Companies doing business in Europe should be aware of a unique opportunity starting shortly. On December 7, 2005, the process for reserving and registering domain names under the new Internet top-level domain name ".eu" will begin. It comprises the following three phases:
- Phase 1 (December 7, 2005, to February 6, 2006): In this first phase of the so-called "Sunrise Period," public institutions and holders or licensees of registered European Community and European national trademarks may apply for domain names under the new top-level domain. The registered name must correspond to the registered trademark or the name of the public institution.
- Phase 2 (February 7, 2006, to April 6, 2006): During the second phase of the Sunrise Period, registration will be expanded to permit individuals resident in the European Community and European Community-based companies, who can demonstrate that they hold unregistered rights which are protected under the laws of the relevant member state (e.g., company names, trade names, business identifiers etc.), to register names under the .eu domain that correspond to such rights.
- Phase 3 (starting on April 7, 2006): Following the end of the Sunrise Period, registration will be expanded to other entities and individuals.
In order to be able to register a .eu domain name during any phase, a company's registered office, central administration or principal place of business must be within the European Community. The authority administering the process of registration is EURid, a nonprofit organization, which also operates the new domain. However, the application must be made through an accredited registrar. A list of accredited registrars and more detailed information on the registration process can be found at http://www.eurid.eu/.
We recommend that eligible companies start the registration process as soon as possible. If EURid receives more than one valid application for a particular domain name, registration will be assessed on a first-come-first-served basis.
For more information on this or other technology transactions and licensing matters, contact the authors listed above.