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Harrods wins domain name dispute

 04 Jul 2001

The UK department store Harrods has successfully won the rights to use over 60 internet addresses incorporating the name “Harrods”. The domain names had been registered by Harrods (Buenos Aires) Ltd, which formerly operated an official Harrods store in Argentina on behalf of the UK enterprise.

According to a case report by Newsbytes, the Argentinean Harrods store opened in 1912. In 1960, Harrods in the UK “disassociated” itself from the store in Argentina, although the name was used for the store until 1995. Thereafter, the Argentinean company registered the disputed “Harrods” domain names.

The Buenos Aires venture argued that it had continued to carry out various business transactions, which were unconnected to the running of department stores, using the “Harrods” name. In the domain name action in a US district court, it argued that these activities legitimised its registration of addresses including “harrodsbanking.com” and “harrodsbank.com”.

The court dismissed this argument, ruling that the registrations had been made in bad faith and were confusingly similar to the Harrods’ department store trade mark.