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Freedom phone fighters tussle over domain

All the way to High Court

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A row has broken out between two rival UK phone companies claiming the rights to a domain name. freedomphones.com was registered in December by Upload UK – a Web design company – for its client, mobile phone seller Freedom Communications. Meanwhile, Scott Allison went to register the URL for his company, Freedom Phones, but found it gone. According to Allison, a battle of words ensued, with his solicitors last month issuing proceedings from the High Court. Allison, a sole trader, is now desperate to get his hands on the URL. "It's what I trade as. I've been trading as Freedom Phones for around four years," he said. He is worried that if freedomphones.com, currently not in use, started selling phones it would damage his business. "I'm willing to go to court to fight for the URL," he said. Freedom Communications, however, feels that it got there first and the domain name is rightfully its property. It has never traded as Freedom Phones, but said it was not aware of Allison's Freedom Phones company at the time of registering the URL and does not see itself as a cybersquatter. "I can understand this man (Allison) not being happy. I've been in business for 30 years, and we're all in unchartered waters where the legalities of the Internet are concerned," said David Greeson, Freedom Communications MD. "We have registered this and other URLs to protect Freedom Communications and its future business," he added. With the benefit of hindsight, Allison realises he should have registered the dotcom at the same time he registered freedomphones.co.uk last June. He will now have to prove to a court that he has more right to the freedomphones.com name than any other phone company. Chris Brodie, MD of Web design agency Upload UK, said companies only have themselves to blame if they find their domain names snapped up. "When clients contact me... I specifically say to them that they need to get the full set of URLs. It can cost up to £500 to get the set, including hyphens etc," said Brodie, who owns around 150 URLs, including blobby.com and policecameraction.com. ® Related Stories Government plays cybersquatter Watford Electronics turns cybersquatter on rivals for 'a joke' BAA attempts to shaft sheep site

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