I recently had a case decided by Nominet DRS (thankfully in my favour, but that wasn't unexpected).
Now that's finally over I can publish this ;) ... complete with my own inimitable, occasionally sarcastic, insightful(!) comments ;)
The case was against the owner of the domain stagelampsuk.co.uk, where my company name was StageLamps Limited and trading with the domain stagelamps.co.uk.
This is the response (in full) that we got from the owner of stagelampsuk.co.uk with respect to an accusation of passing off as us and the ensuing Nominet Dispute Resolution process, my own comments are interspersed.
If nothing else it provided me with some entertainment value, and cost me £1,000! I intended to sue for this amount, and would have likely won, but the defendant disappeared. It'd have cost me more to chase him than let it go.
I have had a complaint made about me as you are aware (ref: DRS 13082). I am writing to you via email as i could not find a dispute on the nominet internet service.
Where do I start "could not find a dispute on the nominet internet service" - I presume he means "could not find the Dispute Resolution section of the Nominet website, this is a bad start for someone who runs a website...
I have set up Stage Lamps UK as a sole trader business NOT a company and therefore I wouldn't expect to have a company make such demands as they have no rights to do so unless they have trademarked the name. If thats the case then they would have mentioned it in the letter sent to our webstore provider “freewebstore.org”.
Yes people, only a company can infringe a mark apparantly.. not a sole trader.. Maybe I should just start trading as "Apple", it's OK, I'm a sole trader NOT a company.
Its important to point out that I operate as a sole trader and not a company. I took out a domain LED castle as i was going to start a business under that name but changed my mind. Any indication it that being a LTD company is simply a mistake or error somewhere. As i own a number of domain names to secure them until I made a final decision, www.ledecastle.co.uk is amongst them and as it was my first is the account name for my crazy domains account.
Nope, you registered your domain name under the name of a Limited company... this is misrepresentation and a breach of the Companies Act.
It is also important to point out that there has been NO attempt at all to contact me either by email, mail or telephone from Stage Lamps UK, even though they are suggesting we have not responded to them.
There wouldn't be any attempt to contact him from Stage Lamps UK would there ? That's his 'company' so unless he writes to himself... oh, I see what he did there, he just proved my point perfectly by getting his name and my own mixed up on his own response whilst still claiming they're not similar... oops ;)
They have also made accusations that we are upsetting there customers which is slander and false. I rarely have complaints and value my customer service.
Firstly - it's "their" ... Secondly, nope, he's upsetting his own customers, we're just having to deal with them and point them back in his direction. And finally, it's not "slander and false" as the soon to be published expert decision reminds him; "Defamation is where a false statement, which harms the reputation of an individual or business, ismade to someone other than the person defamed. Slander is defaming someone using words and libel is defaming someone using writing."
All this being said, I do not want to cause a long drawn out argument. Even though I sell stage lamps as a generic product and I cant see how you can trademark such a name, I am willing to discuss a solution/settlement with Stage Lamps LTD .
So, extortion then, no thanks...
I feel I have invested a lot into this business and would feel very grieved to lose a business name and what was an available domain name.
'aggrieved' I think is the word he's looking for there.... also he's not invested much using a company called "freewebstore.org" and stealing a logo from a firm of accountants in Germany.
Oh well... guess we get some benefit from his Google AdWords spend ;)
No, not similar at all! ;-)