Facebook fights Bognor man in domain name row

Facebook has taken action against a Bognor man who it believes has registered the web domain thefacebook.co.uk.

Friday, 22nd April 2016, 7:10 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 6:38 pm
Website giant Facebook is in a row with a Bognor man

The social network giant instructed its legal team after finding out the potentially extremely valuable domain had been registered in Steven Cameron’s name in January last year.

Facebook, which has more than a billion users worldwide and had revenues of $12.5 billion in 2015, accused Mr Cameron, whose address has been given as Bognor Regis campus, of ‘taking unfair advantage’ of its reputation.

Mr Cameron refuted the claims, stating he had ‘at no point purchased’ the web address and had not done anything with it.

And he offered to hand it over shortly after Facebook complained to internet watchdog, Nominet.

But Facebook said it had been “put to considerable inconvenience and expense” and would not let Mr Cameron off the hook.

According to the social networking site, the Bognor resident had not responded to three of its emails and Facebook said it had been left with “no choice” but to lodge a formal complaint.

Facebook refused to settle its differences with Mr Cameron, instead demanding a ‘full decision’ from Nominet.

The California-based giant said the domain name created ‘a likelihood of confusion’ and drew traffic away from Facebook to a ‘non-active website’.

Despite Mr Cameron’s protestations that he had not purchased the web address, Nominet expert, Patricia Jones, said he had ‘registered or otherwise acquired it’.

She added that Facebook is an ‘extremely well known’ trademark in the UK, where the network has more than 37 million active users.

“I consider it inconceivable that Mr Cameron was unaware of Facebook at the time of registration or acquisition of the domain name.”

And he had ‘chosen not to give any explanation’ of how he came to acquire or register it, she said.

The expert ruled: “I consider that he had Facebook firmly in mind when he registered or otherwise acquired the domain name.”

She concluded that the domain name was ‘an abusive registration’ in Mr Cameron’s hands and directed its transfer to Facebook Inc.