IP Cases & Articles

No Deal Brexit Government advice: .eu domain name registrations

UK residents, companies and organisations may no longer be eligible to own, register, acquire and renew .eu top level domains.

As part of the UK Government’s preparations for a possible “hard Brexit”, it has published a set of guidance notes on how intellectual property rights would be affected if the UK leaves the EU in March 2019 with no deal. This is part of a series of technical notices being issued by the UK Government to assist businesses in their preparations.

The latest guidance from the UK Government on .eu top level domains, confirms that in the event of a ‘no deal’ EU exit, in order to be eligible to hold a .eu Top Level Domain:

  • Undertakings / Organisations – will need to have either been established within the EU or have a registered office, central administration or principle place of business within the EU; and
  • Individuals – must reside within the EU.

Consequently, as of 31 March 2019, the registry for .eu top level domains will be entitled to revoke, of its own initiative all domain names where the registered proprietors do not reside, or are not established (or have their registered office, central administration or principle place of business), within the EU. Holders of .eu top level domains are therefore strongly advised to check whether they will continue to meet the above eligibility criteria. If not then .eu top level domain name holders may wish to consider transferring their registration(s) to another top level domain such as .com, .co.uk, .net or .org or transferring ownership of .eu top level domains to an EU based individual/entity.

A further consequence of the above is that, 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 UK registered or unregistered rights when seeking to challenge .eu top level domain names.

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