201901.28

.EU: Brexit calendar in case of a no deal scenario. Our advice

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EURid, the .EU registry, has timed out two scenarios: in case of a no deal (Scenario 1) and in the event of an agreement between Great Britain and the European Union (Scenario 2). The latter would not start before 31 December 2020. The political context gives Scenario 1 an urgency that requires vigilance and anticipation.


The toolbox

Before proceeding with the Scenario 1 calendar, let’s recall the documents necessary to understand the legal issues that arise.

2002-04-22Regulation (EC) No 733/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 April 2002 on the implementation of the .eu Top Level Domain (Text with EEA relevance)
2004-04-28Commission Regulation (EC) No 874/2004 of 28 April 2004 laying down public policy rules concerning the implementation and functions of the .eu Top Level Domain and the principles governing registration (Text with EEA relevance)
2017-05-12Commission launches a public consultation on the review of the rules on the .eu top-level domain
2018-03-27Notice to stakeholders. Withdrawal of the United Kingdom and EU Rules on .EU Domain Names
2018-04-27The Commission proposes more flexibility in the .eu top-level-domain
2018-12-05The European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission reached an agreement on the new rules for the .eu top level domain (TLD)
2018-12-21Guidance on .eu top level domain name registrations in the event of a ‘no deal’ EU exit
2019-01-24EURid updated its Brexit webpage


The eligibility

Regulations 733/2002 and 874/2004 are in force. According to Article 4(2)(b) of Regulation (EC) No 733/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 April 2002 on the implementation of the .eu Top Level Domain, the register:

register domain names in the .euTLD through any accredited .eu Registrar requested by any:

(i) undertaking having its registered office, central administration or principal place of business within the Community, or

(ii) organisation established within the Community without prejudice to the application of national law, or

(iii) natural person resident within the Community“”.

Article 3 of the proposal should broaden the scope of eligibility in the following way:

Registration of one or more domain names under the .eu TLD can be requested by any of the following: 

(i) a Union citizen, independently of their place of residence; or 

(ii) a natural person who is not a Union citizen and who is resident of a Member State; or 

(iii) an undertaking established within the Union; or 

(iv) an organisation established within the Union without prejudice to the application of national law“.

In other words, the extension of the scope of eligibility concerns primarily the European Union citizens residing outside the Union’s borders. As a result, established legal persons or natural persons residing in Great Britain or Gibraltar would not be eligible. The inclusion of Great Britain and Gibraltar in the scope of eligibility is all the less conceivable as the European Parliament, the Council, and the European Commission already reached an agreement on the new rules for the .EU top-level domain. Above all, it is not in the spirit of the regulation to extend eligibility beyond the criteria of the European citizenship or establishment in a member state of the European Union or the European Economic Area.


The EURid calendar in case of no a no deal Brexit on 30 March 2019 at 00:00 CET

On March 23, 2019, as of 00:00 CET — EURid will notify by email both Great Britain/Gibraltar .EU domain names holders and their registrars about the forthcoming non-compliance of the data associated to their domain name within the .eu regulatory framework.

As of 30 March 2019 as of 00:00 CET — EURid will again notify by email both GB/GI registrants and their registrars that their domain names are not in compliance with the .EU regulatory framework.

Until 30 May 30, as of 00:00 CET — Registrants will be given the possibility to demonstrate their compliance with the .EU regulatory framework by updating their contact data. Between 30 March 2019 and 30 May 2019, the domain names will remain active. .EU domain names holders will then have to provide the address of a legally established entity in one of the E.U. Member States or the E.E.E. (option 1) (see advice #1 below) or change the place of residence (option 2).

Between 30 March 2019, and 30 and May 2019, the following actions will be possible (advice #2):

  • transfer the domain name to an eligible declarant;
  • edit or update Whois data regarding phone number, email address, mailing address, and country code;
  • update a contact or link a new contact;
  • Name server and DNSSEC changes.

However, during the same period, it will no longer be possible to:

  • transfer the domain names to established corporations or individuals residing in Great Britain or Gibraltar;
  • extend the mandate, unless the extension is accompanied by a request for transfer to an eligible person;
  • renew the domain names that are expected to expire between 30 March 2019 and 30 May 2019. These domain names will be withdrawn (advice #3).

Domain names subject to legal proceedings will remain registered until a decision has been registered. However, they will be suspended and will cease to operate as of 30 May 2019. If the decision orders a transfer to an eligible party, this will not pose any difficulty. On the other hand, if it is considered that the domain name must remain in the assets of an established legal person or of a natural person residing in Great Britain or in Gibraltar, the domain name will be withdrawn (advice #4).

As of 30 May 2019, 00:00 CET — Anyone who has not demonstrated eligibility will be considered ineligible and their domain names will be withdrawn so that they will cease to function.

As of 30 March 2020, 00:00 CET — Twelve months after the official Brexit date, all domain names will be made available to any eligible person.


Our advice

Advice #1 — Option 1 involves a transfer of the domain name, at least technically. The entity named in the Whois database is presumed to own the domain name. In order for the transfer, which is supposed to be only a technical operation, not to become a legal transaction involving a transfer of ownership, it is strongly recommended to use a contract. This contract:

guarantee the peaceful enjoyment of the British party on its domain names

provide for the technical transfer of the domain name if an agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom allows it, or if, on the occasion of a further revision of Regulation 733/2002, the scope of eligibility is widened enough to include established corporations and natural persons residing in Great Britain or Gibraltar. However, this last option seems unlikely.

IP Twins offers legal entities and individuals residing in Great Britain or Gibraltar the management of their domain names. Do not hesitate to contact us.

Advice #2.EU domain names holders will be able to transfer their domain names for free or for a fee only to eligible natural or legal persons. Buyers should not wait too long to identify, among the domain names concerned, those that are likely to increase the value of their domain names portfolio before they are made available to all eligible persons, ie 30 March 2020.

Advice #3 — If the domain names are expected to expire between 30 March 2019, and 30 May 2019, it will be important to proceed with the transfer (whatever on a merely technical or ownership basis) before the expiry date/time. Otherwise, the domain name will be withdrawn.

“To Sell or not to sell?” : IP Twins advises and assists you in the acquisition and sale of domain names.

Advice #4 — If a domain name is the subject of a legal proceeding, the parties should consider a negotiation or mediation in the hope of reaching a consensus on time.

IP Twins can help you imagine alternative solutions.

About IP Twins

IP Twins is an ICANN-accredited domain name registrar with 15 years of experience in domain name strategy and management. We represent trademark holders in UDRP proceedings.
We deliver security certificates tailored to your needs in order to ensure the safety of visitors to your website.
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Should you need to complete these investigations, our team based in China can help.
Do not hesitate to contact us.