.eu domain names: IP & Brexit
With the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union (EU) scheduled to take place on 30 March 2019 at 00:00h (CET), owners of .eu domain names who are based in the UK should take note of the European Commission’s “Notice to Stakeholders" published on 28 March 2018. In brief, all EU regulatory frameworks for the .eu top level domain (TLD) will no longer apply to the UK as of 31 March 2019. As a result, UK –based proprietors of.eu domain names are likely to be impacted as detailed below:
1. Registration and renewal of .eu domain names
Any natural person who resides in the UK, or any undertaking / organisation established in the UK but not also in an EU country will no longer be eligible to:
- register .EU domain names; or
- renew .EU domain names.
2. Revocation of .eu registered domain names
As of 31 March 2019, the registry for .eu domain names will be entitled to revoke, on its own initiative and without submitting the dispute to any extrajudicial settlement of conflicts, all domain names where the registered proprietors do not reside, or are not established, within the EU.
3. Third party challenge of speculative and abusive registrations
Save for the exception of ‘well known marks’ (as defined under Article 6bis of the Paris Convention), IP rights holders will no longer be able to rely on their UK registered or unregistered rights when seeking to challenge .eu domain names that are subject of speculative and abusive registration.
4. Applicable law
The European Commission have advised that all agreements between accredited .eu registrars and .eu registrants, that designate the UK as the governing law, should be amended so as to designate (as applicable law) the law of an EU member state (as of 31 March 2019).
As a result, proprietors of .eu domain names who are based in the UK are strongly advised to review their domain name strategy and take necessary steps to avoid any negative impact to their .eu domain name portfolio.
By way of example, domain name holders may want to consider assigning ownership of their .eu domain names (registered in the name of a UK based individual/entity) to an EU based individual/entity.
European Commission notice to stakeholders
You can download a PDF copy of the European Commission’s “Notice to stakeholders: withdrawal of the United Kingdom and EU rules on .eu domain names”, published 27 March, via its website.EC .eu domains notice
European Commisssion .eu domain policy
The European Commission policy regarding the top-level domain .eu can be viewed via its website.
Related article: draft agreement on UK withdrawal
On 19 March 2018 a draft agreement for the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union (EU) was published. Provisions relating to intellectual property are contained primarily within Articles 50-57 (inclusive) and are summarised in our online article “IP & Brexit: the draft agreement on UK withdrawal".