Abusive domain name registration of personal name not actionable

Posted On April 17, 2013
In Domain Names / Reply

A recent Nominet DRS decision has confirmed that an individual does not have ‘rights’ in their own name – even a very rare one – sufficient to found a case for transfer of an abusively-registered domain name.

The case arose out a bitter family feud.  The domain name hvidbro-mitchell.co.uk was used by Wendy Croxford to vent her frustrations about her ex-husband, Simon Mitchell, whose wife is Maiken Hvidbro-Mitchell. In particular Mrs. Coxford claims he owes her almost £80,000 in unpaid child support payments.

As Marks & Clerk report, a complaint was brought to Nominet requesting that the domain name be transferred to Mrs Hvidbro-Mitchell because it was being used to make “obsessive criticism” of her husband and to cause “anxiety and distress” to her family.

Nominet’s dispute resolution rules provide that the owner of “rights” in a name can object to the “abusive” registration of a domain name. However, merely being known under a family name does not provide a person with rights in that name, particularly in the absence of commercial trading activity under the name or ownership of a registered trade mark. It is also the case that use of a domain name purely “for the purposes of tribute or criticism” is not considered abusive under the rules.

Comments are closed.