Barclays bank has come down hard on a Westcountry businessman whose internet domain name is said to have led to confusion among the financial giant’s customers.
Graham Kenny, of St Pauls Road, Torquay, invited the bank’s wrath when he registered the domain name barclays-ppi-reclaim.co.uk in a bid to attract disgruntled customers considering making a claim for payment protection insurance mis-selling against Barclays.
However, he has now been ordered to hand over the domain name to Barclays Plc. after the 300-year-old bank argued that internet surfers had been confused into thinking that Mr Kenny’s website is in some way officially connected to the bank.
Mr Kenny argued that he was in no way competing with Barclays, that there was no evidence of customer confusion and that he had no designs on the bank’s goodwill. He claimed Barclays had only challenged his domain name to reduce the prospects of genuine mis-selling claims being made against it.
However, James Bridgeman, an independent expert appointed to rule on the case by Nominet – the body that supervises the registration of internet domain names in the UK – has now ruled in Barclays’ favour and ordered Mr Kenny to part with his domain name.
Accusing Mr Kenny of engaging in a “pattern of conduct” to take advantage of third-party trademarks for his own benefit, Barclays said that it had identified 20 domain names registered to him which included the names of well-known financial institutions, including “natwest” and “lloyds”.
Mr Kenny had acknowledged that he registered the domain name with the specific intention of attracting Barclays customers.
Mr Bridgeman said it was probable that a significant number of internet surfers had been confused into believing his was an official Barclays site.
He concluded that the domain name was an “abusive registration” in Mr Kenny’s hands and ordered him to transfer it to Barclays “forthwith”.