Jose Carlos Erdozain September 27 2001 New Order for Domain Names Gomez-Acebo & Pombo Abogados | E-commerce - Spain Jose Carlos Erdozain E-commerce Special Domain Names Domain Name Agents Multilingual Characters Petitioners Intellectual PropertyOn July 11 2001 an order was published modifying the order of March 21 2001, which regulates the assignment of Spanish domain names.Special Domain Names Red.es is the official national body for assigning country-code top-level domains names in Spain. Red.es is a public company.Under Spanish regulations domain names are either normal domain names or special domain names. The difference between the two categories is not clear, but it seems that special domain names are not assigned according to the general rules. Pursuant to the modification of the order of March 21 2000, Red.es will be allowed to assign special domain names, including generic names and place names and toponyms, without following the rules set forth in the order, although the assignment will have to comply with the general syntax rules.Accordingly, petitioners for special domain names must enclose with their submission an explanation of the following: the purpose of each domain name; the contents or services they wish to facilitate by its use; and the estimated terms for the effective use of the domain names.Before the new legislation, special domain names were assigned by the secretary general of communications and it was not necessary to submit any justification of the petition.Domain Name AgentsUnder the old order it was necessary to obtain authorization to provide services as a domain name agent. However, the new order states that no title is necessary in order to provide such functions, which consist of advising petitioners of domain names. The new regulation has no practical relevance since the rules to achieve these titles have not been approved.Multilingual Characters Only characters found in the Spanish alphabet shall be considered suitable for domain names. Under the former regulation domain names were to be assigned on the basis of the English alphabet.Nevertheless, Spanish country-code top-level domain names will not be assigned using Spanish alphabet characters until the mechanism for recognizing Spanish characters is developed.In the meantime specific Spanish characters such as 'ñ' or accented words shall have to be substituted by similar characters (eg, 'n' or 'ny' instead of 'ñ'). As soon as mechanisms of recognition are developed the registrants will have three months in which to request the modification of the domain name in order to adapt it to the Spanish alphabet. If the registrants do not exercise this right the domain names will become available for re-assignment. Petitioners Under the new regulations foreign companies or individuals with no legal residence in Spain shall be entitled to register a domain name, provided that a subsidiary with legal residence in Spain applies for it. In addition, the applicant shall have to comply with the general syntax rules and other requirements set out in the regulations for the assignment of domain names. It seems that the owners of the domain names will be the foreign companies or individuals rather than the actual subsidiaries that apply for them. Intellectual Property Finally, the order intends to use similar trademark terminology to that of Spanish IP law by substituting the expression 'trade name' for 'trade denomination'.For further information on this topic please contact Gonzalo de Ulloa or Jose Carlos Erdozain at Gómez-Acebo & Pombo by telephone (+34 91 582 9100) or by fax (+34 91 582 92 82) or by e-mail ([email protected] or [email protected]).The materials contained on this web site are for general information purposes only and are subject to the disclaimer.