Raymond Blanc has spoken of his relief after winning a legal battle against ‘cybersquatters' who registered an unauthorised internet domain which traded on his name.
The claim arose after a company based in the Bahamas registered the domain name ‘raymondblanc.com' and used it to link to website advertisements for products that had nothing to do with the chef restaurateur.
When the site was discovered, Blanc, who established the two-Michelin starred Le Manoir Aux Quat Saisons and is the presenter of The Restaurant TV series, called in law firm Morgan Cole to wrest back control of the domain.
Morgan Cole commenced a claim at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in Geneva by demonstrating intellectual property rights in Raymond Blanc's name. The dispute was resolved within 10 weeks.
WIPO ruled that Caribbean Online International Limited was using Raymond Blanc's goodwill "to direct internet users to an unconnected commercial website for commercial gain".
Blanc said: "I am relieved that this issue is now resolved. I have worked hard to build my reputation over the years. These cybersquatters had nothing to do with me and no permission to use my name."
Stephen Schneider, a solicitor in Morgan Cole's dispute management group, added: "Applying to WIPO or to other internet dispute organisations is often quicker and cheaper than starting court proceedings. Taking swift action means that vital commercial interests can be safeguarded."
By Daniel Thomas
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