Playboy Feuding Over .London Domain

Nov 4, 2014 8:00 AM PST

LONDON — Playboy is feuding with a U.K. real estate developer over Playboy.london.

According to reports, Michael Ross, who is the director of London-based realty firm CNM Estates, grabbed the gTLD when the .london domain came available in 2013.

But now Playboy lawyers fired off a letter to Ross claiming it infringes on its trademark and are threatening legal action if he doesn’t hand over the domain to the iconic brand.

But the deadline to surrender the domain has passed and the land mogul is ready for a fight. He said he is a “London-based playboy with every right to use the domain.”

"It is a bloody arrogant approach to make. They say that I am 'diluting the value of their brand.’ That is personally insulting — I am improving it," Ross said.

He added, "Playboy is a word in the dictionary. If it was protected I would not have been able to register it. I am not going to go off and pretend I am Hugh Hefner or own the Playboy Club. I just like the sound of it and was amazed when I got it allocated to me. I thought anything that was properly corporately branded would be protected."

The businessman — who snagged the doman after secuing suffixes for his other properties —  also said he’s hoping to keep the domain for his unborn son. "My wife is pregnant and I am hoping for a boy. If he is anything like I was in 18 years' time I am keeping the domain for him so he can be London's newest playboy."

According to the Evening Standard, more than 48,000 businesses, brands, charities, sport teams and other bodies have already signed up to register the .london domain.

And Alex Kinchin-Smith, director of Dot London, said trademark and rights holders were given a three-month priority period to secure their names earlier this year. He noted that ICANN, the Internet regulatory body, has clear methods of resolving such disputes.

A Playboy spokesman said, “While we will not comment on this specific action, Playboy actively enforces rights to protect its valuable brands.”

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