Bridget Jones wins cybersquatter fight

Bad faith the key

Helen Fielding, the author of bestseller Bridget Jones' Diary, has wrested control of the domain name from a Florida-based cybersquatter.

World Intellectual Property Organisation arbitrator Frederick Abbot ordered the transfer of domain name to the British-born writer on hearing that Anthony Corbett, of Plantation, Florida had offered to sell the domain name to her for £10,000. This showed bad faith, he said.

In correspondence with Fielding, submitted to WIPO, Corbett said he intended to use the domain name to build a Bridget Jones fan site.

However, Abbott noted that the domain name had been unused for the two years it had been owned by Corbett. In other words he was a cybersquatter, not a bona fide fan.

But in an interesting development, Abbott also ruled that the use of a trademark name could be legitimate for a fan site.

With rulings like this, big name companies will quickly sidestep WIPO in favour of blustering cease-and-desist letters and legal action through the courts.

However, Abbot's ruling should give ammunition to fan sites everywhere - unfortunately it comes too late for the Harry Potter fan sites, bullied out of their domain names earlier this year by Warner Brothers. eg;

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