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CLASS 46


Now in its twelfth year, Class 46 is dedicated to European trade mark law and practice. This weblog is written by a team of enthusiasts who want to spread the word and share their thoughts with others.

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Anthonia Ghalamkarizadeh
Birgit Clark
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Yvonne Onomor
MONDAY, 23 MARCH 2020
European domains after Brexit: who is affected?

After three extensions of time, the UK has finally left the EU and entered the transition period. This will not only affect the .eu ccTLD, but also other European ccTLDs who carry eligibility requirements related to the location or geographical presence of the domain owner. Clare Grimley and Lara Elder of the MARQUES Cyberspace Team explain.

Whilst it may seem that UK domain owners are the only ones impacted by Brexit, this is not the case. Many brand owners based outside the EU used a UK subsidiary or other UK-based entity for the purposes of registering certain European ccTLDs in order to meet the eligibility requirements.

Impact on European ccTLDs

We have put together a summary of European ccTLDs which are directly affected by Brexit and their current position (see  below). This does not include European ccTLDs which have local presence requirements irrespective of Brexit.

It is also worth noting that, whilst not a direct requirement for the domain owner, the rules for .cz, .de and .sk domains all require an address for service in the EU/EEA to be provided if requested by the Registry. 

On the contrary, the .co.uk, .uk and .org.uk ccTLDs are not affected by Brexit, and continue to welcome registrations from anyone, anywhere in the world without territorial or other restrictions.

So, before the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, affected domain owners will need to ensure that their domain name registrations continue to comply with the eligibility requirements.

UK companies and subsidiaries

UK brand owners, or those who are based outside the UK but which use a UK subsidiary for the purposes of registering certain ccTLDs in Europe, should note that these domain names will need to be moved either to a subsidiary or other affiliate based in the European Union, if possible, or placed with another entity that can hold a domain name of behalf of the brand owner, such as an intermediary registrar controlled entity in the EU or a law firm the brand owner works with (if this is possible in a particular jurisdiction).

There may be implications and issues with placing affected domain names with other entities (such as tax and/or company law restrictions), so the sooner consideration is given to doing so, the better.

Clare writes: If you have an EU-based entity able to hold affected domains then start moving them now; the reassignment of domain names is not always a straightforward process, and it can take time to get the relevant documentation in place. There is still uncertainty amongst the Registries so moving your names now could avoid a mad dash in December 2020. Check with your Registrar to see what options they can offer and if you are without alternative, consider moving your website to a different extension, whether that is an alternative ccTLD, a gTLD, or a new gTLD.

By Clare Grimley, Com Laude and Lara Elder, Carpmaels & Ransford. The authors are members of the MARQUES Cyberspace Team

EUROPEAN ccTLDs DIRECTLY AFFECTED BY BREXIT

Country/Territory

TLDs

What the Rules say

What the Registries say

European

Union

.eu

.ею  .ευ

Pursuant to the amended eligibility rules in Regulation (EU) 2019/517, domain owners need to be Union citizens (regardless of address), resident of a Member State, or an organisation established in the Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway by the end of the transition period.

Existing domains registered to UK owners will ultimately be deleted and made available for registration unless the domain owner can show that they meet the eligibility criteria. Look out for the updated timeline here (although note the page is currently awaiting update with the most recent timeline).

Bulgaria

.bg .бг

Domain owners need to be individuals or legal entities with commercial registration in the Republic of Bulgaria or an EU Member State.

Existing domains registered to UK owners will not be affected; however new domains will have to be registered via an EU-registered third party.

Croatia

.hr

Domain owners need to be individuals or legal entities registered in the Republic of Croatia, foreign entities who have a registered subsidiary in the Republic of Croatia or a legal entity established in the EU.

Existing domains registered to UK owners will not be affected and the Registry has decided that UK registrants can continue to register .hr domain names even after Brexit.

 

France

.fr .pm .re

.tf

.wf .yt

Domain owners must be located within the territory of one of the Member States of the EU, or Norway, Switzerland, Iceland or Liechtenstein.

The Registry has not made a decision yet.

 

Hungary

.hu

Domain owners need to be individuals or legal entities in Hungary, the EU, a country of the Council of Europe, the EEA, EFTA or a country neighbouring Hungary. Alternatively, they must be the owner of a trade mark registered in, or granted protection rights, in Hungary.

The UK has not left the Council of Europe at present and so .hu domains are unaffected by Brexit unless this position changes.

Italy

.it

.co.it

Domain owners need to be individuals with citizenship or residence in, or entities with, a registered office in the EEA, the Vatican, the Republic of San Marino, or Switzerland.

Existing domains registered to UK owners will not be affected and can continue to be registered during the transition period, however the Registry is awaiting the final outcome of negotiations between the UK and EU before setting their policy for registrations after 31 December 2020.

Posted by: Blog Administrator @ 09.10
Tags: Brexit, domain names, .eu,
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MARQUES does not guarantee the accuracy of the information in this blog. The views are those of the individual contributors and do not necessarily reflect those of MARQUES. Seek professional advice before action on any information included here.


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