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High Court refuses to act as appeal court from Nominet

9 March 2012

Emirates brought a domain name complaint with Nominet about a registration of the domain emirates.co.uk and won on appeal. The registrant applied to the courts for various declarations, the most important of which were a declaration (a) that the registration of emirates.co.uk was not an abusive registration, and (b) that Nominet’s decision was not properly reached.

The Patents County Court struck out the application for (b) but refused to strike out the application for (a). Emirates appealed the ruling in respect of (a), and the respondent cross-appealed in respect of (b).

The High Court has stayed the cross appeal and allowed Emirates’ appeal, holding that whether or not a registration is abusive is a question for Nominet’s experts, so the court must decline to grant an injunction.

The registrant’s application was admirably innovative, but this is the right decision – Nominet’s DRS process is meant to be quick and straightforward, and this decision means that rightsholders can continue to bring complaints without opening the door to protracted litigation.

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