openprovider.co.uk/news: The EU domain battle.: "A recent example of an expensive lawsuit is the Shell case for royaldutchshellplc.com and royaldutchshellgroup.com. Shell lost this case. So far the lawsuit has cost millions and the domain still doesn't belong to them.": Posted Thursday 3 November 2005
The long awaited EU Top-Level-Domain (TLD) will be launched soon and expectations are pitched high. Most likely the EU domain will become more important than all existing European TLDs and will take its place near to the COM TLD.
Everybody that failed to get
hold of a domain during the .COM domain race, or any other important TLD
race, now has a new chance. In three stages EU domains will be assigned
on a 'First-come, first-served' basis. The first stage, Sunrise 1,
starts the 7th of December 2005. In this stage only public bodies and
registered trademarks can register the corresponding name. During
Sunrise 2, beginning the 7th of February 2006, registration is also
available for name rights protected by law in an EU member state. The
Landrush starts on the 7th of April 2006 and from this point onward
registration is open for everybody in the European Union.
During Sunrise 1 you might feel safe when you have the corresponding trademark for your domain, but donít forget that every EU member state has its own, independent, trademark system. Even within some of these systems duplicate trademarks are accepted, as long as they represent different goods or services.
The chance of someone having
an identical trademark to yours is more likely than you might expect.
Besides that there could also be public bodies with a duplicate name or
abbreviation to your trademark.
During Sunrise 2 even more people could be aiming for the domain you want. All protected name rights like company names, brand names, trade names, artist names and family names can also be registered. In Europe there will be many duplicate names belonging to one of these groups.
The seemingly short history of domain names already shows many examples of Multinationals having to pay extremely high prices for a domain corresponding to their company name just because it was captured by a small company with the same name that had a provider that was slightly faster than theirs.
A recent example of an expensive lawsuit is the Shell case for royaldutchshellplc.com and royaldutchshellgroup.com. Shell lost this case. So far the lawsuit has cost millions and the domain still doesn't belong to them.