.cn domain name, it will need to submit an application to the China International Trade Arbitration Commission or bring a lawsuit in a Chinese court against the private company. There is no indication yet that the Chinese Consumer's Association plans to pursue the issue.

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