TravelSupermarket has attempted to halt the launch of a potential rival in the burgeoning meta search market by challenging a Scandinavian company’s right to use its brand name in the UK.
Travolution has learned lawyers acting for TravelSupermarket last week demanded Denmark-based TravelMarket.com transfer ownership of the TravelMarket.co.uk domain, a move which would effectively scupper the site’s UK launch on February 29th.
TravelSupermarket also ordered TravelMarket to cease using its trading name in the UK and curtail any commercial activity which could lead to confusion with the UK meta search giant.
It is understood TravelMarket.com has since rebuffed the demands and outlined its ownership of the domain name to TravelSupermarket in order to defend its position. It also fully intends to still launch officially in the UK next week.
A spokeswoman for Travelsupermarket confirmed that Travelmarket has been contacted regarding its “name and branding” but would not comment further.
TravelMarket chief executive Ole Stouby said: “We were really surprised over the threats and the allegations from TravelSupermarket, as we have had our domain names for many years and we always wanted Travelmarket to be a major international travel website for consumers.”
“We now look forward to our UK launch next Friday [29th Feb]. In March we launch our meta search engine in Germany and hereafter local sites in France, Spain, Italy and USA later this year.”
It is unknown at this stage if TravelSupermarket is looking to take the matter further. The company registered the UK domain in Dec 1999 and the dot-com site in February 2002.
TravelMarket.com was registered in 1998, two years after the creation of the company in Denmark.
A UK version of the domain was purchased in 1999 and an additional site – TravelMarketInteractive.co.uk – was bought in 2005 as part of plans to develop a B2B web production division in the UK.
The company is hoping to build a sizeable business in the UK developing websites and booking engines for travel agencies and tour operators.