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Domain Name Law

Domain name disputes need to be resolved swiftly and efficiently. Domain names are often now considered an important part of a company’s “Intellectual Property” portfolio. 

In the early years of the internet, the only way to deal with those using a domain name in a way that damaged another company's brand was through the courts. Court proceedings remain an option but since the late 1990s a series of procedures have sprung up that provide a quick, efficient, self-enforcing and relatively inexpensive way of dealing with improper domain name use, no matter where in the world the “infringer” might be based.

Our team is second to none when it comes to expertise in this area, having been directly involved in a number of high profile domain name cases. In particular, 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 400 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.

Unusually for teams that undertake this sort of work, our lawyers have successfully acted both for those who are bringing and are defending domain name proceedings.

Recent cases we have been involved in include:

  • Acting for a pan-European sports organisations in order to successfully retrieve through the UDRP a domain name for use with a world famous sporting event
  • Acting for numerous entities in respect of typosquatting domains used to further fraudulent activities
  • Acting for a domain name portfolio owner in defending UDRP proceedings in relation to a high value domain. Settlement terms were agreed which involved payment of a substantial sum to our client.

In some cases English court proceedings still remain the most effective option, and can provide rapid and summary relief. We have extensive experience of this as well, with Matthew Harris acting as advocate in Vertical Leisure Ltd v Poleplus Ltd [2014] EWHC 2077. The decision in that case has been frequently cited in subsequent High Court and IPEC Domain Name litigation.

Our team also provides advice on the contractual and non-contentious aspects of Domain Name law and practice, including in relation to the recent gTLD expansion. Our clients include DotLondon, the operator of the “.london” gTLD.

For advice about domain name law from our IP legal advisors, please contact us for a free initial chat.