September 04, 2006

Letter to the editor

After I read this Wall Street Journal article: In Europe's Auction Of New Web Names, Strife and Confusion by William M. Bulkeley, I sent comments to the editor. Below is a copy of my comments.

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Sir,
I read your article "In Europe's Auction Of New Web Names, Strife and Confusion" with great interest. This article is critical towards the .eu domain names allocation process. I disagree with the way you depict it.

You write: "Names were awarded to little-known players over major ones." No, names were awarded on a "first come, first served" basis, as it has always been the case for major top level domains (TLD) since the dot-com exists. This principle was only restated in article 2 of EC Regulation 874/2004 of April 28, 2004 concerning the implementation of the .eu TLD.
Although it may have happened that some names were granted to "little known players", this is not the general rule and one cannot extrapolate. There is no legal basis for preventing SMEs from registering .eu names. The registrations rules were first designed to protect trademark holders, not a specific category of trademark holders.
In your article, you use several examples of domain names similar to (famous) trademarks of (American) firms that were registered by unknown European firms (at least unknown of Americans). And you write "Americans are angry because they say the system favored European companies." The .eu TLD was created to "provide a clearly identified link with the Community, the associated legal framework, and the European market place" (EC Regulation 733/2002 of April 22, 2002, recital 6). Therefore, only certain categories were eligible to register .eu names (undertaking having their registered office, central administration or principal place of business within the Community, or organizations established within the Community without prejudice to the application of national law, or natural persons resident within the Community). To register a .us domain name, there are stricter nexus requirements!

You write the .eu domain has become "known for controversy and confusion." There were more than 2,000,000 .eu domain names registered in mid-July, and only 400 ADR lawsuits launched before the Czech Arbitration Court. On this court, you write: "Charged with sorting through the mess is a court in Prague that specializes in economic and agricultural issues." The Prague-based Arbitration Center for .eu Disputes is only attached to the Economic Chamber of the Czech Republic and Agricultural Chamber of the Czech Republic. It carefully selected and works with over 130 legal experts of domain name issues from all EU countries. Under the .eu ADR rules, a domain name can be revoked when a complainant demonstrates that two conditions are met, whereas under the UDRP rules, which apply to dot-com and other major TLDs, the burden on the complainant is heavier.

Sincerely yours,

Cedric Manara

1 comment:

EU law said...

Je suis d'accord avec vous. Cet article est PR typique des americains.