Frankfurt-based domain registry Denic does not allow the registration of two-letter .de domain names. But German carmaker Volkswagen has always wanted to own VW.de, because the company is widely known under this acronym and thus wants to protect its brand on the Internet.
That's why Volkswagen has recently sued Denic for the domain. The Frankfurt court now entitled Volkswagen to VW.de and said Denic would have to make the domain name available to the carmaker.
There are only few exceptions to the blocking of two-letter .de domains, namely ix.de, hq.de and Deutsche Bahn's DB.de. All of these domains were registered many years ago when the Internet was still in its infancy.
The Frankfurt court has made a decision in favor of Volkswagen, because Denic's not-for-registration rule would discrimate Volkswagen and its well-known brand name. Denic has appealed against the judgement, but the appeal was rejected. Against this rejection Denic has filed another complaint, so the court ruling isn't effective yet. But as it looks the ruling will not be revoked, which means that Volkswagen will most likely be the owner of VW.de very soon.
Although the court decision does not force Denic to make two-letter domains available for registration in general, it is possible that other companies will now sue Denic for their company acronyms, too. Will it only be a question of time until two-letter .de domains will be made publicly available? Just as two-letter or one-letter .com domains, they're very rare and highly valuable. Denic's take on this subject seems to be clear, but I think the German registry provider could also be going to auction the remaining two-letter domains off in the future. We will see.