Owners of .eu domain names in United Kingdom may keep their domains after BREXIT

.EU

On 18 July 2019, the European Commission published an updated notice to stakeholders about the withdrawal of the United Kingdom (BREXIT) and EU rules on .eu domain names.

The notice highlights that at the time of the UK withdrawal, EU citizens residents in UK may still keep their .eu domain name(s) thanks to the changes of the .eu eligibility criteria that as of 19 October 2019 will see the citizenship criteria added to the residency criteria.

Read more details here:

WITHDRAWAL OF THE UNITED KINGDOM AND EU RULES ON .EU DOMAIN NAMES

“The United Kingdom submitted on 29 March 2017 the notification of its intention to withdraw from the Union pursuant to Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. Following a request by the United Kingdom, the European Council (Article 50) agreed on 11 April 2019 to extend further the period provided for in Article 50(3) TEU until 31 October 2019. This means that the United Kingdom will be, as of 1 November 2019 (‘the withdrawal date’) a ‘third country’.

Preparing for the withdrawal is not just a matter for EU and national administrations but also for private parties.

In view of the uncertainties surrounding the ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement, the .eu Top Level Domain Registry, accredited .eu Registrars, .eu domain names registrants, applicants for .eu domains names and generally stakeholders are reminded of legal repercussions, which need to be considered when the United Kingdom becomes a third country.

Subject to the transition period provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement, as of the withdrawal date the EU regulatory framework for the .eu Top Level Domain, and in particular Regulation (EC) No 733/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 April 2002 on the implementation of the .eu Top Level Domain, will no longer apply to the United Kingdom. This has in particular the following consequences:

1. REGISTRATION AND RENEWAL OF DOMAIN NAMES

According to Article 4(2)(b) of Regulation (EC) No 733/2002, as amended by Regulation (EU) 2019/517, as of 19 October 2019 the following persons are eligible to register .eu domain names:

(i) a Union citizen, independently of their place of residence;

(ii) a natural person who is not a Union citizen and who is a resident of a Member State;

(iii) an undertaking that is established in the Union; or

(iv) an organisation that is established in the Union, without prejudice to the application of national law.

As of the withdrawal date, undertakings and organisations that are established in the United Kingdom but not in the EU and third country nationals (i.e. non-EU-27 citizens) who reside in the United Kingdom will no longer be eligible to register .eu domain names or, if they are .eu registrants, to renew .eu domain names registered before the withdrawal date.

Accredited .eu Registrars will not be entitled to process any request for the registration of or for renewing registrations of .eu domain names by those undertakings, organisations and persons.

2. REVOCATION OF REGISTERED DOMAIN NAMES

Where, as of the withdrawal date and as a result of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom, a holder of a domain name does no longer fulfil the general eligibility criteria pursuant to Article 4(2)(b) of Regulation (EC) 733/2002, the Registry for .eu will be entitled to revoke such domain name on its own initiative and without submitting the dispute to any extrajudicial settlement of conflicts in accordance with point (b) of Article 20, first subparagraph, of Commission Regulation (EC) No 874/2004.

3. RIGHTS THAT CAN BE INVOKED IN PROCEDURES FOR THE REVOCATION OF SPECULATIVE AND ABUSIVE REGISTRATIONS

According to Article 21(1) of Commission Regulation (EC) 874/2004, a registered domain name shall be subject to revocation, using an appropriate extra-judicial or judicial procedure, where that name is identical or confusingly similar to a name in respect of which a right is recognised or established by national and/or Union law and where the registered domain name was the subject of speculative and abusive registration as described in that Article.

As of the withdrawal date, rights recognised or established by the United Kingdom, but not by EU-27 Member States or by the Union, can no longer be invoked in procedures under Article 21(1). By contrast, rights recognised by the Member States or by the Union, arising from international instruments, like rights arising from Article 6bis of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property and Article 16(2) and (3) of the Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, are not affected.

4. APPLICABLE LAW IN AGREEMENTS BETWEEN ACCREDITED .EU REGISTRARS AND .EU REGISTRANTS

In accordance with Article 5, first subparagraph, of Commission Regulation (EC) No 874/2004, agreements between the Registrar and the registrant of a .eu domain name cannot designate, as applicable law, a law other than the law of a EU Member State, nor can they designate a dispute-resolution body, unless selected by the .eu Top Level Domain Registry pursuant to Article 23 of that Regulation, nor an arbitration court or a court located outside the EU.

Should any such agreement designate as applicable law the law of the United Kingdom, the Registrar and registrant concerned are advised to amend the relevant agreement accordingly so that it complies with Article 5, first subparagraph, of Regulation (EC) No 874/2004 as of the withdrawal date.”

Please see the complete notice here.

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About Konstantinos Zournas

Konstantinos studied Computer Engineering and Computer Science in London and lives in Athens, Greece. He loves domains and building websites. He is online since 1995, learned about html in 1996 and got into domains in 2002. He started the OnlineDomain.com blog in 2012.

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