'.eu' registry warns businesses to steer clear of unaccredited registrars

European Union

The European Registry of Internet Domain Names (EURid), the manager of the future '.eu' top-level domain (TLD), has warned businesses to avoid registering domain names with firms offering pre-registrations in the '.eu' TLD. Although the registration process is set to start by the end of this year - beginning with a sunrise period for trademark owners - EURid has yet to specify a launch date.

The Council of Ministers of the European Union adopted the regulation on the '.eu' TLD in March 2002. However, it was not until May 2003 that the European Commission selected EURid as the registry for the '.eu' TLD. This late appointment means that a special EU committee, in consultation with EURid, still needs to lay down the more detailed work on the registration and alternative dispute resolution policies. A network of registrars will also have to be in place before a sunrise period is launched for trademark rights holders and registrations start in earnest.

Pre-registrations currently offered by domain name resellers have no official character whatsoever and there is absolutely no guarantee that customers will succeed in registering the corresponding domain name at the start of the live registrations. This is because a company that does not become an accredited registrar will have to pass on all its pre-registrations to an accredited registrar. All pre-registrations will then have to be introduced into the automated EURid systems prior to the official start of the live registrations (after the closing of the sunrise period). They will be processed as soon as the '.eu' TLD opens for live registrations. Where the same domain names were pre-registered by different parties, the automated systems will determine on a first come, first served basis which pre-registration will become a definitive registration.

Friederike Bahr, Beiten Burkhardt Goerdeler, Munich

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