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Jaguar Land Rover Triumphs in Internet Domain Names Row

In a stern warning to web entrepreneurs that abusive registration of internet domain names with a view to profit will not be tolerated, a businessman brought down the wrath of car manufacturers, Jaguar Land Rover Limited, by offering confusing web addresses for sale for £45,000 on eBay.

The businessman had threatened to cause a ‘PR catastrophe’ for the company unless it backed down from demands that he hand over seven web addresses which incorporated the words ‘land-rover’, ‘landrover’, ‘evoque’ or ‘defender’. He had listed three of the domain names – including ‘’ – for sale on the online auction site alongside the company’s famous green logo.

Upholding Jaguar Land Rover’s complaint and directing the businessman to hand over the offending domain names to the company, online dispute resolution body, Nominet, ruled that they were abusive registrations in his hands and that he had acquired them with a view to selling them to the company or one of its competitors.

Subsequent to the taking down of the eBay advert, the businessman had offered to sell the domain names to Jaguar Land Rover at what he said was a ‘reasonable’ price of £6,000. However, the company submitted that that his threat of damaging publicity had been ‘close to attempted blackmail’.

The businessman argued that he had registered the domain names in the initial hope of turning them into discussion forums and had paid ‘considerable fees’ to develop their value. He also pointed out that Jaguar Land Rover had taken no interest in the web addresses until they were listed on eBay.

However, a Nominet expert found that there was no evidence to support the businessman’s ‘bald assertion’ as to the use he had intended to make of the web addresses and that he had ‘specifically chosen the domains to sell them back’ to the car manufacturer or a competitor. The registrations had, in the circumstances, taken ‘unfair advantage’ of Jaguar Land Rover’s brands and global trading reputation.