E-BUSINESS: Stake Your Claim on a Name; Greater Sales Performance Full Campaign Management Facility

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Byline: By Steve Pain Technology Editor

The influence of the European Union is now being felt in the virtual market place as a new standard domain name tag - .eu - is being introduced for businesses and organisations across Europe.

But according to one West Midlands specialist in e-commerce law, businesses will have to act quickly in order to secure their name of choice.

Paul Hunt, a partner in the commercial department at Black Country solicitors Higgs & Sons, is alerting companies to the introduction of the new .eu top level domain, and warns that companies should not delay if they want to secure a registered trademark or other significant name.

"Because of the critical value of domain names, the practice of 'cyber squatting' developed where individuals having no connection with a name would register a domain and seek huge payments to transfer to a 'legitimate' owner," he said.

"While the courts have acted to alleviate this problem, a phased registration system has been devised to prevent it happening with registration of .eu domain names. However, organisations need to be aware of the registration schedule to ensure they do not miss out," added Mr Hunt, who is managing partner at the Black Country firm.

A "sunrise period" is already running, allowing businesses with registered trademarks to apply for domain names relating to their mark to ensure holders of prior rights can seek first registration of the new .eu domains.

To date there have been over 16,000 UK applications under sunrise, representing around ten per cent of submissions. …