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Is Your Goodwill Being Preyed on by Others? Don’t Just Put Up With It!

The Internet is proverbially shark-infested and there are many who use it to prey on goodwill that others have painstakingly built up. However, as a High Court case showed, judges are alert to the problem and, with the right legal advice, victims can achieve full compensation for any losses they incur.

The case concerned a company that provides translation and interpretation services. Lawyers on its behalf launched passing off and infringement proceedings against a trade rival after it registered two web domains that were similar or identical to the company’s trade marks. The rival put in no defence to the claim and judgment in default was entered against it and its sole director.

In assessing the damage payable to the company at £142,044, the Court noted that the websites had been specifically designed to capture the company’s potential clients and were operational for 34 months. The success of the rival in achieving significant sales at the company’s expense was shown by the fact that traffic to the company’s domain increased by half after the offending websites were shut down. The Court noted that the award was designed to put the company in the same position it would have been in but for the rival’s wrongful acts. The offending domain names were also transferred to the company.