Who's suing who

A LEGAL war has broken out over the ownership of English football on the Internet.

Even the Internet "domain" name of the national side, "englandfc.co.uk," is under dispute, in a case which could cost leading clubs huge amounts of money.

The Football Association and 17 mainly Premiership football clubs are suing a one-man firm which has registered their names on the Internet and is seeking to sell the names back to them for hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Domain names such as "arsenal.co.uk," "newcstleutd. co.uk" and "tottenhamhotspurfc.co.uk" have been registered at pounds 120 a go by Champion Press, a firm based in Sidcup, Kent, and its proprietor Brian Pead.

Mr Pead remained defiant yesterday, despite having received a writ from the FA and 17 clubs last Tuesday.He said: "We legally own these domains outright. That is not in dispute."

A spokesman for the FA said last night: "It certainly is in dispute as far as we're concerned."

The FA decided to co-ordinate a legal action after hearing about Mr Pead's contact with Sheffield Wednesday last October. According to Tuesday's writ, Mr Pead wrote to the club saying: "However, we are prepared to sell the (sheffieldwednesday.co.uk) website for the sum of pounds 95,000."

Considering that registration of the name with UK internet firm Nominet had cost Mr Pead just pounds 120, the FA's writ added: "The price asked by the defendants therefore involved a mark-up of approximately 79,000 per cent." The FA's writ claims that "the defendants have obtained the ... domains in order to sell them at a grossly inflated price."

"The Defendants ... threaten and intend to hold the ... goodwill of the Plaintiffs to ransom."

Champion Press and Mr Pead "do not have any legitimate purpose for registering the ...domains", the writ says.

The FA and the clubs are applying for an injunction to stop Champion Press from "infringing the plaintiff's registered trademarks" and also to stop them "passing off or attempting to pass off ... Internet domain names not being the services of the plaintiffs."

The clubs are also asking the court for an Order that Champion Press transfers the domain names to the respective clubs" and any similar name or names which the defendants have registered or caused to be registered for use on the Internet."

The FA and the 17 clubs are using the FA's usual City law firm Denton Hall to issue the writ and fight the case.

It is understood that the FA's camp will be relying heavily on a decision give by Jonathan Sumption QC, when he was sitting as a deputy High Court judge last November.

The decision concerned the "One in a Million" case. The defendant had registered the names of various companies on the Internet, and was sued for passing off and trademark infringement. Mr Sumption QC found against the defendants and ordered that the domain names be assigned to the respective plaintiffs.

News
peoplePaper attempts to defend itself
Voices
voicesWe desperately need men to be feminists too
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

IT Project manager - Web E-commerce

£65000 Per Annum Benefits + bonus: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: If you are...

Trainee / Experienced Recruitment Consultants

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Soho

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40000: SThree: As a Recruitment Consultant, y...

Trainee Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits