[OT] Where to find laws on the internet? Toys R Us Trying to shut down a site

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Mark Thompson, Mar 4, 2004.

  1. Sorry for the utter and almost complete OT-ness of this post[1] but you lot are always quoting bits
    and pieces from laws. Anyone any idea if the text to the UK law relating to Trademark infringement
    and internet domin names is on the web? A website I occasionally visit is under threat of legal
    action by Toy R Us (http://www.ratzrus.co.uk/toysrus.htm), despite being non-commercial and not
    about Toy R Us at all. We don't think that the trademark laws apply to non-commercial sites but
    would like to make sure. Any other information would be helpful if you've got it to hand - I assume
    this kind of pointless bullying happens quite a lot.

    Oh, to make it a bit on topic, my rat absolutely loves sitting on the handlebars of my bike when I'm
    riding. It'll be wearing lycra next...


    [1] If you're using OE then Tool, Message Rules, News, New. Then click the box 'Where the subject
    line contains specific words'. then select 'delete it'. Click on the blue text at the bottom and
    type in [OT] (including the square brackets). You'll never see another correctly tagged off
    topic post again :)

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    Tags:


  2. Nobody760

    Nobody760 Guest

    Suggest-

    uk.legal

    may be a better place to post this question.

    Has your rat got a helmet?
     
  3. On Thu, 4 Mar 2004 13:17:51 -0000, Mark Thompson
    <[email protected] (change warm for hot)> wrote:

    > A website I occasionally visit is under threat of legal action by Toy R Us
    > (http://www.ratzrus.co.uk/toysrus.htm), despite being non-commercial and not about Toy R Us at
    > all. We don't think that the trademark laws apply to non-commercial sites but would like to
    > make sure.

    It seems a bit over the top from them but maybe they find it easier to pick on a non-commercial
    site. I notice from a quick google that there are several commerial sires using the "r-us" idea
    selling everthing from crafts to fm transmitters.

    To bring it vaguely on topic there is a Bikes R Us in London though Toys-backwardsR-Us also seem to
    use the term Bikes-backwardsR-Us for subdepartments of their stores.

    Do you know if they have taken or threatened actions against any other companies or websites and
    what the outcomes have been?

    Colin
    --
     
  4. > It seems a bit over the top from them but maybe they find it easier to pick on a non-commercial
    > site. I notice from a quick google that there are several commerial sites using the "r-us" idea
    > selling everthing from crafts to fm transmitters.
    >
    > To bring it vaguely on topic there is a Bikes R Us in London though Toys-backwardsR-Us also seem
    > to use the term Bikes-backwardsR-Us for subdepartments of their stores.

    I think the Bikes R Us is part of their little empire - they've certainly tradmarked it.

    > Do you know if they have taken or threatened actions against any other companies or websites and
    > what the outcomes have been?

    Yep, but every one I've found has been fairly unhelpful, and also American. They are still there
    tho, but I've found reports of lots of sites that have just had to close down after receiving the
    threatening letters. They can of course start up under a new name but they lose all their search
    engine rankings so no-one can find them.

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  5. James Annan

    James Annan Guest

    Mark Thompson wrote:

    >
    > They are still there tho, but I've found reports of lots of sites that have just had to close down
    > after receiving the threatening letters. They can of course start up under a new name but they
    > lose all their search engine rankings so no-one can find them.

    It seems rather unlikely to me that they could win, given how widespread the "r-us" usage is and the
    complete absence of any overlap between the nature of the sites. But that doesn't mean they could
    cause the site owners a lot of trouble and cost them time and money defending themselves...

    James
     
  6. Marc

    Marc Guest

    dirtylitterboxofferingstospammers <[email protected]> wrote:

    > nature of the sites. But that doesn't mean they could cause the site
    > >owners a lot of trouble and cost them time and money defending themselves...
    > >
    > >James
    >
    > Puts brain into gear for delving into dim recesses of long-term memory (sound of rusty cogs
    > creaking...movement starting)
    >
    > A few years ago Toys-backwardsR-Us decided to get heavy with an animal shelter (almost sure it was
    > a UK one) which had the R-Us bit in its name. It backed off in the end as it had a mass mailing
    > attack from an awful lot of animal lovers across the globe who snail-mailed, emailed, faxed and
    > phoned and told them what a bunch of silly arses they were to be picking on a small animal
    > charity, which in no way could ever be confused with the huge business that is Toys-backwardsR-Us
    > and if they didn't desist in their idiotic course of action, they'd be losing customers... lots of
    > customers. It worked.

