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3i takes III to court over domain name

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3i, the UK's biggest venture capital firm, has issued a writ against Interactive Investor International, demanding the finance site ditches its iii logo and the iii.co.uk Web address, Sunday Business reports.

In a statement filed with the High Court, 3i claims III has infringed its trademark through the use of its iii logo. Referring to newspaper articles which mix up the two companies, 3i says it has suffered loss and damage as a result.

Well, well, well. This is very unusual - two large companies spitting over a URL, as opposed to one large company bullying a Web address from a smaller business, or wrenching a domain name from a cybersquatter.

Interactive Investor International is a substantial company in its own right, with more than one million subscribers, and it has built up huge brand equity around the III and the iii.co.uk names.

3i is also demanding a copy of III's confidential client list, in a move that has "caused consternation at the Internet firm", Sunday Business says.

But what deal has 3i lost and III gained because of the "likelihood of confusion on the part of the public"?

And so what if III sounds similar to 3i.co.uk? What has this got to do with passing-off - the former is a personal finance magazine and the latter is a VC house.

We can't see 3i getting away with this land grab. ®

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Cybersquatting: Full coverage

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

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