During the Brexit transition period, organisations established in the UK were able to continue holding .eu domain names; however, as of 1 January 2021, companies established in the UK but not in the EU will no longer be eligible to hold an existing .eu domain name nor register a new one.
Who is eligible for a .EU domain name?
You may only register or hold .eu domain names if you are:
- a Union citizen, independently of your place of residence;
- a natural person who is not a Union citizen, but who is a resident of a Member State;
- an undertaking that is established in the Union; or
- an organisation that is established in the Union, without prejudice to the application of national law.
As of 1 January 2021 at 00:00:00 CET, EURid ceased allowing the registration of ineligible persons. Therefore, any companies that desire a .eu domain name now that the UK has left the EU must first establish themselves within a Member State of the EU.
Is there a transition period for current holders of .eu domain names?
There is no transition period per se for organisations that held a .eu domain name immediately prior to 1 January 2021. Any .eu domain name holder that became ineligible following this date had their domain status immediately set to “SUSPENDED”, which ceases support for any reliant service, such as website and email.
Suspended domains will however be restricted from general registration for a twelve-month period, during which time the original holders may be reinstated if their registration data is updated to meet the eligibility criteria above. This gives companies plenty of time to establish themselves in a Member State and re-apply for their domain names.
The value of registered trade marks
Don’t forget that a registered trade mark in the relevant jurisdiction can, in some circumstances, be enforceable against any domain name registered in bad faith. It won’t help you if the domain pre-dates your trade mark registration or if it is genuinely held without any ‘bad faith’ allegation, but otherwise, a registered trade mark can be a valuable weapon against cybersquatting or domains registered in bad faith.
If you would like to discuss this blog or any other commercial contract query, please contact a member of the Commercial team and we will be delighted to assist you.
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