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Wragges wards off Treasury Solicitor for Napster address" />Wragge & Co has secured a crucial domain name victory for new client Roxio, the owner of the outlawed former file-sharing system Napster.
When Roxio realised it had a problem with Napster’s UK domain name it turned to Wragges.
After being appointed to look into who held the rights to www.napster.co.uk, Wragges ended up in a bizarre domain name dispute with the Treasury Solicitor.
Wragges eventually won the case when the UK’s internet names organisation Nominet ruled that the Treasury Solicitor’s Department held an abusive registration of the domain name www.napster.co.uk. Napster was the world’s first popular music file-sharing system, but was shut down by a US court in July 2001 following numerous copyright suits filed by the music industry.
Following the closure, US technology company Roxio bought Napster’s technology and intellectual property (IP) with a view to relaunching the brand as an above-board, copyright-compliant service.
However, a UK company called Napster Ltd, which is no relation to the US company, had registered the www.napster.co.uk domain to direct internet surfers to an online guitar shop.
Napster Ltd was dissolved when Wragges IP partner Cerryg Jones asked for the domain name to which Roxio owned the trademarks. Ordinarily in such a case, the Treasury Solicitor’s Department would inherit the domain name and auction it off.
In this case, the Treasury Solicitor’s Department initially agreed to hand over the name to its rightful owner Roxio. However, the department subsequently decided that the domain name would be sold, leaving Roxio to file a complaint with Nominet’s dispute resolution service.
The Treasury Solicitor’s Department then served a notice of disclaimer to disown the domain name. Nominet’s independent expert described it as “an apparent attempt to avoid… proceedings”, and instead ordered the Treasury Solicitor to transfer the domain name to Roxio.
The national firm’s victory could well signal the start of a fruitful relationship – Wragges is believed to be advising Roxio on the launch of a legal service in the UK.