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Monday, 8 April, 2002, 11:44 GMT 12:44 UK
Liverpool evict 'cybersquatter'
LiverpoolFC.com website
Not the Liverpool FC you might have expected
Liverpool football club has won its battle with a so-called cybersquatter over the use of the domain name Liverpoolfc.com.

The World Intellectual Property Organisation (Wipo), the body that arbitrates internet address disputes, ruled that Liverpool businessman Andrew Hetherington had registered the name in bad faith.

Mr Hetherington had told the Wipo panel looking into the dispute that the website was to be the home page for an online clothes store, Liverpool Fashion Club.

But the panel ruled on Monday that there was insufficient evidence to suggest the domain name had been bought for any reason other than to make money by selling it to the football club.

Bad faith

Liverpool had offered Mr Hetherington 50,000 for the domain name in December 2000, but he had rejected the offer and demanded 125,000.

Domain-name arbitration has proved a difficult and inexact science, with the owners of the web address having to prove they acted in good faith at the time of registration.

Last year, the Wipo panel ruled that four domains incorporating the word nasdaq had been registered in bad faith.

But it also ruled in favour of found in favour of a Mr AR Mani, who had registered the domain armani.com to use for his graphic design business, in a dispute with the Armani fashion house.

'Not credible'

Citing an earlier case involving former German soccer giants Bayern Munich, Wipo said Liverpool was a well known club, and FC widely understood to stand for football club, so internet users would expect the domain name to be linked to the Premier League challengers.

In that case, Wipo concluded that fcbayern.com could not be expected to be anything other than a Bayern-related website, and that the original owner's assertion that "fc" stood for "fans club" was "not credible, and irrelevant".

The panel concluded in the case of Liverpoolfc.com that Mr Hetherington had no legitimate interests in the name, and his involvement in the possible sale of it "for potentially large sums of money" was evidence of bad faith in the use of the name.

It ruled that the domain name should be transferred to the football club's official website company, Liverpoolfc.tv.

See also:

09 Oct 01 | Business
Nasdaq evicts 'cybersquatter'
02 Aug 01 | Business
Armani loses website fight
03 Sep 01 | Business
UN calls for web name controls
17 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Madonna wins cyber fight
28 Jul 00 | Entertainment
Sting stung online
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