The UK government has refused to back down to the owners of ISP UK Online who have accused it of stealing the provider's name for use in an e-government initiative.
E-minister Patricia Hewitt last month announced plans to launch a portal for the government's online services, called UK Online - the same name as the five-year-old service provider.
Easynet Group, which operates the ISP, met with government officials last Thursday to discuss the problem. The government refused to change the name of the service, but agreed to change the logo to make it less like the ISP's logo.
A Cabinet Office spokeswoman said the meeting with Easynet "was very productive" and that the two would work together to prevent any confusion.
Grahame Davies, managing director of Easynet, said the meeting was both encouraging and interesting, and that the ISP was able to express concerns over the potential confusion the similar names could cause.
"It isn't possible to trademark the names UK and Online, so the government can continue to use the name for its service. But we are confident after the meeting that appropriate action will be taken and the government will try to help minimise any confusion," he said.
Davies said he was as yet unable to detail what measures would be put in place to avoid confusion, but did confirm that the government had revised its logo. "The logo is still similar, but with important differences to ours," he said.
The government announced last week that it has awarded BT the contract to develop the UK Online portal. The service will enable people to customise the home page to create direct links to the government services they frequently use such as car tax or TV licence renewal.
A test service will be developed by July 2000 and a fully operational service will run from the summer of 2001.
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