Sir Richard Branson wins rights to richardbranson.xxx

Sir Richard Branson gains ownership of richardbranson.xxx The .xxx domain is designed for use by pornography websites and other adult-themed web services

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Sir Richard Branson has won control of the domain name richardbranson.xxx.

The tycoon had been in dispute with Australian Sean Truman, who registered the domain name last year.

The National Arbitration Forum (NAF), a US-based adjudication body, ruled that Mr Truman had registered and used richardbranson.xxx "in bad faith".

The .xxx domain was introduced as a home for pornography and other adult-orientated web sites in 2011.

"We worry about the misuse of Sir Richard's name and he is pleased that we now have it under our ownership," said Nick Fox, a spokesman for the founder of the Virgin business empire.

Icann, the body which has overall responsibility for domain names, had ordered the transfer of the richardbranson.xxx domain name to Virgin, Mr Fox added.

Trademark owners were given the opportunity to block the registration of .xxx domain names last year before they were made available for general public registration.

Mr Fox said that Virgin was in the process of doing this when Mr Truman registered it, four days after general availability.

'Sex sells'

In Mr Truman's argument to the NAF, he contended that he had registered the domain name as a "souvenir" because of his admiration of Sir Richard.

He argued that Sir Richard has a history of using the "sex sells" principle in his business activities, using "Virgin" as a generic brand name.

The NAF ruled that Mr Truman should have recognized that his registration and control of richardbranson.xxx "would serve to vex or embarrass" Sir Richard.

Thomas Frederiksen, chief operating officer at UK web hosting company One.com, warned that the .xxx domain could cause serious problems for businesses.

"If someone has registered your company's name, or in this case the name of your CEO, it can permanently damage your brand," he said.

"This is a unique case as not all company CEOs will be able to argue that their name is protected under intellectual property law."

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