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nominet appeal panel polishes off Furniture Village's complaint

9 January 2012

Furnitureland went into administration in 2005. Its trade marks and the goodwill associated with them were sold to Furniture Village. In 2009, furnitureland.co.uk ltd was incorporated and obtained the domain furnitureland.co.uk.

Furniture Village brought a Nominet complaint about furnitureland.co.uk. The respondent claimed that, although he knew about Furnitureland, he thought they had stopped trading, and so his registration of the domain name was in good faith.

Both the first instance Expert and Appeal Panel agreed, so the respondent gets to keep the domain furnitureland.co.uk, which it is using as a click through website.

The case shows that the Nominet DRS is not suitable unless the complainant can clearly show the registrant knew of the complainant’s rights.

Faced with similar facts, brand owners should consider a passing off or trade mark action, which may have a better chance of succeeding.

It is also worth noting that the panel maintained the DRS’s reputation for speed by refusing to stay the appeal because of a pending trade mark revocation.

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