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Naming a New Website? Watch Out for Others’ Rights!

Contrary to what some may believe, the Internet is not a free-for-all and those who register web addresses which breach the rights of others are playing with fire. One businessman found that out to his cost when he set up an online domain which prominently featured the name of supermarket giants Aldi.

The businessman drew a complaint from Aldi Stores Limited when he registered the domain name, ‘ilovealdi.co.uk’. He claimed to be a fan of the supermarket chain intent on setting up a forum for those who shared his love of shopping at Aldi. He denied that he was in any way trying to disrupt the company’s business.

However, Nominet – the body responsible for registering web addresses in the UK – directed him to hand over the contentious domain name to Aldi. It noted that the domain had for some time ‘pointed’ to a website which offered groceries for sale. That gave rise to a risk of confusion and it was clear that the businessman’s primary motive was to take unfair advantage of the Aldi name.