Expropiation of the domain name sareb.es

The Sareb (Sociedad de Gestión de Activos Procedentes de las Reestructuración Bancaria) - also colloquially known as the “bad bank” - was created last autumn to absorb the Spanish toxic property assets resulting from the nationalization of the banks. As duly expected, once published the name of the bank, speculators checked the availability of the domain names and registered sareb .es.  

However, on December 14, 2012, the Spanish Domain Names Authority Red.es proceeded to expropriate the domain name SAREB.ES, alleging reasons of public interest. The procedure of expropriation is based on this sole reason. Other facts such as the applicant’s purposes are not considered (although it is expected that in many cases these domain names are only registered for speculative purposes).For the time being the domain name is blocked and lacks of any contents since the SAREB has not yet been created by the Government.  

In these circumstances, both the proceeding and the cancellation decision have been very controversial. Although the SAREB name was publicly advertised on the media some months ago, its consideration as a public interest asset was issued by the Ministry after the registration of the domain name. The procedure thus rises suspicious of arbitrary decisions and brings discussion about the retroactivity of administrative acts and their effects on citizen’s rights. At the moment, the procedure only assures the expropriated registrant the right to be reimbursed the official fee for application. We should wait and see when a domainer takes a step forward and challenges this procedure before Courts. It will be quite interesting to see whether the regulation prevails or it is amended.