Brand name hijack threat as 1m .eu suffixes registered

More than 1 million applications for websites with the new .eu suffix have been made since registration was thrown open to the general public last Friday (April 7), raising concerns that marketers could see their brand names hijacked online.

Jonathan Robinson, chief operating officer of NetNames, the UK-based domain name management company which represents one-third of FTSE 100 companies, says there are now more than 1.3 million active .eu domain names, of which 420,000 are German, 271,000 British and 155,000 Dutch.

Robinson says: "Any business that failed to secure its .eu presence before Friday could well find itself being cybersquatted. The next few months are likely to see some very high-profile disputes."

Last week saw the end of the four-month period during which recognised trademarks could not be registered as .eu websites except by the trademark owners themselves. Just over 300,000 registrations were received during this "sunrise" period.

However, certain brand names are used by different companies: so Volkswagen, Nestlé and Ralph Lauren all had the right to register polo.eu during the sunrise period. Volkswagen was the quickest to register, beating Ralph Lauren and Nestlé by just a few minutes.

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