Cybersquatting victory for Wiltshire firm
A Wiltshire-based company which runs the UK’s only dedicated military genealogy website has successfully won its battle against cybersquatters, with help from Withy King.
Forces War Records, which is run from Melksham, is the only online source of military records and personal data for over 3.5 million British Armed Forces personnel across over 4,000 regiments dating back to 1350.
The high volume of visitors to Forces War Records attracted the attention of cybersquatters who profited from the website’s success by launching and promoting their own domain name, www.forceswarrecords.co.uk – very similar to the real website which can be found at www.forceswarrecords.com, www.forces-war-records.co.uk and www.forces-war-records.com
“This caused a real problem for us. Not only did the fake domain name divert visitors away from our website, it created confusion in the marketplace, an administrative headache for us and posed a threat to the reputation we had worked so hard to build,” explained company founder and CEO, Dominic Hayhoe. “I was also concerned about the impact it might have on the value of our brand further down the line, should we one day decide to sell the company. It was just too important an issue to try and deal with ourselves so we called in the experts at Withy King to fight our corner.”
Jessica Bent, head of the Technology and Media team at Withy King, based in Swindon and Bath, successfully argued that the domain name www.forceswarrecords.co.uk was an abusive registration and should be transferred immediately to Forces War Records.
“Many businesses aren’t aware that they can get their domain name back after it has been claimed by someone else, even if they haven’t got a registered trade mark,” explained Jessica. “Cybersquatters profit from the hard work and investment of successful, established businesses. Most of them are based abroad – and in this case the Virgin Islands – so it would have been extremely difficult to sue them using traditional litigation.
“Cybersquatting is becoming a massive problem for businesses – and one which is likely to escalate in the future with the raft of new domain name endings being made available and the increasing number of variations,” said Jessica. “However, businesses don’t need to try and register every similar sounding domain name. Rather select the most relevant ones with the most common endings and use anti-cybersquatting procedures and registered trade marks to stamp out the others.”
“It’s a huge relief to have won this battle and acquired the cybersquatter’s domain name for ourselves,” added Dominic. “The lesson I’ve learnt from this is that it pays to remain vigilant and take quick and decisive action when you need to.”
Forces War Records was established in 2006 in response to demand from members of Forces Reunited – the company’s first website set up in 2001 to help Armed Forces personnel get in touch with people they had met during their time in service. The company, which is run by CEO Dominic Hayhoe and his brother MD Tim Hayhoe, employs 30 people to provide data entry, administrative, marketing and technical support across both websites.
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