Tuesday, 8 November 2011

A decade of dot-UK domain disputes

Domain names are now so much a part of an organisation's branding that it comes as something of a surprise that it's only ten years since the UK domain manager, Nominet, introduced a process for handling disputes over domain names.

Without such a process, issues over a name would fall back on somewhat costly legal areas, such as passing off or trade mark legislation. The dispute process is the equivalent of mediation or the small claims court in many ways, and cheaper access to justice ... for the accused as well as the accuser ... is always a good idea.

All the good short names may have gone - ATSF's short domain is a testament to the age of our domain rather than any fancy footwork on our part - but more and more people want domain names. We looked at the opening up of the domain name system back in July, and choosing and registering a domain name is still a common part of web build. It's worth reading the BBC web site's story on Nominet's resolution process over the last ten years. Some of the examples are well known: but did you know that a Ryanair 'hate site' lost its domain because it made just a few hundred pounds from ads, and, that a married couple called Starker and Bucknell ran into problems when a relative ran their surnames together in a domain name (think of a chain of coffee outlets)?

There's also more on domain name disputes at the ever-useful Out-Law.com site.

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