Language Empire appeal thrown out

Date published: 31 May 2019

A Rochdale company's appeal against a landmark judgment which ruled in favour of global language service provider, thebigword, has failed. 

In October 2018, the courts awarded substantial damages and costs after Language Empire was found guilty of cybersquatting.

thebigword Group Limited provides specialised language services to many of the top 100 global brands and government organisations such as the Police, NHS Trusts and various large UK Government contracts.

Language Empire Ltd, based in Rochdale, registered four domain names in 2010 similar to those of thebigword, offering translation and interpreting in direct competition with thebigword therefore suggesting they were connected with thebigword. The websites mimicked Linkup’s keywords, copyright and logos over a number of years, generating online enquiries, something which Linkup Mitaka’s legal representatives describe as “just the tip of the iceberg.”

Language Empire and its managing director, Mr Zaman, appealed against the judgement and the Rt Hon. Lord Justice Floyd in the Court of Appeal has refused Language Empire’s appeal, stating, “quite apart from giving dishonest evidence, Mr Zaman had gone to extreme lengths to hide the extent of the infringement. This court would have no basis for interfering with the judge’s factual conclusions.”

Lord Justice Floyd also said: “The judge was faced with the difficult task of attempting to assess damages in the face of the deliberate obfuscation of the applicants.”

Commenting on the decision, CEO of thebigword, Nihat Arkan, said: “At thebigword we are proud of the work we do to deliver the best-in-class language services to our clients.

“We are passionate professionals and truly believe in the power of breaking down barriers to connect, inspire and educate. thebigword cares greatly about our clients and their ambitions and collaborate with them to support their goals and best interests.

“Unfortunately, not all companies in our industry are able to reach these high standards. We are pleased with the Judge’s decision and will continue to provide the respected service for which we have become known.”

In the original decision the judge awarded substantial damages and, in her findings, said the defendants had chosen to “obfuscate and hide the true numbers of enquiries.”

The judge found that the defendant’s case consisted of “a tangled mass of contradictions, inconsistencies, unlikelihoods, implausibilities and untruths.”

In a landmark further ruling on legal costs, the Judge said that the Defendant’s conduct was so exceptional as to amount to an abuse of process, with the effect that the amount to be awarded to the thebigword inclusive of interest amounts to nearly £250,000.

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