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EU agriculture commissioner seeks freeze on .wine, .vin domain registration

Decanter.com understands the European Agriculture Commission is concerned about the protection of European wine names, such as Bordeaux, Champagne and Chianti, on the internet.

European agriculture commissioner Dacian Ciolos (pictured) is seeking a temporary halt to pre-registration of .wine and .vin internet domains in order to make sure Europe’s protected wine names are not misused online, decanter.com understands.

Although the domains are not yet live, there is concern about the prospect of people registering domains such as vin.Bordeaux or Rioja.wine when they have no connection to those wine regions.

According to EU sources close to the situation, Commissioner Cioloș is believed to have urged his colleague Neelie Kroes, commissioner for the EU’s Digital Agenda, to block the registration of generic domain names .wine and .vin until the sub-domain rules are clarified at international level.

However, there is international disagreement over the issue at the US-based Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which controls domain names.

When contacted by decanter.com, a European Agriculture Commission spokesperson said, ‘the Commission is following the situation carefully and is looking into legal and diplomatic arguments to defend EU interests, notably on protecting intellectual property rights deriving from geographical indications.’

He would only confirm that Commissioner Ciolos is in close contact with fellow commissioners Neelie Kroes, who represents the EU at ICANN, and internal market commissioner Michel Barnier, who is responsible for intellectual property.

Written by Chris Mercer

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