UK domain registrar Nominet has issued proceedings for an interim injunction for trademark infringement and passing off against Domain Registrar Services (DRS), Scott Denny of DRS, and UK-names.
Nominet told vnunet.com that it had received complaints about the sales tactics employed by DRS. It is believed that the UK-names cited in the legal action is a related company to DRS.
If Nominet wins the case, it wants any items, products or materials regarding the trademark infringement to be delivered up or destroyed.
It is also demanding the names and addresses of the companies to which DRS offered its services, and that it gets back costs incurred in the case.
Nominet also wants guarantees that will stop DRS, UK-names (which operates the uk-names.biz website and has no links to similarly named companies) and Scott Denny infringing its trademark and passing off in the future.
The registry plans to ask its membership to expel the company if the court case is successful.
"We are taking a strong line and have had quite a few people telling us they are glad that Nominet is using proceedings against DRS," said Lesley Cowley, managing director of Nominet.
Nominet explained that DRS would be the first to be voted out under this process, should members take that action. "The basis of removal still rests with a vote from the membership," Cowley added.
DRS and Scott Denny were contacted for commented, but neither returned the call.
Earlier this month, Nominet took the unprecedented step of posting an alert on its website warning about DRS and its sales techniques.
In it, the registrar warned: "Nominet would like to make it clear that we in no way endorse the business practices or sales tactics of [DRS].
"We are very concerned that some people have been confused or troubled by the wording and tone of correspondence used by this company.
"Nominet is a private company limited by guarantee. We therefore have members, not shareholders. DRS is a member of Nominet UK, but is not permitted to act on our behalf in any way."
Over the course of several months, vnunet.com and its sister title Network News also received complaints alleging that domain name sellers were using aggressive sales tactics to push companies into buying extra versions of their online address. DRS was the main company cited.
Many readers said that DRS told them that a "mystery shopper" was about to buy their internet names. Often they claimed that DRS said that the "buyer" was a competitor, an angry ex-employee or linked to porn.
But firms that turned down the offer typically found that the addresses were still available weeks later.
These complaints were passed to the Office of Fair Trading in October, which is considering launching an investigation.
The court hearing takes place on 29 November at the Chancery Division of the High Court.
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