British writer wins domain squatting ruling

Cybersquatter is ordered to hand over '' domain name

A British cybersquatter was ordered by International domain name body ICANN to hand over domain names to author Jeanette Winterson, Thursday.

Winterson lodged a complaint against Cambridge academic Mark Hogarth after he registered, .org and .net. Hogarth has also registered domain names of UK authors Joanna Trollope, Julian Barnes and Sebastian Faulks.

ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) has ruled that Winterson's name constitutes a trademark and ordered that the domain names be handed over to the author within 10 days.

A spokesman at Winterson's publishing firm Johnathan Cape maintains that the domain name is vital to the her capacity to work. "Her name is her trademark and it is how she does business," he says. "Obviously we're delighted for her."

Robin Bynoe, partner with law firm Charles Russell, believes that this is a growing area of concern for ICANN but doubts if all disputes can be solved as easily. "I would be very surprised if ICANN's rules were able to deal with the complexities of trademark law," he says.

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