Spain introduces new '.es' domain name regulation


The Spanish government has passed a new regulation on the registration of country-code top-level domain names. Domain name administrator will assign names on a first-come, first-served basis provided applicants fulfil the regulation's requirements.

Firstly, as with the previous regulation and with the exception of certain public institutions, only Spanish natural persons or foreign natural persons with legal residency in Spain, organizations formed according to Spanish law and branches duly registered at the Mercantile Register are eligible to register '.es' domain names. However, in case of a second-level domain name (eg, ''), applicants only need to have an interest in or maintain links with Spain.

Secondly, applicants may obtain domain names based on their full organization name or its acronym. Proprietors and licensees (when authorized by the proprietor) may obtain domain names based on a trade name or mark. If a domain name is obtained on the basis of a mark, that mark must be registered at the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office, Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market or, in some cases, the World Intellectual Property Organization. Similarly, natural persons may register domain names that correspond to the name that appears on their identity card.

Thirdly, applicants must respect the regulation's syntax provisions (eg, not use underscore or exclamation marks), which were established in response to common computer system requirements.

Lastly, '.es' domain names may not be composed exclusively of geographical names nor can they be transferred for reasons other than (i) a general assignment, or (ii) because an organization's trade name or mark has been transferred. In both cases, the successor or the proprietor must comply with the entitlement requirements. Eligibility requirements and transfer restrictions do not seem compatible with some principles enshrined in the EC Treaty (ie, free movement of goods and freedom to provide services).

Laura Poncela and Elizabeth Boburg, Mullerat, Barcelona

Unlock unlimited access to all WTR content