Harrods wins court ruling after Internet site hijacked name

The High Court has come to the aid of advertisers seeking to prevent their brand names from being ’hijacked’ on the Internet. Its action marks a significant step in bringing order to a largely unregulated medium and enables UK brand owners to protect their rights on the Internet just as they can on other media.

The High Court has come to the aid of advertisers seeking to

prevent their brand names from being ’hijacked’ on the Internet. Its

action marks a significant step in bringing order to a largely

unregulated medium and enables UK brand owners to protect their rights

on the Internet just as they can on other media.



The legal precedent was established by Harrods, which sought an

injunction over the alleged infringement of its trademark in a so-called

domain name, the line of information which makes up a Website

address.



The Knightsbridge store went to court after finding that the name

’harrods.com’ was one of more than 50 which had been registered. Failure

to challenge the registration would have meant Harrods having to pay to

use its name on its own Website.



But Mr Justice Lightman granted an injunction in the action, which was

not defended. He ruled that the move was a clear infringement of

Harrods’ trademarks and amounted to passing off.



Before the ruling, a number of major advertisers had preferred to pay to

use their names on a Website rather than risk a potentially expensive

legal action.



Andrew Forbes, a partner at the Simkins Partnership law firm, said: ’A

lot of this kind of registration has been taking place. This ruling

makes it much easier for a brand owner to make a challenge.’



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