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Nominet faces judicial review over itunes.co.uk ownership

Domain squabbles

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Benjamin Cohen is seeking a Judicial Review over Nominet's recent ruling which forced him to hand over his itunes.co.uk domain to Apple.

In March Apple was awarded control of the domain iTunes.co.uk, even though it was registered before the Mac maker announced its online music service.

Cohen registered "itunes.co.uk" on 7 November 2000 some three years before Apple registered the name "itunes.com" which it uses to flog music.

Cohen denies he was cybersquatting and insists his use of the itunes.co.uk site was legitimate.

But Apple appealed to Nominet UK Ltd, the company responsible for the issue and regulation of domain names within the UK, and won its case.

Now Cohen is looking to get the decision overturned by turning to the High Court.

Said Cohen: "I must admit that we were not expecting the decision by Nominet's appointed expert.

"Apple chose to launch the UK brand of 'itunes' within the UK with the knowledge that we had owned the name for three years before their USA launch and four years before their launch within the UK."

"We could have appealed to Nominet directly but with a fee of £3,000+VAT in addition to our legal costs. However, we feel that the procedure that Nominet utilise to settle disputes is unfair and biased towards big business at the expense of legitimate small, British companies.

"Therefore, we have decided to refer the decision for Judicial Review in the High Court with a view to overturn the decision and to make recommendations for improvements to the way that domain name disputes are handled within this country, and ensure that the regulations for domain ownership comply with the Trademark Act."

A spokeswoman for Nominet said it stands by its earlier ruling and would defend any legal challenge ®

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