Internet domain name dispute resolution service Nominet UK made the ruling following a complaint from the media group after it found the domain name www.banburycake.co.uk was registered to the Brainfire Group, a company based in Canada.
Newsquest claimed this was an “exploitative and abusive” and a flagrant misuse of the Banbury Cake name, for which it has rights enforceable under English law, and the company had taken unfair advantage of the paper’s strong regional identity and valuable goodwill in the community it serves.
It also said readers were likely to believe the domain name was operated by or in some way connected to the newspaper, and amounted to an actionable passing off under UK law and an infringement of Newsquest’s “common law trade mark”.
It added that Brainfire had a history of registering domain names identical or similar to registered and unregistered trademarks, and already had numerous Nominet rulings which found it guilty of abusive registration.
In its findings, Nominet said the domain name had been registered by Brainfire on February 1, 2005, and at the date of its decision it linked to a web page that was similar to what one would expect to be generated by a “domain parking service”.
It said: “The web page shows the heading ‘banburycake.co.uk – what you need, when you need it’ and a number of links, mostly but not exclusively relating to employment.
“Clicking on these links returns a web page consisting of internet search results provided by ‘information.com’.
Reporting his decision, Nominet’s Matthew Harris said he found that Newsquest had rights in a name or mark that is identical or similar to the domain name and that the domain name in the hands of Brainfire was an abusive registration.
He said: “I therefore determine that the domain name should be transferred to the complainant.”