Domainz to reclaim thousands spent defending Oggi case

Domainz, the Wellington-based Internet domain name registry, is seeking thousands of dollars from Auckland entrepreneur Cameron McKenzie for expenses it has incurred in legal proceedings. The Auckland High Court ordered McKenzie to hand the name over to Oggi Advertising, but did not make any ruling on whether Domainz was liable. Now Domainz is using a clause in its registration contract with McKenzie to claim its $15,000 legal expenses from him. The judgement may also provoke a wider round of legal actions.

Domainz, the Wellington-based Internet domain name registry, is seeking thousands of dollars from Auckland entrepreneur Cameron McKenzie for expenses it has incurred in legal proceedings.

Oggi Advertising has taken Domainz to court for conspiring with McKenzie by registering the domain name www.oggi.co.nz to him last year. The Auckland High Court ordered McKenzie to hand the name over to Oggi, but did not make any ruling on whether Domainz is liable. Domainz has spent at least $15,000 in preparing its legal defence but Oggi managing director Gordon Frykberg says he is not interested in going further with a test case.

Now Domainz is using a clause in its registration contract with McKenzie to claim its legal expenses from him.

The contract states: "I confirm that I, or my client, is the applicant for the domain name that is the subject of this request and agree to indemnify ISOCNZ, Domainz, their agents, officers or employees for any costs, losses or liabilities incurred in the reasonable performance of their duties in processing this request, or in dealing with claims arising from the allocation or use of the name."

Domainz chief executive Patrick O'Brien says: "We will pursue collection of our costs quite vigorously. We have gone to people for collection of costs before but this is the first time we have had such significant costs as nobody has ever named us in a legal action before."

q Meanwhile, the decision of Justice Baragwanath to grant an interim injunction based on Oggi's status as a company name — it is not a registered trademark — may yet provoke a new round of legal actions against existing nameholders.

Peter Mott, managing director of the private registry specialist 2Day Internet, says that as a result of the Oggi case "there have been some enquiries from people who have company names with what most people would consider generic words in them — words for which a number of my customers have the corresponding domain names.

"We've been asked by these people what the name-holder's intentions are, and as always we have referred them to the name-holder or to Patrick O'Brien at Domainz." Mott says the decision has "raised a few eyebrows" and says that while no domains under his management have changed hands yet, "there may be more cases coming up".

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