A graduate in law from Magdalen College, Oxford, Dawn Osborne joined Willoughby & Partners in November 1996 having trained and qualified with the media and intellectual property practice of Denton Hall. She became a partner of Willoughby & Partners and an executive of Rouse & Co International in January 2000. In 2009 she became a partner of Palmer Biggs Legal. Dawn is currently a partner at McCarthy Denning.
Dawn specialises in Internet law/e-commerce and is recommended for intellectual property in the Legal 500. She is a panellist for the WIPO and Forum ICANN, LRO, URS, .xxx and the .eu. Dawn is a director of the Federation Against Software Theft and Chair of its Legal Action Group FLAG. She is a member of the International Trade Mark Association. She co-authored the UK Chapter of Domain Name Law and Practice for Oxford University Press and has been named an IP Star by Managing Intellectual Property.
When and why did you join Nominet’s DRS?
I was asked to be an expert when the DRS was set up probably because by then I already had a lot of experience of the UDRP with WIPO and the NAF as it then was (now Forum).
What has been the most unexpected or interesting aspect of this role?
Probably the very inventive reasons some defendants give for registering domain names containing brands.
What do you feel this role has taught you, or may have helped in your other work?
It has certainly helped advise clients on domain name issues.
How did you get involved in internet law?
I helped another trainee at Denton Hall who was moving into an in-house roll without intellectual property experience. When she got into her roll she had the Pitman Publishing v Pitman Training case and sent it to me at Rouse. This was in 1996 and I had to learn all about domain names super quick. It ended up being the first contested domain name case in any UK Court. We managed to preserve the domain name for our client.
What do you find interesting about this area?
It still seems to be developing, for example the new approach at WIPO in interpreting confusing similarity as whether a trade mark is recognisable in a domain name.
What do you enjoy about domain name disputes you deal with via Nominet?
It is always satisfying if your decision at first instance Is upheld on appeal which has happened to me a couple of times. I like to feel that I have got the decision right. Justice is important to me.
What are your other interests away from your work?
I have a Rock Radio show and edit the magazine for the Friends of The Pitt Rivers Museum (anthropology).
What technological advancement are you most looking forward to having?
I would love it if thoughts could appear as text without typing, although I suppose that could be a little dangerous!
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