11 Oct 2018

Landmark judgment rules in favour of translation company as judge awards substantial damages and legal costs

A court today awarded a Leeds-based translation company substantial damages after one of its competitors was found guilty of cybersquatting.

Pavel Ignatov / Shutterstock.com


Link-up Mitaka Ltd (trading as thebigword) provides translation services to many of the top 100 global brands and government organisations such as, the Police and NHS Trusts and various large UK Government contracts. 

In the ruling, 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 will amount to nearly £250,000.

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, 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”. 

This is a landmark case for the UK’s Intellectual Property Enterprise Court in terms of the amount of both the judgement and the award of legal costs says Elizabeth Ward, principal at Virtuoso Legal who represented thebigword. 

Chairman of thebigword Larry Gould says, “We are, of course, deeply disappointed and concerned at the impact that this potentially had on our business and the reputation of our industry.” However, he adds, “We’re delighted with the Judge’s assessment. We are trusted around the world and the integrity of our brand remains intact. We hope to continue providing the respected service for which we have become known.”


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