.EU Domain names and Brexit

The current proposed EU withdrawal agreement includes a transitional period following the UK’s withdrawal, which will give clarity regarding the future treatment of those IP rights currently governed by EU. In addition, the withdrawal agreement provides some long term reassurance for holders of EU IP rights by suggesting that no rights should be lost as a result of the UK’s exit from the EU.

Subject to any transitional arrangement that may be contained in a possible withdrawal agreement, the EU regulatory framework for the .eu Top Level Domain will no longer apply to the United Kingdom as from the withdrawal date. […]

As of the withdrawal date, undertakings and organisations that are established in the United Kingdom but not in the EU and natural persons who reside in the United Kingdom will no longer be eligible to register .eu domain names or, if they are .eu registrants, to renew .eu domain names registered before the withdrawal date. Accredited .eu Registrars will not be entitled to process any request for the registration of or for renewing registrations of .eu domain names by those undertakings, organisations and persons.”

On which ever withdrawal date applies, registrants of .eu domains, where the registered name holder (RNH) address is in either the UK or Gibraltar (GI), will no longer be eligible to hold those domain names. These registrants must either update their ownership to a valid person or entity in an eligible Country (e.g., European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway) or the registry will revoke the existing holders’ rights, which means deletion of the domain and potential disruption of linked websites.

 

Scenario 1 – UK leaves with a Deal

Should the UK leave the EU following a planned transitional period on 31 December 2020 or at a later date if the transition period is extended and the plan does not contain specific provisions relating to .eu domain names, the following measures will be enforced:

New registrations
From 1 January 2021, 00:00:00 CET, EURid will NOT allow the registration of any new domain name where the registrant country code is either GB/GI.

.eu domain names that have GB/GI as the registrant country code within WHOIS at the time of UK withdrawal
On 23 December 2020, as of 00:00:00 CET, EURid will notify by email both GB/GI registrants and their registrars about the forthcoming non-compliance of the data associated to their domain name within the .eu regulatory framework.
On 1 January 2021, as of 00:00:00 CET, EURid will again notify by email both GB/GI registrants and their registrars that their domain name(s) is not in compliance with the .eu regulatory framework. Registrants will be given the possibility to demonstrate their compliance with the .eu regulatory framework by updating their contact data (e.g. indicating a legally established entity in one of the eligible EU27 or EEA Member States, or update of residence) before 2 March 2021, 00:00:00 CET. During this two-month period, the domain names in question will remain active.

 

Scenario 2 – UK leaves without a Deal

Should the UK leave the EU with no deal on 20 March 2019, the following measures will be enforced:

New registrations
From 30 March 2019, 00:00:00 CET, EURid will NOT allow the registration of any new domain name where the registrant country code is either GB/GI.

.eu domain names that have GB/GI as the registrant country code within WHOIS, at the time of UK withdrawal
On 23 March 2019, as of 00:00:00 CET, EURid will notify by email both GB/GI registrants and their registrars about the forthcoming non-compliance of the data associated to their domain name within the .eu regulatory framework.
On 30 March 2019, as of 00:00:00 CET, EURid will again notify by email both GB/GI registrants and their registrars that their domain name(s) is not in compliance with the .eu regulatory framework. Registrants will be given the possibility to demonstrate their compliance with the .eu regulatory framework by updating their contact data (e.g. indicating a legally established entity in one of the eligible EU27 or EEA Member States, or update of residence) before 30 May 2019, 00:00:00 CEST. During this two-month period, the domain names in question will remain active.

 

Our Recommendation

Whilst we will continue to monitor the situation, to ensure your names stay in compliance, we would recommend that prior to March 29 .eu name holders update the RNH address to an entity with an address in the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway to avoid deletions. Alternatively, we can assist with providing a local contact service in the relevant territory to ensure compliance.