DWS helps Citigroup triumph in domain name damages row

Denton Wilde Sapte (DWS) has won its first IP deal for Citigroup as a result of its Taylor Wessing hires earlier this year.

The firm, led by new IP litigation partner John Linneker, triumphed in a cybersquatting case in the High Court two weeks ago. Linneker brought the case with him from Taylor Wessing.

In 1998, hours after the announcement of the merger that created Citigroup, Jim Davies, a litigant in person, registered the domain citigroup.co.uk through his company Global Projects Management.

Even though anyone who tried to access the website received an error message, emails which were sent to citigroup.co.uk were received by Davies.

Citigroup did not notice that Davies held the domain name until 2003, at which point it tried to get it back, first through mediation and then through the courts.

Davies used the information he received on only one occasion. He was sent sensitive financial information on a company and then rang the Financial Services Authority to ask if he could buy shares in the company based on the information he had received.

Mr Justice Park ruled in favour of Citigroup, agreeing with the bank that Davies was in breach of its copyright. Davies has been ordered to pay costs and damages, which have yet to be fixed.

Citigroup has been a client of Linneker’s for around 10 years. The deal is a coup for DWS, which hired Linneker and two other IP lawyers earlier this year.

David Hansel at Memery Crystal represented Davies at the summary judgment application. Andrew McGee of Kings Chambers was brought on board by Memery Crystal, while James Mellor of 8 New Square was instructed by DWS.