London Real Estate Firm Retrieves Trademark from Porn

YNOT EUROPE – In what is being called a landmark case for trademark rights on the internet, the High Court, Chancery Division, in London awarded £15,000 in damages to an estate agency whose competitor registered its trademarked name as a dot-com and pointed the URL to pornographic websites.

South West London’s Eddison White Limited was founded in early 2004 and registered the URL EddisonWhite.co.uk in March of the same year. The firm obtained the U.K. trademark “Eddison White” in April 2007.

A competitor, Luke Bennett (operating as SW19 Estate Agents Ltd.), registered EddisonWhite.com in November 2005. According to court documents, Bennett admitted he diverted traffic from the dot-com URL to several hardcore porn sites, hoping to affect his competitor’s business. Despite a series of cease-and-desist requests from Eddison White, Bennett continued the practice until June 2009, eventually also diverting traffic to other estate agencies, including his own.

Bennett agreed to the judgement.

“This is an important case for small businesses everywhere that are not sure where they stand in the areas of internet law,” said Peter Adediran, the attorney acting for Eddison White. “I’m extremely happy I was able to assist Eddison White in this and hope its victory will help all businesses protect themselves against such practice.”

The agency’s co-owner called Bennett’s actions contemptible and said he worries the row will reflect badly on the profession as a whole.

“I am relieved and happy this ordeal is over,” Richard Eddison said. “It has been difficult for us and all of our customers, and most important for those individuals who were subjected to some truly awful images thanks to Mr. Bennett’s antics. For a professional service business to act in this way is beyond contempt and does little to challenge any pre-conceived ideas members of the public may have about our profession.

“We have sought to rise above that by running a truly professional business and offer excellent service to buyers and sellers alike,” he added. “It’s just a shame Mr. Bennett didn’t chose to operate with the same values.”

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