Duke acts to block Blenheim Palace Website

The 11th Duke of Marlborough is taking legal action to stop a company cashing in on the name of his ancestral home by calling its Website after Blenheim Palace.

John George Vanderbilt Henry Spencer-Churchill, whose grandfather was Winston Churchill’s cousin, wants to launch his own Blenheim Palace Website offering a range of merchandise.

The Duke has issued a High Court writ against Geoffrey Louis Pidoux, a director of co-defendant Amicus Research & Management, to stop him using the domain name Blenheim-Palace.co.uk, offering it for sale or registering a name which includes the words Blenheim Palace.

Pidoux, of Woodstock, Oxfordshire, who intends to defend the writ, says: “I want to sell limited edition prints of Blenheim Palace.”

In July, the Court of Appeal upheld a High Court ruling in favour of six top British companies, including Marks & Spencer, against three Internet domain dealers. The ruling forced them to surrender their collection of domain names which resembled familiar trademarks.

Stephen Digby, a partner with Withers solicitors, which is representing the Duke, says: “An offer to pay Mr Pidoux reasonable costs of transferring the domain name to the Duke has been declined. The Duke has therefore issued proceedings.”

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