New '' domain names for mark owners


The French Association for Cooperation in Internet Naming (AFNIC) has amended its domain name registration policy to allow companies to register their marks under the new second-level domain '' from the moment they apply for a trademark registration in France. This follows the reform at the end of last year allowing companies to pre-register their trade name or mark as '.fr' domain names from the moment they register their company with the Chamber of Commerce (see Domain name registration made simple to prevent cybersquatting).

Previously, domain names could only be reserved on the basis of a trademark registration - be it a French, Community or international trademark registration. The new policy, allowing parties to reserve '' domain names on the basis of a French application, is advantageous because registration procedures, in particular for Community trademark registrations, are often very long.

In order to reserve a '' domain name on the basis of a French trademark application, two documents must be provided: (i) a copy of the French trademark application or a copy of the publication of the application; and (ii) upon the registration of the mark, a copy of the registration certificate.

AFNIC will itself verify that the Trademark Office has accepted the French trademark application upon which the domain name is based. If the Trademark Office rejects the application, AFNIC will cancel the corresponding '' domain name.

Karina Dimidjian and Claire Lazard, Bureau DA Casalonga-Josse, Paris

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