The New York Times published Monday an in-depth look at the case of Apple vs. Benjamin Cohen over the domain iTunes.co.uk. On March 15th, 2005, Mr. Cohen was ordered by Britainis domain regulatory body, Nominet, to give up the domain to Apple, and was named a "cybersquatter" in the process. On March 28th, Mr. Cohen announced he would appeal the decision, and the New York Timesi coverage offers interviews and excerpts from Nominetis report.
At issue is the fate of iTunes.co.uk, the domain that UK subjects would normally expect to visit for a site like Appleis iTunes. The problems arose when Apple failed to register the domain after releasing the iTunes jukebox, providing Mr. Cohen with the opportunity to do so.
According to the Timesi report, the reason Mr. Cohen was ordered to turn the domain over to Apple hinged upon what the 22 year-old entrepreneur did with it after he registered. Though he had argued that his timing was coincidental, and that he didnit know about Appleis iTunes when he registered the domain in December of 2000, Nominet found that he engaged in abusive behavior after he secured it.
Specifically, he was found to have offered Napster the domain, at a profit, and redirected incidental traffic he received to Napster.com to test the waters. Attempting to leverage a trademarked domain for profit is the very essence of cybersquatting.
"Whether or not Mr. Cohen registered this domain before he knew about Appleis application for a trademark is irrelevant, because that was not the basis of Appleis complaint nor the basis on which the expert came to her decision," Edward Philips, a lawyer for Nominet, told the New York Times. "I know that Mr. Cohen is keen to present this as a David-and-Goliath situation, but that simply isnit the case."
There is much more information in the full article.