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Domain name dispute

Domain names are now, understandably, considered an important part of a company’s “Intellectual Property” portfolio. The different types of domain name disputes that have emerged fall into two main catagories:


  • Cases where a third party has purposefully chosen a domain name that is confusingly similar to a trademark clearly belonging to another party and;
  • Cases where" it is not clear that the domain owner registered a particular name or mark to trade off a trademark owner's goodwill." [1]


The first type of case has been dubbed 'Cybersquatting'. and either involves registering domain names for the sole purpose of resale profit, or an attempt to redirect valuable online traffic from a well-known brand or website name.

There are various databases that you can search on the web to determine if your choice of domain name is a registered trademark in a particular country. The World Intellectual Property Organization has established a Trademark Database Portal with links to searchable databases worldwide.

Our team are highly regarded in domain name law and have considerable expertise in this area, having been directly involved in a number of high profile domain name cases. Partner and Joint Head of Intellectial Property, Matthew Harris is recognised by brand owners and domain name traders alike as an expert in the field of domain name law. He has personally decided through the World Intellectual Property Organisation, Nominet and the CAC Arbitration Court over 370 domain name cases. He is also one of only a handful of UK lawyers appointed by WIPO as a Legal Rights Objection Expert and Trade mark Post Delegation Dispute Resolution Expert.

Click here to read further about one of Matthew Harris' decisions on a cybersquatting domain name dispute.

Click here to read about Waterfront’s victory in an IPEC domain name passing off case.


[1] Lisa Cristal, "Domain Dilemmas," American Journalism Review, September 1997, p.48