Five British corporations have won the legal right to stop speculators registering their names as domain names on the Internet, in a ruling that is expected to help other British companies protect their trademarks and their Internet names.
In a judgment reached in London last week, two men - Richard Conway and Julian Nicholson - were ordered to pay 65,000 pounds (US$106,000) in legal costs and to reassign domain names to the companies to which they related.
The court heard that Conway and Nicholson had registered a range of well-known British companies and institutions as domain names -- including buckinghampalace.org and spice-girls.net -- and then had tried to sell them back to those associated with the names. For example, Conway had asked Burger King to pay 25,000 pounds for burger-king.co.uk.
The companies that brought the case against the two men were British Telecommunications PLC, food retailer J. Sainsbury PLC, travel and entertainment purveyor Virgin Group, retailer Marks & Spencer and bookmaker Ladbroke PLC.