On 14 July 2017, the Managing Board of ICI-Bucharest (National Institute for Research and Development in Informatics) approved the introduction of a service for annual registration and maintenance of ".ro" domains. What does that mean? While until now any natural o legal person could buy a ".ro" domain name and become an owner of that domain for life, starting from next year ROTLD (Romanian Top Level Domain) will charge a maintenance fee for a period between 1 and 10 years. With the help of Cosmovici Intellectual Property law firm, we detail below how one who has already bought a .ro domain could know when to pay and in what circumstances could lose the ownership of the respective domain.
The approximate total number of registered .ro internet domains is 901,130, of which 44% are unused", declared for Hotnews the Minister of Communications, Augustin Jianu, in April 2016.
When will the new regulations come into force?
Starting from 1 March 2018, the ".ro" domain system will be brought into line with the needs of the annual maintenance service, meaning that ROTLD will charge an annual fee from the owner of the respective domain, based on which the latter can maintain ownership. Starting from the same date mentioned above, the .ro domain owners will pay the maintenance service for a period of minimum 1 year and maximum 10 years.
The equivalent value of the maintenance service provided to the ROTLD accredited registrars will be 6 euro/year, excluding VAT. The rate applied by the registrar ICI Bucharest (direct sale on www.rotld.ro) will be 12 euro/year + VAT.
In the past, the management of .ro domain names was easier, because the domain name holder did not face any registrar-related administrative problems after purchasing, unless he wanted to fulfill some exceptional procedures (domain name transfer, change of holder details etc.). Currently, the purchase is no longer made for life (for the whole life of the domain name holder), but for a specific period. This means that the respective holder must also consider the expiry of the registration of his domain and deal with a possible renewal in good time. Otherwise, in the case of a repurchase (therefore a renewal) after expiry, there is a risk that a third party will acquire that domain and recovery could only be possible after complex legal steps (negotiations, disputes etc).
Making a comparison with the situation of the domain names with general extensions (gTLDs), we can note a standardization of the practice, because the gTLDs are already governed by this temporary administrative arrangement. Therefore, the domain name market is not foreclosed and the monopoly of a sole holder on a domain can be avoided, without having any interest in it. In this way, the obligation of regular payment for holding the domain drives the holder to effectively assess the opportunity for holding such an asset the and have the motivation for remarket it once it no longer brings him profit”, declared Olga Preda, Associate within Cosmovici Intellectual Property.
How can we know when to pay?
The expiry date of the domains will be calculated according to the principle that the old registration fee should cover at least 5 years of maintenance, therefore:
• the domains registered before 01 March 2013 will have a grace period of minimum 3 months to pay for the maintenance service, so that the first domains will expire starting from 01 June 2018.
• 5 years will be added to the registration date of the domain or to the date of the last transfer of the use right (domain trade), whichever is earlier.
Example: if the domain was registered on 01 January 2015 and meanwhile there has not been any domain trade, then the domain will expire on 01 January 2020; if the domain was registered on 01 January 2015 and transferred on 01 January 2017, it will expire on 01 January 2022.
• if the resulted expiry date is before 01 June 2018 (e.g. the domain registered on 01 January 2010 will expire on 01 January 2015), the expiry date will be distributed over a period of 6 months, starting from 01 June 2018 until 30 November 2018 based on the calendar month of registration, by grouping two months and maintaining the calendar day, according to the table below:
Calendar month of registration or overtaking by transfer New expiry month and year:
Calendar month of registration or overtaking by transfer
New expiry month and year