Feeds

.eu is a Euro domain, for Euro people - top legal bod

Only businesses within boundary can claim to be part of European market

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Only businesses established in the EU can register trademarks as web addresses in the '.eu' domain, a legal advisor to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has said.

Businesses based outside of the EU cannot contract with other companies based within the trading bloc to register trade mark domain names at the .eu domain on their behalf, Advocate General Verica Trstenjak said.

"Only undertakings and organisations which are themselves established in the EU may request a .eu domain name," the advocate general said, according to a statement from the court. "The .eu Top Level Domain is intended to provide a clearly identified link with the EU, the associated legal framework, and the European marketplace. It should enable undertakings, organisations and natural persons within the EU to register in a specific domain which will make this link obvious."

"Against that background, a non-resident undertaking cannot be allowed to circumvent the rules on eligibility by obtaining registration of a .eu domain name by means of a legal construction such as the commissioning of a third party organisation that is established in the European Union and thus an eligible party," the advisor said.

The ECJ was ruling in a case involving a US company, Walsh Optical, which had registered trade mark rights for 'Lensworld' in Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg. It entered into a licence agreement with Belgian intellectual property (IP) consultancy, Bureau Gevers, under which the consultancy filed for, and was later allocated registration of, the domain name 'lensworld.eu' on behalf of Walsh Optical.

Belgian optical retailer Pie Optiek had challenged Walsh Optical's right to hold the 'lensworld.eu' web address after being denied the right to register the same domain name trade mark on the grounds that Bureau Gevers had done so first.

Advocate General Trstenjak said that Walsh Optical's so-called 'licence agreement' with Bureau Gevers was in reality "a contract for the provision of services". Therefore the Belgian consultancy could not be considered a "licensee eligible" to benefit from the priority rights given to it when it had applied, and been granted, rights for 'lensworld.eu' on behalf of Walsh Optical, she said.

Copyright © 2012, Out-Law.com

Out-Law.com is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Turnbull: NBN won't turn your town into Silicon Valley
'People have been brainwashed to believe that their world will be changed forever if they get FTTP'
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.