Hosting of a .com Domain with .UK Already Hosted?

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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Barton
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Hosting of a .com Domain with .UK Already Hosted?

Post by Barton » Thu Sep 07, 2017 6:47 am

After registering and getting such a great answer I wondered if anybody could answer an old question I'm always asked.

Can you host a domain that's based on a recognised region and a service, e.g. Devon-Taxis [@] c0m*, South-Downs-Horse-Transport [@] c0m*.

Would it be an issue if a company already hosted the dot uk domain, but another company host the [@]c0m version if they use their company name only and Devon Taxis is not referenced or can a disclaimer be added to negate problems of confusion?

I am assuming that the .uk companies have not Trademarked their company names.

* I do not know if "Devon Taxis" or "South Downs Horse Transport" exists or not, just arbitrary examples.

Thank you for any answers, as it's a minefield out there.
Last edited by Barton on Fri Sep 08, 2017 7:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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AndyJ
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Post by AndyJ » Thu Sep 07, 2017 9:39 am

Hi Barton

The rules for domain names are somewhat different to those for copyright and trade marks. Basically anyone can try to register a word or set of words with whichever registrar deals with the particular top level domain (TLD), such as .com .net .eu and so on. It is then up to any other company or individual who feels they are being disadvantaged by the new domain name to challenge the matter through the URL Dispute Resolution procedure.

It is possible to register a URL as a trade mark, and if someone else started using a somewhat similar URL for similar goods or services then the first owner could bring a legal challenge under the Trade Marks Act 1994, although since part of the URL Dispute Resolution protocol also looks at this aspect and is much cheaper than going to court, a court case is rarely necessary unless the complainant is looking for damages or some other remedy not available under the Dispute Resolution procedure.

And there is also the matter of passing-off. If it could be shown that the second URL had ben registered mainly in order to divert business away from the first company or even unintentionally had the effect of confusing people to a significant extent, that would certainly be grounds for a bringing a passing-off claim. Here's a link to a case involving just that scenario: Phones4u Ltd v Phone4u.Co.UK [2006] EWCA Civ 244
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Barton
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Post by Barton » Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:06 am

Interesting and mind-blowing for domain name holders.

I have a client was has the c0m domain and an individual purchased the UK flavour, but the UK domain has never been hosted in the 10 years or so that it's been registered.

The experience I've found is that the first question asked is related to your company name and whether it's Trademarked, and of course, the answer is no, end of the complaint.

Am I giving up too easily or expecting too much?

Excellent information and help again, thank you.

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Post by AndyJ » Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:39 am

Hi again Barton,

I have seen a couple* of Dispute Resolution cases under the Nominet code of practice and the adjudicators (who are usually qualified lawyers) seem to take a pretty common-sense approach from what I can see. So, yes if a clash of confusing domain names is inhibiting a business, it is worth going down that route if the alternative is lost customers and lost sales.

* You can download examples of decisions in various cases, in pdf format, by following the links on this page of the Nominet website.
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Post by Barton » Fri Sep 08, 2017 2:32 pm

Hello and sorry to badger you again, on a Friday :(

What if my core business was based on a Taxi service in Devon and I wanted to change the website content to concentrate purely on taxis rather than let's say airport transfers in Devon.
Would there be a specific way to word the text so as not to cause any issues with the Devon Taxis website?

e.g.
"Our company has been established for over 20 and has supplied Devon with an excellent taxis service ever since."

Thank you for any advice.
Last edited by Barton on Fri Sep 08, 2017 7:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by AndyJ » Fri Sep 08, 2017 7:01 pm

Hi Barton,

I think the best approach is to put the other site out of your mind and just write what you want/need to say about your taxi service or indeed any other service. If you find you are resorting to clichÄ— then this is probably all to the good because the more banal the language the less likely it will be that anyone could call it original (in the copyright sense) either on your site or theirs, assuming that they have used similar language.

Inevitably when two businesses are operating in the same marketplace, providing the same sort of goods or services, there will a tendency to use similar language in their advertising, and any court would take this into account when dealing with a copyright claim. Only when the language takes on a noticeably idiosyncratic or distinctive style will any similarity come under suspicion of having been copied if it is replicated on a second site.
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