Deciding on a business name and URL for a website can be one of the most important steps a business takes – but it is essential to take professional advice to ensure that you do not step on others' toes in doing so. In one case, a car manufacturer came down like a ton of bricks on a marketing company over its choices of name for 47 web domains.
All the domain names featured one or other of the names 'Land Rover', 'Jaguar', 'Range Rover', 'E-Type' or 'Rover'. These are all trade marks of Jaguar Land Rover Limited, which complained to independent Internet watchdog Nominet.
However, the company argued that its registration of the domain names was legitimate and had caused no harm to the car maker.
The company specialised in serving clients in the franchised motor trade and had links to certain Jaguar Land Rover authorised dealerships. It argued that the domain names gave rise to no risk of customer confusion and that they had offered to sell them to Jaguar Land Rover at a reasonable price of £150 each.
However, a Nominet expert noted that the company had acquired more than 600 domain names in support of its business and found that there was a pattern of block registering domains which incorporated the names or trade marks of others. It concluded that the domains had the potential to cause very real detriment to Jaguar Land Rover if they fell into the wrong hands. In those circumstances, the domain names were abusive registrations in the company's hands.
The company was directed to transfer all of the domain names to the car manufacturer free of charge.