Two large companies that share a name but operate on different continents and offer completely different services have been squaring up against each other in court. As the Court of Appeal of England & Wales puts it, the nub of the dispute is whether a US corporation selling computer-aided-design (CAD) software only in the Americas under the name Argos can be sued for infringement of a registered trademark by a consumer-goods retailer trading mainly in the UK and Ireland under the same name. It’s an intriguing case, showing the sometimes controversial role of Google’s advertising schemes. More fundamentally though, it shows the chaos that can result from domain name confusion, for at the root of the problem between these two commercial giants is the similarity of their online addresses: argos.co.uk (registered in 1996) and argos.com (registered in 1992). UK company Argos Ltd (AUL) is a "very substantial" retailer that sells consumer products through catalogues and retail stores, as w...

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