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Olympic ‘cybersquatters’ for the high jump

750 writs sent out this week - is that a record?

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Lawyers acting on behalf of the Olympic movement will today complete issuing some 750 "cybersquatters" with writs demanding they hand over their domains or face the threat of legal action.

In July, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the US Olympic Committee, and the organisers of the Salt Lake City Winter Games in 2002, said they intended to reclaim 1,800 domain names which they alleged breached trademark regulations for the words "Olympic" and "Olympiad".

However, lawyers only began sending out the 410-page document by email this week.

Most of those who have received the writ hold multiple domains.

James L Bikoff of Silverberg Goldman & Bikoff - who is representing the various Olympic bodies - said he had received 200 replies so far.

He told The Register that while he expected that most people would hand over their domains without a fight, some wouldn't. He also said that some people might not be forced to hand over their domains if it could be proved they were not being used in any commercial way.

One of those who received the writ, and who asked not to be named, said: "I intend conceding a few [domains] but I am loath to concede [others].

"I cannot see how 'we' are not allowed even to mention the word 'Olympics', as long as we are not passing off as the Olympics themselves.

"If we don't watch out even newspapers mentioning the word 'Olympics' will find themselves sued for passing off," he said. ®

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