A Bournemouth-based software company has won its spat with the Financial Services Authority and reta...
A Bournemouth-based software company has won its spat with the Financial Services Authority and retained the right to use the FSA.co.uk domain name.
Nominet - the internet adjudicator which was forced to step in and settle the matter after the FSA threatened legal action against Findlay Steele - has ruled in favour of the existing owners on the basis that the FSA had not raised the issue as grounds for "consumer confusion" until emails from its own lawyers were sent to Findlay Steele by mistake.
The row between the FSA and Findlay Steele Associates broke out several months ago after it was discovered confidential financial information was accidentally being sent to FSA.co.uk rather than FSA.gov.uk..
Although Findlay Steele registered the FSA address four years ago by the FSA was even announced, the FSA responded to the said errors by stressing the ownership of the web address should belong to the financial services regulator "in the interests of consumer confusion".
A series of informal approaches began as well as, according to Findlay Steele, legal threats to gain control of the domain, however, the internet adjudicator, Nominet has now ruled in Findlay Steele's favour to continue using the domain name in the hope it will end the matter.
In its adjudication, Nominet said: "we note that the complainant (the Financial Services Authority) has intimated that it may issue legal proceedings in respect of the Domain Name. Nominet also notes that in spite of a lapse of approximately four years since the registration was made, the complainant has not so far issued legal proceedings."
Findlay Steele has hailed its win as a victory for the small companies who might revoke their right to use a domain name simply because they feel they are being bullied into action by a bigger company.
Elaine Findlay, managing director, Findlay Steele Associates says: "They've tried to use bully-boy tactics against us and failed. We could never have been cybersquatters or carpet-baggers, we registered the domain name before the Authority was even announced.
"This case has dragged on since January and the Authority have threatened me with potential legal bills that I could never afford.
"I'm just glad it's all over, so I can get back to running my business without these constant threats hanging over me."
FSA response to follow…
An ambitious objective
'Something completely new'
'Illusion of control'
Reasons to be cheerful
Total investment reaches £9m