Thursday, November 24, 2005

.eu domain registrations start December 7, 2005

If your company or organization does business in Europe, this may be important.

The launch dates for the newly established European .eu top level domain pursuant to European Commission Regulation (EC) No 874/2004 have been announced by EURid, the European Registry of Internet Domain Names. FAQs are available in English (en), German (de), Spanish (es), French (fr) and Italian (it).

Who is eligible for an .eu domain?

Eligible for an .eu domain according to Article 4(2)(b) EC Regulation 733/2002 is any:
"(i) undertaking having its registered office, central administration
or principal place of business within the
[European] Community, or
(ii) organisation established within the [European] Community
without prejudice to the application of national law, or
(iii) natural person resident within the [European] Community...."

This announcement is especially important for established persons, companies or organizations who already have "prior rights" to certain names and want to take advantage of early .eu domain registration in the Phase I and II Sunrise periods, as explained below.

Prior rights entitle early .eu domain registration.


1. trade marks registered in the EU (e.g. Coca-Cola, Sony, Windows, ThinkPad, iPod, Pentium, Ferrari, etc.) Here is an IBM "Legal Information for the ThinkPad" to show some trademark coverage, just in connection with the ThinkPad:
"IBM, the IBM logo, EasyServ, HelpCenter, OS/2, ServicePac, ThinkLight, ThinkPad, ThinkPad Proven, the ThinkPad Proven logo, TrackPoint, Ultrabay, UM Services, Update Connector, WorkPad and the WorkPad Proven logo are trademarks of IBM Corporation in the US and other countries. Bluetooth is a trademark owned by Bluetooth SIG, Inc. and licensed to IBM. Intel and Pentium are registered trademarks and SpeedStep is a trademark of Intel Corporation. Linux is a trademark of Linus Torvalds. Lotus and SmartSuite are registered trademarks of Lotus Development Corporation. Microsoft, Windows, Windows NT and the Microsoft logo are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. Other company, product and service names may be trademarks or service marks of others."

2. geographical indications or designations of origin in the EU (e.g. Champagne, Roquefort cheese)

3. unregistered trademarks used in the EU (e.g. LawPundit, EUPundit)

4. trade names in the EU (e.g. "John Doe's Printing Company" [non-existent at Google 23/11/2005], "your company name")

5. business identifiers in the EU (e.g. Ronald McDonald (McDonald's), Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck (Walt Disney Company); WIPO writes on business identifiers:
"Business identifiers” are signs which identify businesses as such, and not the products or services offered by the business, the latter feature constituting a pure trademark function. Signs that may constitute business identifiers are, for example, trade names, business symbols, emblems or logos. Some confusion as regards the functions of marks and business identifiers stems from the fact that, sometimes, the name of a company, i.e., its business identifier, is identical with one of the company’s trademarks."

6. company names in the EU (General Motors, General Electric, Microsoft Corporation, Intel, IBM, Google, Yahoo, etc.)

7. distinctive titles of protected literary or artistic works in the EU (e.g. the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling, Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, Star Wars, Indiana Jones)

It is absolutely NOT POSSIBLE to get pre-validation advice about a domain name from the registration validation company (PWC, see below) so do not waste your or anyone else's time trying to get such advice from them. Rather, for Phases I and II below, one must FIRST submit a domain registration claiming the "prior right" to a name together with the documentation required and then let the validation process take its course. See in this regard the EURid pages linked below as well as the Public Policy Rules in EC Regulation 874/2004.

The .EU domain registrations will proceed in three phases:

SUNRISE PERIOD - PHASE I - starts December 7, 2005
SUNRISE PERIOD - PHASE II - starts February 7, 2006
LAND RUSH PERIOD - starts April 7, 2006 - .EU domain registration is open to everyone

Registrations in Phases I and II are for persons or organizations which claim a prior right to a name (e.g. trademarks (trade marks), company names, etc.). Registration during Phases I and II will require documentation of any claim made and that documentation validation will be carried out by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC).

When can one register an .eu domain? (see detailed instruction here on Launch):

Phase of Registration is Dependent on the Type of Prior Right Which Can be Documented

Phase 1 & 2 - Registered National and Community Trade Marks
Phase 1& 2 - Geographical Indications or Designations of Origin
Phase 2 - Unregistered Trade Marks
Phase 2 - Trade Names
Phase 2 - Business identifiers
Phase 2 - Company Names
Phase 2 - Distinctive Titles of Protected Literary and Artistic Works
Land Rush - Everybody else can register a domain

In the event of conflict between two or more registrants who have legitimate "prior right" claims to a name (Omega Watches and Omega Engineering, Inc. e. g. could in our view both claim the domain), the domains will be registered on a first-come, first-served basis.

Please note that EURid is the REGISTRY for .eu domain names but they do NOT do the registering of domains. This is done only by ACCREDITED REGISTRARS, a list of which is HERE.

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Crossposted to Law Pundit.