Before naming your business or registering an Internet domain name it always pays to seek professional advice in order to avoid confusion and to ensure that you are not breaching anyone else’s rights. A restaurateur found that out to his cost after he christened his fast food business after the Moulin Rouge in Paris.
The owner of the Moulin Rouge trade mark complained to Nominet, the body which administers the UK’s domain name registry, after the restaurateur registered a web address that consisted of the famous nightclub’s name, combined with that of the northern town in which his pizza, burger and kebab business operated.
A Nominet expert found that the restaurateur had been blissfully unaware that anyone held rights in the Moulin Rouge name sufficient to prevent him making use of it. It was, however, obvious that he had been intent on associating his business with the illustrious nightclub. He had made use of images of press cuttings and posters relating to the club and from the 1952 film of the same name.
Although he had not chosen the domain name in order to take advantage of the trade mark owner’s rights, he had nevertheless been reckless. To that extent, his registration of the domain name was morally reprehensible. The expert directed that the offending domain name be transferred to the trade mark owner.