Apple has won the rights to the www.itunes.co.uk domain, despite it being registered by a UK company years before the US firm launched its music download service.
The domain was registered on 7 November 2000 by Benjamin Cohen, the chief executive of CyberBritain Holdings, long before the launch of iTunes on 9 January 2001.
Cohen offered to sell the site in October 2004, by then getting over 4,000 hits a day, to Napster, but the offer was declined. Apple offered him $5,000 for it but he asked for $50,000.
But domain registrar Nominet has ruled that the name registration was abusive and that Apple had the rights to the brand. Cohen has vowed to appeal against the decision.
During the dispute some bizarre claims were made about Apple.
"The Respondent expressly said that the Expert appointed by Nominet should not be an Apple Mac user, because in the view of the Respondent there is a 'cult' associated with the products of the Complainant, which attract fanatical users," said Claire Milne, Nominet's independent expert adjudicating the case.
"I have already confirmed my independence and impartiality for the purpose of this appointment. Nominet procedures do not let either party vet experts. However, in case either party is interested, I also confirm that I do not own or use, or plan to own or use, any of the products of the Complainant."
It has been a good week for Apple in the courts. In the US this week it won the right to identify staff who leaked new product drawings to Apple fan sites.
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