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Last Updated: Friday, 13 October 2006, 19:17 GMT 20:17 UK
Rooney wins his fight for website
Wayne Rooney
Rooney took the action to gain control of the website domain name
England football star Wayne Rooney has won a legal battle against a Welsh TV actor for the ownership of a website in the player's name.

Everton fan Huw Marshall, from Wrexham, registered WayneRooney.com in April 2002, when the striker was just 16.

The case had been taken to the United Nations' World Intellectual Property Organisation in Geneva, Switzerland.

A ruling was made that the domain name must be handed to the Manchester United striker and his management company.

A World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) panel said the present owner's claim he had registered the domain in order to create a fan site was "a difficult story to swallow".

It added that the current owner acted in "bad faith" when he registered the domain, and that it should be handed over to Rooney within 10 days unless the decision is challenged in a civil court.

The WIPO panel was set up in 1999 to allow those who think they have the right to a domain to gain control of it without having to fight costly legal battles or pay large sums to so-called cybersquatters.

Unfortunately he gets the domain name back and I'm faced with a legal bill of over 6,000
Huw Marshall

Mr Marshall, an actor who appears in S4C's Welsh-language drama Tipyn o Stad, registered the domain six months before Rooney's profile soared after scoring a last minute goal for Everton against Arsenal.

The strike made him the Premiership's youngest goal-scorer at the time.

Mr Marshall, a lifelong Everton fan, said he had registered the name after seeing Rooney play in April 2002, with the view to setting up an Everton-based website.

But the actor said he never got round to building the site and then Rooney had left Everton for Manchester United.

'Huge legal documents'

"His agent actually contacted me back in 2002 before they registered Wayne Rooney as a trademark asking to purchase the website.

"I said if they wanted it they were more than welcome to have it, but then that fizzled out and they never got back to me," he said.

Mr Marshall said he had fought the action because of the way Rooney's agents had handled the issue.

"They hadn't contacted me for four years and then the next thing I know I'm getting huge legal documents from Geneva saying I'm denying poor young Wayne a living," he said.

"Unfortunately he gets the domain name back and I'm faced with a legal bill of over 6,000."


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