Domain claims

Q: We have tried to register a web address in the name of our company,

but have found it is already taken. However, the individual is not using

it and has subsequently offered to sell it to us. What can we do?

A: It depends on what sort of claim the other party can show. They may

be trying to make money or may not have managed to develop the site and

are looking to recoup their expenses.

If a large sum has been mentioned a court would most likely view this as

a cyber-squatting case, in which case you could threaten litigation.

There is a favourable precedent from 1997, when two individuals tried to

extort amounts of up to pounds 25,000 from household brand names such as

Burger King, BT and Marks & Spencer. They were forced by a judge to

surrender their claims to the domain names.

For help with a '' name you can approach Nominet, the UK national

domain names register, which has a free advisory service


It has no powers in this regard, but can often persuade cyber-squatters

to voluntarily give up the name.

If you need someone to help identify the owner of the name and determine

their intentions, Carratu carries out investigation services for pounds


If it subsequently manages to procure the name it charges pounds 1000

plus the fee payable to the individual. Call 020 8643 8000;

With '.com' and '.org' names, get in touch with the World Intellectual

Property Organisation (WIPO). This has an arbitration and mediation

centre that will decide whether the registration is legitimate or


This body does have authority to act: in the past 18 months it has

resolved 1000 cases, deciding on a transfer to the plaintiff in eight

out of ten cases. You will need to establish your claim. For instance,

it decided in favour of Madonna but against Sting, whose name it said

was a generic word that anyone was entitled to.

The service costs dollars 1500 (pounds 1060) plus legal expenses. Thee

web site is

Radio advice

Q: We are planning a radio ad but don't want to waste our money. Is

there a company that can provide basic information about which

commercial stations give the best results?

A: Commercial radio is represented by the Radio Advertising Bureau

(RAB), which offers free advice to advertisers. It can tell you whether

your idea has been done before and help with campaign strategy.

Its web site has nearly 200 case studies that provides tips about what

other companies are doing on radio, and how well the medium is working

for them.

These include examples from big corporations such as Barclays, Tesco and

BT, drinks brands Jack Daniels and Famous Grouse, and new product

launches by Cadbury and Kellogg. Radio campaigns by internet sites such

as Lastminute, eBookers and SharePeople are also described.

The site contains full listings of commercial radio stations with

contact details and location maps. It also offers presentations on radio

strategies, guidelines for specific sectors, such as e-commerce and

FMCG, and background about the development of radio as an advertising


Call 020 7306 2500; The direct line for consultancy is

020 7306 2583; look on the site under 'information' for contact details

of other departments.

Let it snow

Q: Is there a company that can supply real snow for an outdoor


A: Snow can be manufactured from liquid nitrogen, and works quite well,

although it is expensive. Creative Leisure Associates quotes about

pounds 5000 for ten tons, which it says is probably the minimum you need

for most purposes.

UPS used snow for an outdoor attraction in Covent Garden aimed at

drawing attention to its sponsorship of the last Winter Olympics. The

National Maritime Museum in Greenwich recently used snow when it staged

an exhibition about south polar exploration, as does The Daily Mail for

its annual Ski & Snowboard Show.

If you only need it for decorative purposes a cheaper alternative is

fake snow, which works out at about pounds 1000-pounds 2000. Call 0121

236 0690;


E-mail enquiries should be sent to


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