IP Information & News

Brexit — Your domain name is at risk

Gareth Price

By Gareth Price


Find out exactly how Brexit will affect your IP rights on our one-stop-shop Brexit FAQ page — including information on patents, trade marks, data and market exclusivity, Community Plant Variety Rights, registered designs, agreements and domain names.

UK businesses and individuals that hold .eu domain names will lose their right to the ownership of those domain names once the UK leaves the EU. EURid (the .eu register operator), has now issued updated guidance for a ‘no deal’ Brexit scenario, which looks set to take place on 31 October 2019.

EURid will enforce the following measures for .eu domain names that have a registrant’s residence country code as either the United Kingdom or Gibraltar:

New registrations

From 1 November 2019, EURid won’t allow the registration of any new domain name where the registrant’s residence or establishment country code is either United Kingdom or Gibraltar, unless the citizenship country code of the registrant corresponds to an EU27 Member State.

Existing registrations

On 24 October 2019, following explicit instructions from the EU Commission, EURid will notify (by email) all registrants and registrars based in the United Kingdom or Gibraltar about their forthcoming non-compliance with the .eu regulatory framework. This will be followed by a further notice on 1 November 2019 setting a two-month deadline, expiring on 31 December 2019, for the registrant to demonstrate compliance.

For businesses, eligibility can be demonstrated by indicating a legally-established entity in one of the EU27 or EEA Member States. For individuals, this will require an update to their residence to an EU27 or EEA Member State or by providing evidence of a citizenship country code corresponding to an EU27 Member State irrespective of their residence. During this two-month period, the domain names in question will remain active and can continue to be used by the registrant.

All registrants who cannot demonstrate their eligibility by 31 December 2019 will be deemed ineligible and their domain names will be withdrawn. A withdrawn domain name no longer functions, as the domain name is removed from the zone file and can no longer support any active websites or email.

On 1 November 2020, all the affected domain names will be revoked, and will become available for general registration. Their release will occur in batches from the time they become available.

Our recommendations

If your business has a subsidiary company in one of the EU27 or EEA Member States, we recommend that you take steps to ensure that you can, in the event of a no deal Brexit, transfer the domain name to that company shortly after 1 November 2019.

For individual registrants, if you cannot update your residence details to, and are not a citizen of, one of the EU27 or EEA Member States, we strongly recommend that you arrange for the registration of alternative gTLDs or .uk domain names.

If you need assistance to protect your business, get in touch with me at gip@udl.co.uk.

For more information about what happens to IP rights after Brexit, visit our dedicated one-stop-shop information page.

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