BBC legal threat over Teletubbies

The BBC is considering taking legal action against an Internet company which has registered a Teletubbies Website before the broadcaster.

Valentine Scott, the domain name warehouse company, registered “teletubbies.com” and “teletubbies.co.uk” in May, through registration company Frontier Internet Services.

Sean Blaquiere, director of Valentine Scott, declines to comment on the situation, and it remains unclear how the company intends to exploit its registration of the Teletubbies Website addresses.

The BBC’s position over securing rights to the Teletubbies Website addresses was strengthened last month by a High Court ruling on a successful group action led by Marks & Spencer against warehousing company One in a Million.

The judgment effectively banned the practice of warehouse companies registering copyright names in the UK, in order to sell the name back to the trademark owners.

Neither Teletubby Web address is active, despite the snowballing popularity of the Teletubbies programme and merchandise.

Nick Gordon, director of Frontier Internet Services, says:”We weren’t under the impression that the company was working for the BBC, but it may have been.”

Nick Underwood, head of marketing at Teletubbies’ creators Ragdoll Productions, has left the company and plans to become a consultant. Underwood joined Ragdoll in 1995 as a result of the BBC commission for Teletubbies. His main responsibilities involved overseas sales of the cult show. Underwood says he will continue to work with Ragdoll creative director Anne Wood on a three-month project.

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