JLS star Aston Merrygold wins battle with Finsbury park man over website
PUBLISHED: 07:00 30 October 2014
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A Finsbury Park man who collects celebrity website names for cash has been forced to hand over an address to a member of boyband JLS.
Martyn O’Brien, of Clifton Terrace, was ordered to give astonmerrygold.co.uk to the singer of the same name, free of charge, as it was an “abusive” registration.
The address was claimed the day after the group came second on TV talent show The X Factor in 2008.
It came into the hands of Mr O’Brien, along with addresses named after other JLS members Oritse Williams and Marvin Humes and MasterChef contestant Steve Barringer.
Mr Merrygold’s lawyers said his worldwidefame meant his name had the legal status of “an unregistered trade mark”.
They argued there was a threat Mr O’Brien would confuse fans and others into believing it was the singer’s webaddress, or endorsed by him.
Mr O’Brien insisted the concerns were groundless and the allegations “not true in any way”.
The singer could have registered his name as a web address before the X Factor final, but had not done so.
Mr O’Brien pointed out that Mr Merrygold “has had a very good career without the domain name”.
He said he had offered to work with Mr Merrygold and had “turned down substantial offers” to part with the web address.
Dr Clive Trotman of internet watchdog Nominet, who made the ruling, said Mr O’Brien “expects some eventual return” and had “indicated such an intention in his emails to Mr Merrygold”.
He said Mr O’Brien invested in domain names of people who “appeared promisingly on TV and whose fame might increase”.
Ordering him to give up the address, Dr Trotman concluded: “I find that Mr Merrygold has rights in respect of the name, Aston Merrygold.
“The disputed domain name, in the hands of Mr O’Brien, is an abusive registration”.