    IME it's not normally the TM owners that are doing this , it's the lawyers ( Urghh spit!) that they
    have on a retainer. The lawyers keen to show that they are earning their pieces of silver use a
    shotgun approach , after all it's not their money they are wasting it's either the clients or the
    victims. The client might not even know what the shysters are doing until the end of the year when
    it's time to be paid for the slime used, then the shysters say "look what good boys we have been!"
    the only way to get the lawyers ( Urghh spit!) t oback off is to deal with the client.

    --
    Marc. Please note the above address is a spam trap, use marcc to reply Printing for clubs of all
    types http://www.jaceeprint.demon.co.uk Stickers, banners & clothing, for clubs,teams, magazines
    and dealers.
     
  7. Frobnitz

    Frobnitz Guest

    "Mark Thompson" <[email protected] (change warm for hot)>
    wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > We don't think that the trademark laws apply to non-commercial sites but would like to make sure.
    > Any other information
    would
    > be helpful if you've got it to hand - I assume this kind of pointless
    bullying
    > happens quite a lot.
    > >
    Write to the company and ask specifically which UK laws, and which sections are being broken. I hate
    to sound negative, but I have seen a lot of reports (primarily on The Register) which seem to
    suggest that that trademark holders are being successful in their actions (I know it's continental
    US-based, but I believe the beast of Redmond successfully browbeat someone who had mike-rowesoft.com
    into handing over the domain [for an undisclosed sum]). Companies (okay, to my certain knowledge I
    can only point at ICI and Shell) employ people who have the sole task of examining the various
    media, whether print, broadcast, network or whatever for any use or abuse of any of their
    trademarks, and then to jump, both heavily and heavyhandedly, on any infringement. Google have
    apparently formally requested that dictionaries do not have the verb "to google" included - they
    don't want to be hoovered up by the opposition.

    url:http://www.cla.org/RuhBook/chp3.htm may have some more information, and may give hope, but
    IANAL........

    E
     
  8. In article <[email protected]>, Mark Thompson wrote:
    >Sorry for the utter and almost complete OT-ness of this post[1] but you lot are always quoting bits
    >and pieces from laws. Anyone any idea if the text to the UK law relating to Trademark infringement
    >and internet domin names is on the web?

    http://www.patent.gov.uk/tm/legal/index.htm looks like a good starting point. Of course it's
    possible you'll need a lawyer to tell what it actually means.
     
  9. Thomas

    Thomas Guest

    > Sorry for the utter and almost complete OT-ness of this post[1] but you
    lot are
    > always quoting bits and pieces from laws. Anyone any idea if the text to
    the UK
    > law relating to Trademark infringement and internet domin names is on the
    web?
    > A website I occasionally visit is under threat of legal action by Toy R Us
    > (http://www.ratzrus.co.uk/toysrus.htm), despite being non-commercial and
    not
    > about Toy R Us at all. We don't think that the trademark laws apply to non-commercial sites but
    > would like to make sure. Any other information
    would
    > be helpful if you've got it to hand - I assume this kind of pointless
    bullying
    > happens quite a lot.

    Hi Mark,

    About this time last year, I received my first nasty "We're going to take your right leg and your
    firstborn" letter from [former computer games giant, now publisher].

    First of all, it's extremely unlikely that any proper legal action will come against you - you're
    not going to end up in court. What do you stand to lose, however, is the domain. I would advise
    reading up on Nominet's T&Cs for domain registeration and their dispute resolution service. Lots of
    past case rulings to read up on.

    I ended up having a bit of fun with my case, despite nasty lawyer tricks. If you want to keep the
    domain, I cannot emphasise enough that you watch what you write to them and have a friend check
    through every piece of correspondance twice. If you'd like any further advice, feel free to mail me
    at tom [at] moo moo moo dot com.

    Tom, definately not a lawyer, but the boy done good.
     
  10. Danny Colyer

    Danny Colyer Guest

    url:http://www.legislation.hmso.gov.uk/acts.htm has all acts of the UK Parliament since 1988, though
    this may only be useful if you have a good idea of what you're looking for (I usually know exactly
    what I'm looking for, because the HC refers to specific acts).

