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Claire Field wins Harry Potter Web site case

Warner Brothers backs down

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Warner Brothers has backed down on its legal threats against 15-year-old Claire Field - owner of the Web site www.harrypotterguide.co.uk.

In a fax sent to Claire's lawyer, Matthew Rippon of Prettys Solicitors, Warner Brothers said that in view of the facts that Claire had registered the URL in good faith and was not using it for commercial means, there was no need for it to continue in its action.

Previously, Warner Brothers claimed that Claire's site infringed its trademark as it had the rights to the forthcoming Harry Potter film. Claire offers a wide-ranging site to fans of the Harry Potter series of books written by single mother JK Rowling.

Claire's solicitors had been preparing a formal agreement between the two parties but Warner Brothers deemed this unnecessary and said it hoped a line could be drawn under the whole affair. Recognition by Warner Brothers that Claire's site was non-commercial - and as such did not infringe the company's trademark policies - has given hope to other owners of Harry Potter domains who have also been faced with legal demands from the multi-billion pound corporation that they hand over their domains.

The owner of www.harry-potter-magic.co.uk, Steve McDonald, has also come to agreement with Warner Brothers over his URL, which he registered for his 10-year-old daughter.

Mr Rippon had this to say over the Claire Field case: "This underlines the importance of examining the unique facts of every individual case. Anybody who has a trademark shouldn't send out blanket letters and I hope that this has taught that lesson." ®

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