Telecom sought yesterday to bankrupt Henk Klos, the former owner of the domain yellowweb.co.nz, which Telecom says infringed its Yellow Pages trademark.
Klos registered the domain name in June 1998. In April last year, Telecom obtained an interim injunction requiring Klos to take down his Website at www.yellowweb.co.nz. Rather than merely switching off the site, he offered it for sales, to Telecom and others.
He subsequently sold the name to Kees Kampers of the Netherlands, claiming that meant no longer liable infringements of Telecom's trademarks in the colour yellow and the phrase "yellow web pages".
Klos was found in contempt of court of failing to take down the site and ordered to pay $30,000 costs to Telecom.
Telecom Directories spokesperson Jo Fuller says the unpaid money is "court-awarded costs and in terms of him complying with that order [bankruptcy action] was the most appropriate action for us to take."
Klos's wife Hannah says Telecom "never sent us a bill so we ignored it and then a month ago we got this new court date where they were going to bankrupt us."
She says her husband was yesterday offered a $1000 discount on the outstanding costs if he would agree in writing not to talk to the media.
"Obviously there are sometimes opportunities to settle," says Fuller in relation to the apparent offer. "There's been a number occasions where we've tried to reach a settlement.
"[Klos] actually took out a written undertaking in November of 1998 that he'd discontinue use of the trademarks - and if he'd stuck by that there'd have been no court action."
Hannah Klos says Telecom's actions are "bullying".