PRACTICE GUIDANCE ON THE TRANSITION PERIOD IN THE WITHDRAWAL AGREEMENT – .EU DOMAIN NAMES

Published: 3 February 2020
CIPA has updated its Brexit advice to members, prepared by Alicia Instone, CIPA Vice-President and Chair of the Designs and Copyright Committee with help from Julia Florence, CIPA Immediate Past President. 
The UK IPO have issued new guidance on intellectual property during the transition period. To find out more, click here. 

During the Transition Period it will be “business as usual” for .EU Domain Names, however, there will be changes after if there is no future economic agreement at the end of the Transition Period that supersedes the Withdrawal Agreement.

Registration and Renewal of Domain Names

Given that the only people who are eligible to register .eu domain names are:

  • EU citizens (independent of their place of residence)
  • Natural persons who are not EU citizens but are a resident of a EU Member State
  • Undertakings established in the EU
  • Organisations established in the EU.

This means that undertakings and organisations established in the UK and not in the EU and non-EU nationals who reside in the UK will no longer be able to register or renewal .eu domain names after the end of the Transition Period if there is no future economic agreement at the end of the Transition Period that supersedes the Withdrawal Agreement.

Revocation of registered domain names

It will be possible for the Registry to revoke .eu domain names held by persons no longer meeting the eligibility requirements of its own initiative after the end of the Transition Period if there is no future economic agreement at the end of the Transition Period that supersedes the Withdrawal Agreement.

Rights that can be invoked in procedures for the revocation of speculative and abusive registrations

It will no longer be possible to use UK only recognised rights which are identical or confusingly similar to a name in respect of which a right is recognised or established by national and/or EU law and where the registered domain name was the subject of speculative and abusive registration as described in that Article after the end of the Transition Period if there is no future economic agreement at the end of the Transition Period that supersedes the Withdrawal Agreement. 

Applicable law in agreements between accredited .eu registrars and .eu registrants

It will no longer be possible for the registrant of a .eu domain name to designate, as applicable law, UK law, nor designate a dispute-resolution body or arbitration court or a court located in the UK after the end of the Transition Period if there is no future economic agreement at the end of the Transition Period that supersedes the Withdrawal Agreement.

Practice Point: In order to avoid the possible automatic revocation of .eu domains there are a couple of options that can be taken. The first is to transfer your .eu domain to an EU subsidiary outside the UK before the end of the Transition Period. If you do not have an EU subsidiary outside the UK then consider setting up an EU subsidiary. If this is not possible then you could also set up an alternate domain now with a redirection of traffic from your .eu domain to your alternate domain. Whilst this will not work post the end of the Transition Period it will hopefully get visitors used to your alternate domain. Also do bear in mind that proxy services are not allowed under the current EURid Domain Name Registration policy so exercise caution if you are planning to use an EU-based proxy service.