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Surrey man ordered to hand over ‘sidleylawyers’ domain name to Sidley Austin

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Anil Mannick wanted US law firm to pay him £2,400 for web address

US law firm Sidley Austin has added another glittering triumph to its panoply of litigation victories, successfully taking action against a Surrey man over the website name sidleylawyers.co.uk.

Anil Mannick tried to sell the domain name to the firm for a cool three grand, but has been thwarted by an internet regulator with the power to prevent “abusive registration”.

An independent expert appointed to decide the firm’s complaint dismissed Mannick’s claim to be holding the domain name for a rookie lawyer friend called Sidley.

Sidley Austin has over 100 lawyers in the UK, where it has had a presence since 1974. It has trademarked the word ‘SIDLEY’ and owns a lot of relevant domain names — such as sidley.co.uk — which redirect to its website at sidley.com.

When Mannick got his hands on sidleylawyers.co.uk, the Yanks complained. They argued that punters would assume sidleylawyers.co.uk was a Sidley Austin website as it’s “virtually identical to the ‘SIDLEY’ name and [trade]mark”.

Sticking the word “lawyers” in there only made such confusion more likely, given that Sidley Austin are lawyers.

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For his part, Mannick claimed that he’d never even heard of Sidley Austin and wasn’t cybersquatting. The Surrey man said that he’d only registered sidleylawyers.co.uk to reserve it for a friend of his with the “very popular” surname of Sidley, who was training to become a lawyer.

That claim was somewhat undermined by the fact that, as soon as Sidley Austin complained about sidleylawyers.co.uk, Mannick offered to sell it and a similar domain name to them for $3,000 (£2,400).

The independent expert found that this was “wholly inconsistent” with someone who had innocently registered a website name for a mate called Sidley. He added that it was “inconceivable” that someone deciding on a domain name for a lawyer called Sidley wouldn’t have came across Sidley Austin.

There was also “no evidence” that Mannick knew anyone called Sidley.

Mannick was therefore found to have engaged in “abusive registration”, defined as one that “took unfair advantage of or was unfairly detrimental to the complainant’s Rights”. The independent expert ordered him to hand over the domain name — although at time of writing it’s still a dead link.

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17 Comments

Showround @ Bakers

Coronavirus has hit Sidley’s workstreams so hard they’ve resorted to bullying the little man and bringing litigation of their own to keep the fee earners busy. Now beginning to understand why many in this community now call it a glorified CMS (although I wouldn’t use such a term myself)

White shoe

Bro their NQ is 135k, dont compare it to shitty CMS, BAKERS

Lmaobantah

You high bruv? Sidley Austin a glorified CMS?

Showround @ Bakers

You’re clearly the high one, ruffian. I am merely stating what some in this community say about Sidley – that it is a glorified CMS. I would not refer to Sidley as a glorified CMS.

Glorified CMS.

Does anyone even enter an email?

Doesn’t mean it’s a terrible firm but you cannot say that Sidley has the same reputation and deal power in London as Kirkland, Latham, Weil and Skadden. Get outta here

Anon

Also Sidley in London are based in that God awful new building known as the “can of ham”. I feel bad for those in Kirkland opposite having to look at that thing

Anon

Just 5 years ago Sidley’s NQ pay was £67k. They’ve doubled in 5 years to match the other US players, but in reality they are nowhere near

US Associate

Personally I think Sidley is quite underrated, makes lots of moves in the City. Very good NQ and earnings as of 2019.

To compare it to CMS is frankly absurd- Sidley is in a different league to the likes of CMS or even NRF. By no means is it a Kirkland, buts it’s not too far off and even a new office shows it’s a serious firm

Fred

This is a really fascinating article

MC

Exactly there NQ is 135,500 that’s probably equal to PEP at a firm like CMS

CMS toiler

Lmao savage

Showround @ Bakers

I genuinely think you’ve done more damage to CMS with this comment than coronavirus/ a recession ever will

Hh

Why do ppl insult CMS so much, what they done to you 😂

topkek

Nothing, they just be a shet firm lmao

Athome&inhouse

Old news my dad bankrupted some tool for trying the same scam in the 90s who ended up indebted for legal costs against a multinational.

Nony Mouse

What a waste of time and resources – why not just give the guy £3k, let him have his day and move on. It’s not like they couldn’t afford it.

Anon

As doing so would incentivise others to do the same.

SA are merely protecting their IP. Nothing more, nothing less.

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