Oxford University wins fight to get its name back

September 21, 2001

The Australian cybersquatter who lost his rights to the domain name www.university-of-oxford. com after a complaint by the University of Oxford remains undeterred by the ruling from the World Intellectual Property Organisation.

Wipo ruled that he must surrender his naming rights to the university, but the self-described inventor, who changed his name to Oxford University by deed poll, early last year in an attempt to prove he had the right to use the name, immediately established several other websites that included the word Oxford.

Logging on to www.university-of-oxford. com brings up the page but it immediately switches to a new site, www.university-of-oxford-press.com. Another site - one of dozens owned by the inventor - is called www.university-of-****ing-oxford.com, although the university may not seek the right to that title.

In a "stop press" on the cyber-squatter's page, a statement says: "Neo-Nazi decision of wipto (sic) will see this domain STOLEN from the itinerant poet and developer Lord Oxford and its email intercepted for the use of the british snob institute. Bad Karma guys!" A second note adds: "Oxford-University-Press.com is one of 5,000 sites defending an individuals right to speak out in his her or its own name in an equitable and free 'new world' of the World Wide Web, that the power-brokers of the industrial era wish to subvert to their own selfish wants."

Oxford's own web address is www.ox.ac.uk but it has other names, including www.oxford-university.co.uk, www.oxford-university.net, and www.oxforduniversity.net.

A university spokesman said that while it did not want an exclusive claim to the title "Oxford", it would pursue cases against anyone using the word in connection with British higher education.

A lawyer for the university argued at the Wipo hearing that the Australian cybersquatter had no legitimate case for using his chosen domain name.

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