Apple wins iTunes cybersquatting battle

Registrar sides with Apple in domain dispute, forcing U.K. company to hand over iTunes.co.uk Web address.

Apple Computer has won a legal dispute to force a U.K. company it accused of cybersquatting to hand over the domain ownership for the iTunes.co.uk Web address.

Apple issued proceedings against CyberBritain in December of last year through domain registrar Nominet UK, claiming that ownership of the domain should be transferred to Apple because it holds the iTunes trademark.

CyberBritain CEO Benjamin Cohen accused Apple of bullying tactics and said he had registered the iTunes.co.uk domain a month before Apple's trademark application was published, back in December 2000, and some three years before its online music download service launched.

Cohen maintains that his motives for registering the domain were innocent and that he turned down a cash offer from Apple for the domain, as it could have been interpreted as intent to profit from Apple's trademark.

But the Nominet dispute resolution service has ruled in favor of Apple, ordering CyberBritain to hand over the iTunes.co.uk domain.

Cohen said he is currently considering his next move, which may be an appeal either directly to Nominet or to Britain's High Court. Until the appeal, Cohen said he will continue to use the domain as a redirect to his own company's shopping Web site.

Andy McCue of Silicon.com reported from London.

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