    --
    Danny Colyer (the UK company has been laughed out of my reply address)
    http://www.speedy5.freeserve.co.uk/danny/
    "He who dares not offend cannot be honest." - Thomas Paine
     
  11. Frobnitz wrote:

    > Companies (okay, to my certain knowledge I can only point at ICI and Shell) employ people who have
    > the sole task of examining the various media, whether print, broadcast, network or whatever for
    > any use or abuse of any of their trademarks, and then to jump, both heavily and heavyhandedly, on
    > any infringement.

    Portakabin have one, too. He's a running joke in Private Eye.

    --
    Keith Willoughby http://flat222.org/keith/ You can't eat information
     
  12. Tim Woodall

    Tim Woodall Guest

    On Thu, 4 Mar 2004 15:22:55 -0000,
    Frobnitz <[email protected]> wrote:
    > "Mark Thompson" <[email protected] (change warm for hot)> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    >> We don't think that the trademark laws apply to non-commercial sites but would like to make
    >> sure. Any other information
    > would
    >> be helpful if you've got it to hand - I assume this kind of pointless
    > bullying
    >> happens quite a lot.
    >> >
    > Write to the company and ask specifically which UK laws, and which sections are being broken. I
    > hate to sound negative, but I have seen a lot of

    Be very careful writing to the company. Make sure a lawyer looks the letter over before you send it.

    Tim.

    --
    God said, "div D = rho, div B = 0, curl E = - @B/@t, curl H = J + @D/@t," and there was light.

    http://tjw.hn.org/ http://www.locofungus.btinternet.co.uk/
     
  13. Gawnsoft

    Gawnsoft Guest

    On Thu, 4 Mar 2004 14:52:35 +0000, [email protected] (marc)
    wrote (more or less):

    >dirtylitterboxofferingstospammers <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    >> nature of the sites. But that doesn't mean they could cause the site
    >> >owners a lot of trouble and cost them time and money defending themselves...
    >> >
    >> >James
    >>
    >> Puts brain into gear for delving into dim recesses of long-term memory (sound of rusty cogs
    >> creaking...movement starting)
    >>
    >> A few years ago Toys-backwardsR-Us decided to get heavy with an animal shelter (almost sure it
    >> was a UK one) which had the R-Us bit in its name. It backed off in the end as it had a mass
    >> mailing attack from an awful lot of animal lovers across the globe who snail-mailed, emailed,
    >> faxed and phoned and told them what a bunch of silly arses they were to be picking on a small
    >> animal charity, which in no way could ever be confused with the huge business that is Toys-backwardsR-
    >> Us and if they didn't desist in their idiotic course of action, they'd be losing customers...
    >> lots of customers. It worked.
    >
    >
    >IME it's not normally the TM owners that are doing this , it's the lawyers ( Urghh spit!) that they
    >have on a retainer. The lawyers keen to show that they are earning their pieces of silver use a
    >shotgun approach , after all it's not their money they are wasting it's either the clients or the
    >victims. The client might not even know what the shysters are doing until the end of the year when
    >it's time to be paid for the slime used, then the shysters say "look what good boys we have been!"
    >the only way to get the lawyers ( Urghh spit!) t oback off is to deal with the client.

    It's also the fact that they must activelt protect their claim to the trademark, or it loses the
    protection it affords.

    Cheers, Euan Gawnsoft: http://www.gawnsoft.co.sr Symbian/Epoc wiki: http://html.dnsalias.net:1122
    Smalltalk links (harvested from comp.lang.smalltalk) http://html.dnsalias.net/gawnsoft/smalltalk
     
  14. Gareth Rees

    Gareth Rees Guest

    Mark Thompson wrote:
    > Anyone any idea if the text to the UK law relating to Trademark infringement and internet domin
    > names is on the web?

    The UK legislation is the Trade Marks Act 1994:
    http://www.legislation.hmso.gov.uk/acts/acts1994/Ukpga_19940026_en_1.htm

    > A website I occasionally visit is under threat of legal action by Toy R Us
    > (http://www.ratzrus.co.uk/toysrus.htm)

    Domain names under .uk are administered by Nominet http://www.nic.uk/. They have a dispute
    resolution procedure which would be worth trying before going to court:
    http://www.nic.uk/DisputeResolution/AboutTheDrs/

    > despite being non-commercial and not about Toy R Us at all. We don't think that the trademark laws
    > apply to non-commercial sites but would like to make sure.

