Mr University pours scorn on 'nobby' Oxford

April 7, 2000

A Queensland inventor has changed his name by deed poll to Oxford University in an attempt to prove he has the right to keep the domain name www.oxford-university.com.

Mr University, who answers the telephone as Oxford and has dyed-red, spiked hair, was formerly known as Doc Seagle.

His oxford-university home page on the web begins with an "eye test" chart, which from a distance reads: "No sex causes bad eyes".

The text continues: "Well, masters, scholars and solicitors at pseudo venerable british institute - you just ain't seeing it, are you... Due to arrogance, failure to communicate effectively, threats, and basic ignorance of the way the internet works, the british nobby (sic) institute and its cohorts thoroughly deserves (sic) a good dose of scorn."

Viewers can then click on any one of a dozen boxes ranging from hisstory (sic), legal studies, German students, courses and fees and "OxNews.com". But in most cases the titles are all that are there.

Mr University has registered several hundred domain names in the past three years and is also involved in a legal wrangle with the Harvey Norman chain store to keep that name. He told journalists last week he would change his name to Harvey Norman if necessary. He said no business should assume it had the right to a trademark as a global domain name.

Individuals involved in "cybersquatting" usually hope to sell the names back to the person or organisation that has, or operates under, that title. Mr University has so far sold one of his names, iluka.com to a Western Australian mining company for $6,000. The company wanted to change its name to Iluka Resources, Iluka being a town in the outback of the state.

Last October, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers adopted a dispute-resolution policy that provides mandatory administrative proceedings for resolving cybersquatting disputes in the .com, .net and .org domains. The United Nation's World Intellectual Property Organisation then established a "panel of neutrals" to preside over cybersquatting disputes.

The first decision concerned the World Wrestling Federation and was handed down in January. The third, and the first involving an Australian organisation, was resolved in February, when

Melbourne University academic Andrew Christie, a member of

the Wipo panel, found that a man calling himself Nuclear Marshmallows had registered the domain name Telstra.org in "bad faith".

Phillip Hourigan, a legal expert on cybersquatting, said Mr University would probably lose a dispute with Oxford University over registration of the domain name because he had registered oxford-university.com without rights.

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