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Nominet in legal tussle over iTunes domain name

Nominet in legal tussle over iTunes domain name

The owner of the itunes.co.uk domain, who is questioning Nominet’s legal authority, has dragged the .UK domain registry to court.

CyberBritain Group chief executive, Benjamin Cohen had refused to hand over the itunes.co.uk domain name to Apple and has said that when he registered the domain in November 2000, he was not aware of Apple’s iTunes trademark application that was submitted just a fortnight earlier. He added that he had wanted to register the site as tunes.co.uk, but since it was already taken up, the registering website suggested iTunes and he took up the same in good faith. Nominet has ordered him to cede the domain name to Apple.

Refusing to do this, Mr. Cohen has questioned the body’s authority and has issued a legal challenge. “I must admit that we were not expecting the decision by Nominet’s appointed expert. Apple chose to launch the UK brand of ‘iTunes’ within the UK with the knowledge that we had owned the name for three years before their USA launch and four years before their launch within the UK. We could have appealed to Nominet directly but with a fee of £3,000+VAT in addition to our legal costs. However, we feel that the procedure that Nominet utilize to settle disputes is unfair and biased towards big business at the expense of legitimate small, British companies. We have decided to refer the decision for Judicial Review in the High Court with a view to overturn the decision and to make recommendations for improvements to the way that domain name disputes are handled within this country,” Mr. Cohen said.

Nominet says that since it is not a public body, it does not fall under the High Court’s jurisdiction, but Mr. Cohen says the under the terms of the 1998 Human Rights Act it is a public body, since the regulation of the internet, which is a public service, affects everyone.

References of interest: www.nominet.org.uk, www.cyberbritain.co.uk and www.apple.com

JosephBeale

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