LCF Law burns rubber for global tyre giant

Published: 28th August, 2014

LCF Law has successfully recovered a web domain on behalf of Taiwanese tyre giant Nankang, in a case that should act as a warning to brands that allow third parties to use their trademarks and other intellectual property.

A former UK distributor for Nankang had previously registered www.nankangtyres.co.uk but after the firm’s contract with the global tyre manufacturer ended, the company continued using the domain to promote tyres from other well-known brands.

Nankang appointed LCF Law to provide advice and recover the domain. James Sarjantson, Commercial and IP Partner at LCF Law, explains: “With disputes and cyber-squatting cases involving a UK domain, it is possible to recover the domain through an arbitration procedure known as the Dispute Resolution Service, which is overseen by the UK’s internet naming authority Nominet.

“However, contrary to popular belief, Nominet’s decisions don’t always favour brand owners and this case was complicated because the owner of the domain had bought it with Nankang’s permission. As a result, rather than using the Dispute Resolution Service, we decided to negotiate with the owner and were able to reach a timely and amicable agreement and recover the domain on behalf of Nankang.”

James adds: “We are seeing a big increase in this type of work, particularly internationally, relating to the protection of intellectual property. Our advice to brands and businesses that give distributors and resellers permission to use trademarks and domain names, is always to be proactive rather than reactive and to have agreements in place so they can protect and recover their intellectual property at the end of the relationship.”

James Sarjantson is a partner and advises across the full range of IP rights (patents, trade marks, design rights, copyright, and related rights), and has particular expertise in relation to IT contracts, franchising, business process outsourcing. Contact James on 0113 201 0401.