Associated Newspapers wins fight against cybersquatter

Associated Newspapers has won an order giving them ownership of internet domain name ‘scottishdailymail.co.uk’, which was used for a commercial directory website that pointed visitors to rival media including the Independent newspaper.

The UK’s internet domain name resolution service, Nominet, today ordered ownership to be transferred to the Daily Mail publisher from Owen Webster, who runs GX Networks ltd in Uxbridge, after ruling that Webster’s registration of the site was ‘abusive”.

Nominet expert Margaret Briffa said in the decision: ‘It is clear that since registration the domain name has been used in a manner which took unfair advantage or was unfair or detrimental to the complainant’s rights.”

She said that, as of 22 May 2008, there was a website available at the domain prominently branded ‘Scottishdailymail.co.uk’and which comprised a directory of commercial affiliate links, the most prominent which were other media sites including The Independent newspaper.

She said that even where internet users would quickly realise that the site was unconnected to the Mail, ‘a consumer nevertheless may well find themselves in receipt of information about a business which may compete with the complainant”.

She continued: ‘In this way the particular use being made of the domain name by the respondent could operate to deprive the complainant of future business. If this were the case the respondent could be said to be taking advantage of the complainant’s brand recognition and goodwill. This amounts to taking unfair advantage of the complainant’s rights.

She said there is also a presumption of abusive registration if the respondent in a case has been found to have made an abusive registration in three or more dispute resolution service cases in the previous two years. She said that Mr Webster had been found to have carried out five other abusive registrations.”

She concluded: ‘The domain name is an abusive registration in the hands of the respondent and should be transferred to the complainant.

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