How to claim back a .eu domain name?
In this article, I summarize how you can recover a .eu domain name.
A .eu domain name can be challenged either via a specific ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) procedure or in a regular court.
ADR procedure for .eu domain name disputes
In practice, most people choose for the ADR procedure, because of its effectiveness and its speed. Also, the ADR procedure is relatively cheap when compared to a regular court procedure. An ADR procedure may especially be appropriate in case of speculative and abusive registrations of .eu domain names.
Czech Arbitration Court (CAC) for .eu domain name disputes
ADR disputes about .eu domain names are handled by the Czech Arbitration Court (CAC), an independent arbitration body located in Prague. The procedure before the CAC is conducted per email and there is no need to travel whatsoever. Also, there are no in-person hearings (the procedure is conducted entirely in writing). The CAC will appoint an independent panelist (not a regular judge), or various independent panelists if the complainant prefers to have more than one arbiter, to handle the dispute. These panelists are experts in intellectual property law and more specifically in the legal area of domain name disputes. On average, a procedure before the CAC will take four months.
Procedural aspects: prove that you have a prior right in the domain name and that the current holder had no rights at the time of registration or uses the domain name in bad faith
An ADR procedure before the CAC will be appropriate if you can prove a prior right to the domain name (for example, you have a trademark, trade name, company name, family name, etc. that is identical or confusingly similar to the domain name). You will also have to provide evidence that the domain name has been registered without rights or legitimate interests in the domain name or that the domain name was registered or is being used in bad faith.
Costs of an ADR .eu domain name procedure
The costs of an ADR procedure will depend on the number of panelists you select and on the number of domain name registrations that are disputed. Generally, it can be said that the costs related to a domain name dispute before the CAC are relatively low. You can find a complete list of fees on the website of the CAC.
Outcome of the ADR procedure: transfer (or simple deletion) of the .eu domain name
If you win the ADR case, the domain name registration will be transferred to you (after a 30 days’ appeal period), on the condition that you satisfy the general eligibility criteria. There is no provision under the ADR rules to obtain damages or a compensation for costs (such as legal fees). You may consider going to a regular court to obtain damages or costs.
The domain name registration may also be deleted (if the complainant does not ask for a transfer or if he/she does not satisfy the eligibility criteria), in which case the domain name will become available for registration by other parties after a 40 days’ quarantine period.
If you lose the ADR case, you may file an appeal with a regular court within 30 calendar days. There is no provision for a ‘internal’ appeal within the ADR procedure.
It is often worthwile seeking legal advise before starting an ADR procedure or a court procedure on a .eu domain name. If you need further advice on .eu domain name disputes, do not hesitate to contact me.
Author: Bart Van Besien
Attorney - Lawyer - Belgium - European Union (E.U.)
Specialized in intellectual property law (copyright, trademarks, patents, domain names, etc.) and media law.
K. De Deckerstraat 20A
2800 Mechelen, Belgium
+32 486 626 355
+32 15 29 42 57 firstname.lastname@example.org