[Wolves] Off topic - travelwm

Wayne Morris wayne at machx.co.uk
Tue Jan 13 21:08:04 GMT 2004

Hi Gary


You could be about to enter the twilight zone!, I own a domain
www.bowe.com which is the trading name, and trademark of a major
international company and I have kept it at create solicitors cost and
worry over many years. At the moment the opposition seem to have gone
away, touch wood!, but it has cost me the use of one of the best
solicitors and around £5,000 in total.

There are several issues over this type of thing - the main two being
trademark infringement and passing off.

Trademark infringement is the least of your worries, it is not illegal
to use a trademark, indeed it is used to identify a product clearly as
opposed to another, so you can put a sign on your shop or on your
letterheadings with someones trademark say 'Vauxhall' if you sell
genuine 'Vauxhall' products. You get into trouble with trademark
infringement if you sell fake Vauxhall items or indeed sell Vaxhall
(sic) items and people are led to beleive they are Vauxhall parts- even
if there is a company you have formed called Vaxhall.
You could quite happily have a website called
As a result, you are unlikely to be sued for Trademark infringement or
passing off as its obv 'bob's vauxhall , not a dealer.

'Passing off' is the one where you could be in trouble.
This is when you gain any sort of advantage (monetary or otherwise) or
cause the other party disadvantage or loss (of face, money) by the use
of advertising/name of company/website name/etc which makes a third
party think that the other party is responsible for your
IE you must not allow potential users/customers of a product or service
to beleive that you are XYZ Ltd by using a name XYZ.

So a website like www.harrods.com got in trouble not because of the
trademark, but because users were likely to  believe that the contents
of the site were run by Harrods in London, and users might be persuaded
to buy products beleiving them to be supplied by Harrods.
This works for sites that slag off/lead to porn etc, because users might
think less of the company concerned losing them money.

If you are sued for passing off, the other party can claim for loss of
business if you sell similar products to them, or for damages for loss
of face caused by say linking to a porn site.
This could be very expensive in solicitor fees just to defend yourself,
and break the bank if you lose.
Most smaller companies cannot afford to chase others, but someone like
WM Travel will have in house solicitors with pots of cash to throw at
something like this.

So what do you do?

1)Run! unless you have lots of money and a love of burning it.
2)Legitimise it by making sure if it is used for travel planning, or
criticism of WMT - it has lots of disclaimers like 'this site not owned
or run or approved by WMT whose rights and trademarks are respected'
3)Be brazen and sell it to them, make out that you are penniless and
have nothing to lose by allowing them to sue you, whereas it will cost
them at least £1500 to take the first steps against you, they can have
it for £750 or whatever.
4)Reregister the ownership to a made up company name based in the

I was able to escape my opposition by using the site only to host a
family history website for people called 'Bowe' which they couldn't
argue with, so I can use it to display my wares (I sell Bowe printing
equipment), but at least I retain the domain and receive all email
addressed to @bowe.com , so customers looking for them get me anyway!

Have they written to you yet?

good luck, feel free to ask more about this - I've had a lot of
experience with it!


On Tue, 2004-01-13 at 18:35, gary at walsall.uk.com wrote:
> I have only posted a few times here, but hope that someone may be able to help.
> This may be a little different to what's normally talked about, but did anyone see the front page of the express and star yesterday, regarding travelwm not owning the .com domain and the owner of the domain redirecting it to a dating/adult site ??
> This news was also on heartfm. To update you, I own the domain in question and travelwm say they are going to be seeking legal advice regarding this.
> I have done a little research and believe that they have no right to the domain or the use of the domain unless I am infringing a registered trademark, which travel west midlands don't own. Looking at companies house, 'travelwm ltd' is a non-trading company, as they are trading as 'travel west midlands ltd'.
> Does anyone have any thoughts on whether their is any loophole in the system where they might be able to take the domain from me ??
> Any thoughts from you guys would be appreciated. Appologies, for the off topic subject :S
> thanks
> Gary
> ______________________________________________________________________
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Wayne Morris
07960 859346

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