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iTunes.co.uk domain dispute rejected by High Court

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 05 Aug 2005 14:06 User comments (24)

iTunes.co.uk domain dispute rejected by High Court The dispute between Apple and CyberBritain's Benjamin Cohen continues as the High Court has rejected an application for a Judicial Review into the ownership of the iTunes.co.uk domain name which was first registered by Cohen in November 2000. Originally Apple accused Cohen of being a "cybersquatter" and took him to UK registry Nominet looking for ownership of the domain name. Cohen registered the itunes.co.uk domain name on 7th November 2000, whereas Apple were only had the trademark for "iTunes" published in the Trade Marks Journal on 6th December 2000.
Cohen made use of the domain by forwarding it to a music search engine service at his CyberBritain site. Apple had offered a small sum of money (about $5000) for the domain, which Cohen rejected. Cohen then reportedly attempted to sell the domain name to Apple's rivals Napster, but the offer was rejected. Nominet ruled that the name registration was abusive and gave the rights to the iTunes.co.uk domain to Apple. In March, Cohen announced that he applied to the High Court for a judicial review of his dispute with Apple over the address.

Today Nominet announced that Cohen's call for a Judicial Review had been rejected. "The judge noted that the application was flawed in several respects, being both late and unnecessary given the right of appeal which forms part of Nominet's Dispute Resolution Service, which Mr Cohen had failed to use," said Nominet in a statement. In a statement Edward Phillips, Nominet's solicitor said: "I am pleased that the judge has rejected Mr Cohen's case at the first possible opportunity, which leaves no doubt that it was without merit. We will now be looking at recovering our costs of defending this unnecessary action."

If Cohen does not apply for an oral hearting within seven days, the matter will be considered closed. "CyberBritain is considering its options together with its legal team. It is currently reviewing the decision and is strongly considering making an application for an oral hearing", he told The Register. "We refute Nominet's allegation that it was an unnecessary action and hope that in the case of an oral hearing being pursued, the inherent unfairness of Nominet's dispute resolution service becomes apparent."

Source:
The Register

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24 user comments

15.8.2005 14:26

Firstly, I have to say, great post! what i dont understand is what rights did apple have over the .co.uk address?? none.if i now founded a restaurant called google and it turned out to leapfrog microsoft as the worlds biggest company, does that give me the right to snuff away the google company and take their address. maybe im a little out of proportion... then again, i cant sympathise with this asshole too much, tryin to sell it to napster, he was way outta his depth. he shoulda jus taken his 5 geez and run!!!

25.8.2005 15:36

I would not usually be course or vulgar, but on this occasion I am inclined to scrawl on the toilet wall: I am wealthy I will poo on you If you say it smells I will sue. That domain belonged to Cohen, and the offer Apple made would not have paid for a number plate never mind a domain name. Whilst I can appreciate the position of Nominet, often needing the wisdom of Solomon in making decisions like these, Cohen was first with registering iTunes. Apple choosing to register the name iTunes a month later should not be 'backward compatible'. Any orchard owners out there got the money to fight for Apple.com?

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 05 Aug 2005 @ 15:47

--
Tony Blair lied, people died. One person's "Shock and Awe" is another person's "Terrorism".
Scaremongering is the new rock and roll: Ways of dying before the 'terrorists' get you: police custody, smoking, drinking, car accident, hospital superbug, being on an NHS waiting list, violent mugging, murdered by friend/family, heart attack, cancer, food poisoning, profit induced safety cuts, noxious substance in your ready-meal, prescription drugs (co-proxymol or paracetamol), nuclear accident, American friendly-fire...

36.8.2005 2:15

There was this great land rush before the internet bubble burst of these little idiots registering every domain name they could possibly think of that might be valuable. I would have had every sympathy if this guy had his own business called itunes but he is just a leech.

46.8.2005 2:29

Was he one of those that registered a tonne of names then? (that might change my opinion for Cohen) or was he just using foresight to catch internet business? If so, then just because the little guy wasn't using iTunes.co.uk per se, shouldn't mean the big guy can take it off him.

56.8.2005 11:05

the whole thing of him saying no to the 5 g's and then trying to sell it to napster makes me want this guy to lose every single battle in this war he's trying to wage. he doesnt deserve the domain, yet alone the right to make money from it. Dan x

67.8.2005 4:04

I've gotta agree. This guy is clearly trying to leech of Apple, either by catching web traffic and redirecting it to his own site, or by hoping Apple or Napster etc. will pay him large amounts of money to part with the rights to the domain. He had a plan, it didn't work. I personally have no sympathy for him, he wasn't an innocent victim, quite the opposite.

77.8.2005 4:16

"Cohen registered the itunes.co.uk domain name on 7th November 2000, whereas Apple were only had the trademark for "iTunes" published in the Trade Marks Journal on 6th December 2000." I assume Cohen had the name before Apple? or do you know something more?

87.8.2005 16:33

All you people saying he deserves to lose because he wanted money would have done the same thing in that situation. You guys are sayin if you had the domain and apple wanted it then you would just give it to them and thats a load of crap. They have a shitload of money why not try and get a little of it. Its not like he was trying to get money from a mom and pop its APPLE were talkin about. They can fork over a little dough. I prolly would have taken the 5 g's but whats wrong with a little more. You should quit bashing him cuz you would have done the same thing. Maybe not try for more but you would have taken the 5 grand.

97.8.2005 17:10

i suppose everyone's entitled to their own opinion....

108.8.2005 0:07

Well, if Walmart can mow down your house to build a store, this doesn't seem so far-fetched. Money = power = corruption = greed = more money...

118.8.2005 1:45
Rosco404
Inactive

Why didnt Apple check to see if the name they wanted was available first before geting a trademark? Cybersquatter? How? Would Apple release the name "itunes" to public or any news source before tradmarking it? I dont think so.... So how could cohan know of its existence?

128.8.2005 5:20

Lets turn this around. If Apple would have registered 200 domain names , never used them properly and demanded 50,000 from anyone who had a legitimate need for them what would everyone think then? Don't just bash Apple because their succesful. In this particular case I agree with them but I detest the way they use the courts as a means of intimidation time and time again. I am no Apple lover believe me.

138.8.2005 8:22

I asked this earlier: "Was he one of those that registered a tonne of names then? (that might change my opinion for Cohen" - And I'd like to add that the article says: 'Cohen then reportedly attempted to sell the domain name to Apple's rivals Napster' reportedly = supposedly, like confirmation on that too. To join the realms of theory: If Apple had registered a load of domain names, I doubt they would want to give them away or sell them for $5000 even if Apple weren't using them (unless the whole thing was set up as a publicity stunt) I also doubt, under reversed circumstances, e.g. Apple registered a domain before Mr Example decided to trademark the name, that Apple would have got a ruling telling them to hand it over.


--
Tony Blair lied, people died. One person's "Shock and Awe" is another person's "Terrorism".
Scaremongering is the new rock and roll: Ways of dying before the 'terrorists' get you: police custody, smoking, drinking, car accident, hospital superbug, being on an NHS waiting list, violent mugging, murdered by friend/family, heart attack, cancer, food poisoning, profit induced safety cuts, noxious substance in your ready-meal, prescription drugs (co-proxymol or paracetamol), nuclear accident, American friendly-fire...

148.8.2005 11:51

the guy LOST and for good reason. You guys are confused Apple trademarked the name first. a doman name is NOT a trademark.

158.8.2005 13:35

Yup. From that legally-tinted viewpoint Apple (and other financially laden entities) can f*ck over anything that isn't a registered and seriously-legally protected 'trademark'. A morally-tinted viewpoint may be to tell apple "hey, if it's an internet based prospect, check the name's available!" interesting link (the last two paragraphs): http://www.monbiot.com/archives/1998/11/19/inequality-before-the-law/

168.8.2005 15:40

Hmm. I guess a good piece of advice would be to immediately trademark your domain names when you register them.

178.8.2005 16:03

Constructive conclusion. On top of that though, nothing is safe unless it has expensive legal protection. But then we knew that already, didn't we?

189.8.2005 7:29

I'm sure when this first popped up around 3 months ago, reports were that some months after apple offered him $5,000 for the domain name he tried to sell it to APPLE for $50,000 not NAPSTER, as is currently reported...

199.8.2005 10:19

Whether or not Cohen was purchasing "lots" of domain names (as is done by the pharmaceutical companies, software companies, and everyone else in the "modern world",) or trying to profit from his intellectual properties, why is it that a major corporation can steal any name that they like-- just because they use it better, or make more profit from it? It is clear that Cohen had the name registered a month prior to Apple even registering the name for their personal use. When a person starts a company, they get the name copyrighted FIRST, not steal the "best" name from a registered owner.

2010.8.2005 15:22

No offense to Dela, but out of speed or bias he has dropped the most important fact of the case - and one everyone who has followed it knows -- namely that Apple trademarked the name BEFORE Cohen registered the domain. It appeared in trade press before Cohen did a thing. 1) Apple registers this trademark 2) 12 days later Cohen (who has registered hundreds of shelved and forwarding domains) squats the domain 3) cohen tries to sell it to apple 4) cohen tries to sell it to napster "It is clear that Cohen had the name registered a month prior to Apple even registering the name for their personal use. When a person starts a company, they get the name copyrighted FIRST, not steal the "best" name from a registered owner. " NO it is clear that Cohen registered thename 12 days later. It is clear that poorly written stories fudge this FACT. "A morally-tinted viewpoint may be to tell apple "hey, if it's an internet based prospect, check the name's available!"" Backwords. Apple registered the trademark. Cohen went through and registered domain names, knowing already that he was on shaky legal ground without trademark. No one is directly accusing him of knowing of the names recent trademarking by a billion dollar company but It is safe to assume that that is a HECK of a coincidence.

2110.8.2005 15:32

why backwords [sic] S2K ? And any chance you can back up all your statements with sources? nothing personal, but I based mine on the article at the top. :D

2211.8.2005 11:14
minipod
Inactive

Apple, just like Microsoft, will try anything to get their way. Just like the fraudulent case of the inventor of the color TV being conned and having his ideas stolen. By the way - if the proprietry owners of James Bond trademarked products ever try to steal my email addresses of all the James Bond actors (seanconnery@britishintelligence.co.uk, piercebrosnan@britishintelligence.co.uk etc), I will of course sue for them to be mine and not their's - I got them first, and I will keep them. You can't trademark email addresses.

2311.8.2005 11:52

weeeeell, I hate to suggest this but the British Government could just claim the domain britishintelligence.co.uk and Nominet (or whoever) would probably give it to them. - not quite the same scenario as an innocuous name like iTunes (when Cohen registered it), but I thought you ought to know!

2411.8.2005 14:47
RNR1995
Inactive

Cohen should sue Apple for infringment. He technically had the itunes named registered a full month before apple announced the itunes name. IMHO any moron that would use itunes deserves what they get. I like my cd's pressed......

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