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Baa.com – domain battle decided but case goes on

Legal precedent sought

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BAA plc may have secured the ownership of Baa.com, after the domains current owner Tom Bourke settled the domain dispute out of court, but previous owner Michael Lawrie is having none of it and vows to fight the big corporate all the way.

Lawrie hopes to set a legal precedent in the UK over domain name ownership. His case concerns not the ownership of the domain but rather accusations by BAA that he tried to defraud, blackmail and extort money from BAA plc over his possession of the domain.

Lawrie is not too happy about these allegations and claims they are not only defamatory but also without evidence. An important element of the case revolves around which party initially contacted the other. Lawrie says BAA plc has asked him to provide email correspondence pre-December 1998, since BAA had an email overhaul and lost them. This backlog, Lawrie claims, shows that BAA approached him first in 1995 over the domain name and he rebuked the company.

Moreover, since the baa.com domain ownership was decided, Lawrie has received a letter from BAA's lawyers Herbert Smith insisting he now end his dispute without asking for costs, since by Tom settling, his case is undermined.

However, Lawrie has decided to put his career on the line (he's already been bankrupt once) to push the case through to the courts. His legal costs are lower than Tom Bourke's since he is defending himself.

Herbert Smith said it would get back to us over the matter. ®

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