Registrar to allow transfers of '.be' domain names


DNS.BE, the nonprofit organization responsible for registering country-code top-level domains in Belgium, has announced that it will allow the transfer of '.be' names beginning in the third quarter of this year.

Currently, registrants of '.be' domain names are granted a nontransferable licence to use those names. This rule was introduced to discourage individuals from registering domain names with the sole purpose of reselling them to rightful trademark owners. Although this has not completely eliminated cybersquatting in Belgium, to date, the courts and the Arbitration and Mediation Centre combined have had to deal with only about 30 cases.

Nevertheless, the prohibition on transfers has proved to be an obstacle to out-of-court settlements. This is because disputing parties must agree that the cybersquatter will release the domain name on a certain date so that the rightful trademark owner can register it immediately upon its release. In addition, the prohibition is perceived as a restriction on normal business activity, indicated by a recent survey conducted by DNS.BE in which 85% of respondents voted against it.

Tanguy Van Overstraeten and Bastiaan Bruyndonckx, Linklaters De Bandt, Brussels

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