Wragge & Co has won out against the Treasury Solicitor’s department in a bizarre dispute over the Napster domain name.
The UK’s internet names organisation Nominet has ruled that the Treasury Solicitor 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 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 with a view to relaunching the brand as a legal 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 dissolved when Wragges IP partner Cerryg Jones asked for the domain name to which Roxio owned the trade marks.
Normally, the Treasury Solicitor department would inherit the domain and subsequently auction it off.
In this case, the Treasury Solicitor department initially agreed to hand over the name to its rightful owner Roxio. However the department then decided that the domain name should be sold and Roxio would have 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 “in an apparent attempt to avoid […] proceedings”, according to Nominet’s independent expert, who ordered the Treasury Solicitor to transfer the domain name to Roxio.