Law Society of Scotland buys ‘cybersquatter’ domain (redux)

The Reg: inaccurate or prescient? The latter

The Law Society of Scotland has just been confirmed as the new owner of Lawscot.co.uk, five days after it branded our story that revealed it has paid £10,000 for the domain "inaccurate".

The Law Society has been chasing the previous owner of the generic domain, Tommy Butler, through its own law courts to take hold of the domain, insisting that he was infringing its rights and the trademark that it took out after he initially refused to hand it over to them.

The case was due to return to court for a second time on Friday 13 June but was cancelled, we revealed, after the Law Society handed over a £10,000 cheque for the domain - an interesting move considering it had turned down a £500 offer just a year earlier and had spent thousands of pounds bringing Mr Butler to court.

Mr Butler's refusal to sign any form of non-disclosure agreement meant for the first time that we were able to accurately report this particular aspect of the case.

Nevertheless, within hours, The Law Society responded to media calls for comment by saying our story was inaccurate. In a press statement on its website (since removed from the main news page but still currently available on the Internet), it stated: "The report about an ongoing action between the Law Society of Scotland and Mr Butler concerning a domain name in The Register website is inaccurate. The case has not yet settled. It has been continued for settlement and is therefore sub judicae. The Society is endeavouring to settle the action and believes that it is taking a pragmatic view on resolving a case in the best interests of all concerned."

Considering that was Friday 13 June and that Nominet takes between one and two days to process a domain ownership change, the fact that it has gone through the system today and the Whois for Lawscot.co.uk shows the Law Society of Scotland, would suggest either that our article was entirely accurate or that it prompted a sudden and immediate decision on the part of the Law Society to use the cheque it had written out a week before for buying the domain.

We would like to think the latter, but sadly, we feel the other is true.

So, now that the Law Society's pragmatic view has been decided and the settlement is no longer sub judicae, others are free to report the story. Perhaps the Society would like to provide a public statement as to why it spent so long and so much money chasing a domain when it is clear that a court of law would not rule in its favour. ®

Related story
Law Society of Scotland pays £10K to 'cybersquatter' for domain

Related links
Law Society press statement
LAW SOCIETY OF SCOTLAND STATEMENT ON DOMAIN NAME DISPUTE SETTLEMENT (update)

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