New European domain
goes live today

7 Dec 2005

Public bodies and trademark organisations such as newspapers and other brands have been warned to register their .eu domains as soon as possible in order to avoid conflicts with cyber squatters and other European organisations with similar abbreviations on their name that may stake a claim on the domain name.

From today public bodies and trademarks from some 20 European countries can register for a .eu domain name through local bodies accredited to EURid, the organisation selected by the European Commission to operate the new .eu domain. Locally accredited registrars in Ireland include Eircom and IE Internet.

There will be three phases where organisations and individuals can apply for a domain name. The first phase, from 7 December to 6 February, will cover public bodies and trademark companies. According to Eircom, registration during phase one will cost €70 (excluding Vat) for public bodies and €90 (excluding Vat) for trademark companies. There will also be an annual cost of €69 (excluding Vat). The fees cover costs involved in validating and processing applications, says Eircom.

The second phase, from 7 February to 7 April 2006, will cover public bodies, trademark companies and other company names and business identifiers, focusing specifically on distinctive titles of protected literary and artistic work, unregistered trademarks and trade names. For example, Irish band U2 would be able to register in order to prevent cybersquatters or opportunists cashing in on the name.

The third phase, from 7 April onwards, will allow all other types of organisations to apply for a domain name such as clubs, interest groups or family names.

The director of Eircom Net, Fintan Lawler, told that Irish public bodies and trademark companies would be best advised to register early in order to avoid being pipped at the post by other European bodies with similar abbreviations or potential cyber squatters.

“If you have a claim to your name make sure you protect it,” said Lawler. “For example, if there are abbreviations for public bodies, such as or that may have a different translation or meaning in another European language, it is important to ensure that if you have a legitimate claim to that domain you get in there first. EURid will be operating on a first-come, first-served basis. However, there will be an arbitration process for people to press their rights. But once they make a decision, it will be final.

“The problem is that with 20 member states there are common names and abbreviations. If you’ve got a legitimate claim to your name, make sure you protect it.”

Lawler said that company paper and scanned copies of brands will be accepted in order to process the new domain names.

“We are expecting a lot of customers very early on. The .eu name establishes organisations as more of a European brand with a European presence. For companies selling services outside of Ireland that is invaluable. It will be important if you are doing business abroad to have a European domain name,” said Lawler.

By John Kennedy