Feeds

Ralph Lauren threatens village saddlery

Horsey, Horsey don't you trot

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

An English village saddlery has become the latest victim of domain name paranoia in the corporate world.

The Woldingham Saddlery & Harness Centre in Surrey has been in the horse business for over a decade, and its owner decided to register its domain name earlier this year. Nothing wrong with that, woldinghamsaddlery.com was still up for grabs.

The problem came when they decided to register related equestrian names to point to the online saddlery. These were onthetrot.com, chukkas.com, po-lo.com and horselivery.com.

In October Keith Collingridge, who registered the names, received a nasty letter from a top firm of New York lawyers representing fashion guru Ralph Lauren.

The letter, from Amster, Rothstein & Ebenstein, demanded he remove his registration of "polo.com" (which is a mistake anyway, as this domain without the hyphen is owned by Ralph Lauren). The letter also threatened that "cybersquatters" faced fines of up to $100,000 due to the Intellectual Property and Communications Omnibus Reform Act of 1999.

Collingridge told The Register he plans to fight the "bully boy tactics", has enlisted a UK lawyer, and disputes the fact that he is a squatting in anyone's corner of cyberspace - polo is a fine horse sport in the UK, played by the likes of Prince Charles.

He replied to the letter on November 13 but has had no correspondence with the lawyers or the company since.

"Polo in this country is one of our great equestrian sports," he said. "There's no way I'm letting this domain name go. I'm definitely not a cybersquatter."

He does have a point - the domain name polo.co.uk has been registered to Ascot Park Polo Club for four years, and the fashion house doesn't seem to mind.

In a similar case, Palm seems to have backed off from threatening a Brit who registered the domain Mypalm.com. The California company sent a letter demanding it be given ownership of the domain, but after The Reg broke the story last week, they have withdrawn the demands and are on the brink of an "amicable" solution, domain name owner Dominic Hulewicz tells us.

In addition, Nintendo has managed to wrestle some domains containing the names of Pokemon characters from "cybersquatters". It threatened to sue 55 domain holders last month, and today said some of those contacted "transferred the names voluntarily" after the suit was filed. It denied it was trying to gain control of fan sites or sites with words that were coincidentally the same as Pokemon characters. Some domain holders said they had received emails and letters from Nintendo and its lawyers warning that the company aimed to own all Pokemon domain names.

Incidentally, po-lo.com owner Collingridge made the point that many individuals would probably not fight to keep domain names if rich, powerful companies approached them amicably and didn't try to bully them into handing the names over. ®

Related Stories

Palm leans on 'cybersquatter' who predicts future
Palm calms down to work with Mypalm.com owner
Nintendo beats up Pokemon cybersquatters
My wembleystadium.net loses domain case
Cherie Blair hounded by cybersquatters

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Spies, avert eyes! Tim Berners-Lee demands a UK digital bill of rights
Lobbies tetchy MPs 'to end indiscriminate online surveillance'
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?
Can you hear the difference? Can anyone?
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
4chan outraged by Emma Watson nudie photo leak SCAM
In the immortal words of Shaggy, it wasn't me us ... amirite?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
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.