    See section 10 of the Trade Marks Act:
    http://www.legislation.hmso.gov.uk/acts/acts1994/Ukpga_19940026_en_2.htm#mdiv10

    You seem to be right: actions are infringements only if made in the course of trade.

    Weblaw's article http://www.weblaw.co.uk/art_domain.htm also suggests that Toys R Us would lose --
    ratzrus.co.uk is being operated in good faith.

    So probably Toys R Us are just trying it on. They know there's a good chance that the ratzrus.co.uk
    owner will give in without too much of a fight.

    --
    Gareth Rees
     
  15. James Hodson

    James Hodson Guest

    On Thu, 4 Mar 2004 13:17:51 -0000, "Mark Thompson"
    <[email protected] (change warm for hot)> wrote:

    >Sorry for the utter and almost complete OT-ness of this post[1] but you lot are always quoting bits
    >and pieces from laws. Anyone any idea if the text to the UK law relating to Trademark infringement
    >and internet domin names is on the web? A website I occasionally visit is under threat of legal
    >action by Toy R Us (http://www.ratzrus.co.uk/toysrus.htm), despite being non-commercial and not
    >about Toy R Us at all. We don't think that the trademark laws apply to non-commercial sites but
    >would like to make sure. Any other information would be helpful if you've got it to hand - I assume
    >this kind of pointless bullying happens quite a lot.
    >

    Hi Mark

    IANAL. However, I do seem to recall a case from several years ago whereby Levi tried to prevent a
    cricket bat manufaturer (possibly Grace Nicholls) using the numbers 501 on one of their products.

    The West Indies test star Brian Lara, in scoring 501 runs, had beaten some record or other and his
    bat makers had chosen to put those figures on a model of bat in his honour.

    IIRC, the court stated that one could not patent or copyright a number. Essentially, Levis were
    given the rights to use 501 on denims, but solely on denims, and the bat makers were allowed use
    those same numbers, but only on bats.

    I'd guess the same applies to back-to-front Rs. Who knows?

    James
     
  16. Frobnitz

    Frobnitz Guest

    "James Hodson" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > IIRC, the court stated that one could not patent or copyright a number.

    Hence why Intel broke the 286-386-486 sequence as an even further lurch [OT]

    E
     
  17. Gawnsoft

    Gawnsoft Guest

    On Fri, 5 Mar 2004 18:53:13 -0000, "Frobnitz"
    <[email protected]@@blueyonder.ocbackwards.uk> wrote (more or less):

    >
    >"James Hodson" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    >> IIRC, the court stated that one could not patent or copyright a number.
    >
    >Hence why Intel broke the 286-386-486 sequence as an even further lurch [OT]

    You can't /trademark/ a number. Which is, indeed, why Intel went to 'Pentium' Cheers, Euan Gawnsoft:
    http://www.gawnsoft.co.sr Symbian/Epoc wiki: http://html.dnsalias.net:1122 Smalltalk links
    (harvested from comp.lang.smalltalk) http://html.dnsalias.net/gawnsoft/smalltalk
     
  18. Frobnitz

    Frobnitz Guest

    "Gawnsoft" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > You can't /trademark/ a number. Which is, indeed, why Intel went to 'Pentium'

    Good point. ISC.

    E
     
  19. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On Fri, 05 Mar 2004 18:45:12 +0000, James Hodson
    <jUN[email protected]> wrote in message
    <[email protected]>:

    >the court stated that one could not patent or copyright a number.

    Try calling your new model of car a "325" and see what happens.

    --
    Guy
    ===
    May contain traces of irony. Contents liable to settle after posting.
    http://chapmancentral.demon.co.uk

    88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at Washington University
     
  20. Danny Colyer

    Danny Colyer Guest

    Just zis Guy, you know? suggested:
    > Try calling your new model of car a "325" and see what happens.

    I like the idea of calling it a "C5", then see how much people laugh.

    --
    Danny Colyer (the UK company has been laughed out of my reply address)
    http://www.speedy5.freeserve.co.uk/danny/
    "He who dares not offend cannot be honest." - Thomas Paine
     
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