Estate agent's "prank" ends up in court
A Wimbledon estate agent has been ordered to pay damages after a court heard he re-directed people looking for a rival’s website to pornographic web pages.
Luke Bennett, director of the SW19 estate agency, has agreed to pay £15,000 in damages to rival agency, eddisonwhite, after the High Court was told he bought the website eddisonwhite.com and diverted it to various porn sites.
Despite several requests by the owners of Colliers Wood-based eddisonwhite for the web pages to be removed, they continued to operate.
Mr Bennett had been a long-standing friend of Richard Eddison, the joint owner of eddisonwhite, and Mr Bennett's company described the incident as "a schoolboy prank that went wrong".
The eddisonwhite.co.uk website had been operating since March 2004, the same year the estate agency was established. Mr Bennett bought the eddisonwhite.com website in November 2005.
He admitted the accusations of trademark infringement in June last year, and was ordered to pay damages when the case went to the High Court on April 28.
Mr Bennett is away, but a spokesman at the Merton Road estate agency said: "They have been friends for many years. There was a misunderstanding between them and this is a schoolboy prank that went wrong".
Richard Eddison the joint owner of eddisonwhite, said:
"I am relieved and happy this ordeal is over. It has been difficult for us and all of our customers and most importantly for those individuals who were subjected to some truly awful images thanks to Mr Bennett’s antics.
“For a professional service business to act in this way is beyond contempt and does little to challenge any pre-conceived ideas members of the public may have about our profession.”
His lawyer, Peter Adediran added:
“This is an important case for small businesses everywhere who are not sure where they stand in the areas of internet law. I hope their victory will help all businesses protect themselves against such practice.”
May 18, 2010