As the EU unveils its plans for the new .eu web address suffix we look at the next steps and the supposed benefits for brand owners.
Topic: Domain names
Who: The European Union
When: April 2002
EC Regulation 733/2002 on the implementation of the new .eu top-level domain (TLD) was adopted on 22 April 2002. The way is now paved for the introduction of a ".eu" suffix for internet addresses by late 2002 or early 2003. The Regulation obliges the European Commission to set up a ".eu" registry. This will be a non profit entity entrusted with the organisation, administration and management of the .eu TLD, including maintenance of the corresponding databases and the associated public query services, and registration of .eu domain names.
The process will be kicked off by publishing a call in the Official Journal of the European Communities for approaches from those interested in running the .eu Registry. It will end with the appointment of the Registry operator. In parallel with this process, public policy principles on registration will have to be put in place. These will deal with aspects such as an extra-judicial settlement of conflicts policy, a policy on speculative domain name registration, and the possibility of a "Sunrise period" by which owners of established brand names can get in early to protect the intellectual property rights in their brands.
Why this matters:
The Commission intends to act quickly on this initiative so that the new .eu TLD will be a reality within months rather than years. The intention is to promote the use of and access to the internet networks and improve the interoperability of trans-European networks as well as achieving higher visibility for the internal market in the virtual market place based on the internet. This grandiloquent phraseology is contained in the preamble to the Regulation. The harsh reality, however, is that, as with the introduction of all new TLDs, brand-owners’ rights are once again under threat from cybersquatters. Also in the vanguard will no doubt be entities pretending to be able to take early registrations of the .eu domain names, as ever with a fee attached. At this point in time, let’s be clear. There is no legitimate way in which .eu domain names can be reserved or registered and the situation is unlikely to change for some months.