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Friday, 7 January, 2000, 19:38 GMT
Court ruling in 'cyber-squatting row'

Haggis Backpackers homepage Haggis Backpackers said its business was damaged


An internet war involving two Scottish travel companies has ended up in court.

Haggis Backpackers, which runs budget holidays for young people, succeeded in gaining a court order against another tour operator after alleging it was damaging its business.

At the Court of Session in Edinburgh, the judge, Lord Penrose, granted an interim interdict preventing rival Scottish Tours from using temporary websites with names which might be mistaken for the Haggis Backpackers' web pages.


Supreme Courts The row ended up in court
Neill Boyd, representing Haggis Backpackers, of Blackfriars Street in the capital, accused the company of "cyber-squatting".

Afterwards, Haggis Backpackers' managing director, Alastair Campbell, said he believed it was only the second case of its kind to be brought in Scotland.

Scottish Tours, also based in Edinburgh, was not represented at the brief hearing.

In granting the order, Lord Penrose agreed there was a possible risk of confusion between the web pages operated by the two tour firms.

In papers presented to the judge, Haggis Backpackers said both its title and "Haggis" in graphic form were registered as trademarks.

Customers and travel agents could find out more by logging onto "haggis-backpackers.com" - a name which was registered in March 1997.

Temporary pages

Two years later, Scottish Tours set up temporary pages under the internet names "haggistours.com" and "haggisbackpackers.com".

Haggis Backpackers alleged internet search engines would be likely to divert potential customers to the rival temporary sites - and because they were still under construction, gain the impression that the Haggis tour firm was not operating.

Haggis Backpackers said they had gone to court because other attempts to resolve the matter, including offering money to Scottish Tours, had failed.

The Scottish Tours web page names "are simply instruments of deception to confuse customers" said the firm, which alleged it was likely to suffer substantial damage to business.

Mr Campbell said after the case that his market was mainly people under 30 moving around from place to place and relying on e-mail and the internet for their travel arrangements
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