The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and EURid, the domain name registry for the .eu, .ею and .ευ domains, recently announced that they would “intensify” collaboration to support trademark and domain name applicants and owners, with a particular focus on small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

The primary purpose of this collaboration is to support startups by helping them obtain trademark and domain name protection in a “joined-up manner”, so that they can secure their brands from the very outset.

At present, EU trademark applicants are advised whether their trademark is available as a .eu domain name at the end of the online application process at EUIPO. Applicants and holders can also set up alerts to be informed once a .eu domain name matching their trademark is registered.

Under the new program, the EUIPO and EURid will explore the possibility of implementing a reciprocal process when a .eu domain name is registered, allowing holders to see if a trademark with a similar name is available at the EUIPO.

Additionally, both organizations will work on a common study on application behavior, to see whether trademarks or domain names are registered first. The study will assist in tackling fraudulent domain names and registrations made in bad faith. Work will also begin on a feasibility study to create a tool to inform users of the availability of the terms they are searching for, both as a trademark and as a domain name.

With outreach to SMEs already at the heart of the EUIPO’s Strategic Plan, information from EURid on domain names will be integrated into a planned chatbot for SMEs, as well as discovery guides and webinars, with the aim of further guiding smaller companies towards an integrated brand protection scheme.

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