A Weird Story About Exotic Countries Domain Registration…

The end of the year is always a good time to look back and remember the most special moments of the year. One of this special moments was a strange conversation that I had with a domain registration service.

Email screenshot

Email screenshot

Well, registering a domain is not that spectacular…  but this conversation that I had earlier this year with a domain registration service provider sales dude is just too weird!

In theory it all could have been so easy: I send an Email Here is my data – Wanna domain please and an answer alright, here you go: … …2 Emails and that´s all!

But it all had to come so different, it ended up with more than a dozen Emails and in the meantime I kinda had the feeling I had a conversation with an (defect) automated Email reply bot.

The scenario:

In this case it was all about a .pt domain and the special requirement for the .pt domain by the Portuguese registry is to have a Trademark for the domain name for my case. So I filled out the registration form at the domaining service and waited until they contacted me for the EU Trademark (not knowing that a 3 weeks Odyssey was expecting me…).

The Domain Registration Sales Force:

Hello,

Please provide a copy of your trademark that is valid in Portugal in order to proceed with the registration of your domain.

I look forward to hearing from you shortly.

Kind Regards,

So far nothing special, so I send them the trademark copy in pdf:

The Web PM:

Hi,

see attached the copy of the European trademark. Please let me know if you need additional information.

regards,

…and they send me their reply:

The Domain Registration Sales Force

Hello,

This is not valid in Portugal. You can register.com.pt with no restrictions. Please advise how you wish to proceed.

Kind Regards,

Wow, that is the first moment I got a little bit shocked. Why should a European Trademark suddenly not be sufficient? That was definitely the first time I heard such a nonsense that a European Trademark is not valid in Portugal. Anyway, I checked again all the resources if suddenly something has changed. (Like a political revolution in Portugal or a spontaneous continental drift towards USA?!) And as expected:
Portugal´s registry (dns.pt) still says at its homepage that you need an EU Trademark.
Even the Domain Registration Service´s page said that you just need an EU Trademark (Sales team doesn´t know its own website?)
Anyway, I didn´t want to explain in detail why Portugal is in Europe (geographically and politically) and therefore the European Trademark is valid and just asked for an explanation:

The curious Web PM:

Hi ,

Could you please clarify why if we have an European Trademark this is not useful in Portugal?

Thanks.

The (inventive?!?) Domain Registration Sales Force:

Hello,

Portugal requires that your trademark be specifically registered in there country.

They do not accept a general EU trademark registration.

Regards,

Alright, so Portugal needs special treatment regarding trademarks… although they do not announce that on their official webpage. I still didn´t really believe that and decided to investigate that a bit more.

The Web PM:

Thanks.

I will check it and let you know something ASAP.

The Domain Registration Sales Force:

Thank you, I look forward to hearing from you shortly.

Kind Regards,

Well, at least the Sales team responded politely all the time :-) Anyway, after re-investigating the issue I figured out that the service dude was wrong again:

The Web PM again:

Hi

I think there is a mistake.

You can see in all following links that the European Trade mark is enough:

https://online.dns.pt/dns_2008/do?com=DS;7867331493;111;+PAGE%284000060%29+K-CAT-CODIGO%28C.125%29+RCNT%28100%29;#886

1. “Serão igualmente aceites como nomes de domínio

As marcas nominativas e os elementos nominativos de marcas mistas registadas a favor do requerente do domínio, tal como constem do respectivo título de registo nacional, comunitário ou internacional desde que, nestes últimos casos, as marcas sejam extensivas a Portugal. São ainda admitidos registos de nomes de domínio baseados em pedidos de registo de marca. No entanto, se um pedido vier a ser recusado o nome de domínio será removido nos termos da alínea d) do artigo 44º.”

2. [again the URL to domain registration service provider´s page that clearly says that a European Trademark is valid in Portugal]

Can you please let us know what is going on?

Thanks.

…days of silence…

The Web PM:

Please,

Could you please give us an answer?

We need to clarify this issue as soon as possible.

Thanks a lot!

The (somewhat inventive?!?!?!)Domain Registration Sales Force:

Hello,

In the past an EU trademark was enough to secure a .pt domain.

About a year ago they changed the requirement to having a trademark valid in Portugal.

You can register .com.pt with no restrictions.

Regards,

Ok, now my patience was already quite exhausted. What more evidence did the service provider need? How about a confirmation directly from an dns.pt official? (as if the terms of service on their page wouldn´t be enough…)
here goes the mail to the dns.pt registry:

The Web PM:

Dear Sirs,

We would like to register .pt domain and see on your website (Artigo 11º: Composição do Nome de Domínio – 2 – b.) that this requires that we hold a European trademark on that name – on the other hand we heard from an ISP where we wanted to register that domain before that a European trademark would not be sufficient…

Could you please advise us in this case? Attached I send you our European trademark registration.

With kind regards from Barcelona,

and the very quick reply of the .pt registry:

The dns.pt Official:

Dear Sirs,

We hereby inform that for the registration of domains .PT are accepted trademarks valid to Portugal, as a European trademark are valid for all countries of Europe, there for extension will be valid for Portugal.

Also inform that you should insert the domain online to be verify by the legally department.

At your service for any additional questions, we present our best regards,

Yey, of course I had to forward this…

The Web PM:

Hello,

I asked directly the FCCN – Fundação para a Computação Científica Nacional (DNS.PT) and they have replied that an European Trademark is enough for registration of .pt domains, since this trademark is valid for Portugal, too.

Also you can read this at the official terms of dns.pt https://online.dns.pt/dns_2008/do?com=DS;7867331493;111;+PAGE(4000060)+K-CAT-CODIGO(C.125)+RCNT(100);#947

and at your domain registration service providers home page [Again the link to the service providers page…]

Please, continue the registration process – the trademark copy you need is attached.
If you have any questions, please let me know.

regards,

Since after this Email I didn´t get a response any more I decided to register the domain directly at the dns.pt registry, since I figured out that they offer an English domain registration form. Only drawback was that they don´t offer a Domain Name Server, but that is not a big deal for the tech team.
So I arranged the domain directly at the dns.pt and saved that way some money btw. So far so good… but why do I suddenly get an invoice from the domain sales dude?

The Web PM:

Why did I get this invoice?

From your organization you were constantly saying that you could not register the domain. Finally we did it ourselves and now you pretend to charge us?

Please, remove the invoice order.

Thanks.

The (very politely?!) Domain Registration Sales Force:

Hello,

You have been refunded, I apologize for the mischarge on our behalf.

Kind Regards,

And yes, I got the money back …must have been my lucky day.

What I have learned from this:

  1. Before considering to buy an “exotic” domain via a service provider: Check first if it is possible to register directly at the countries registry. That is usually much cheaper “Cut the middle man”, but unfortunately not with all countries TLD possible
  2. Be skeptic if the ISP is saying something that is against the information that you get from the official domain registry of the country.
  3. Be even more skeptic if the ISP wants to offer you another top level domain with the argument that it is easier. It might just be the better deal for him.
  4. Don´t be too patient. It can be hard to convince a Sales person and that is not worth the effort

So this was the weirdest web story of 2009 for me. Please let me know if you have made similar experiences with domain registrations.

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