Feeds

UK court slaps reseller for metatag squatting

A first for Britain

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security for virtualized datacentres

A Tyneside reseller has become the first company to be roasted by a UK court over trademark infringement in HTML 'meta' tags.

Mandata was ordered to pay 15,000 damages after including trademarks belonging to its rival Road Tech Computer Systems in its meta tags. It was also accused of writing the trademarks into the front page of the Mandata Web site 27 times in hidden text.

The High Court ordered Mandata to pay damages plus costs for both sides; a total of 80,000.

Meta tags are key words, invisible to the reader, that describe the content of Web pages to search engines. This is the first ruling of its kind on meta tags in the UK - although there have been several cases in the US.

Dominic Bray, a solicitor with Nicholson Graham & Jones who acted for Road Tech, said he was "delighted" with the outcome.

"I don't think anyone should be surprised by this outcome - it is a reflection of common sense and general trademark law," he said. "However, as the first decision in the English Court it provides clarification for everyone doing business on the Internet.

"The High Court has given a clear warning to anyone contemplating appropriating a competitor's trade marks and goodwill to attract business, that such activity will not be tolerated and damages will be awarded," he said.

According to Bray, Mandata used trademarks of Road Tech Computer Systems – from its Roadrunner software and Road Tech itself – for a minimum of four months last year.

But although the summary judgement found the company had infringed on trademarks, there was insufficient evidence to prove that trade had been diverted from the Road Tech site.

A Mandata representative said today: "A member of staff did something wrong, and we've corrected it," but refused to comment further. The company is claiming that at the time its site was constructed the trade marks were included "without the authority of any of the Mandata directors". ®

Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Why Oracle CEO Larry Ellison had to go ... Except he hasn't
Silicon Valley's veteran seadog in piratical Putin impression
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
Bono: Apple will sort out monetising music where the labels failed
Remastered so hard it would be difficult or impossible to master it again
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.