Breach of copywrite through domain names and metadata...

On this case we were tasked with establishing the extent of passing off and/or breach of trademark claims in regard to a competitor’s e-marketing campaign. The client had developed a cosmetic procedure, trademarking it to protect the brand. However, the client became aware of a competitor, who was marketing a similar procedure, using domain names and website metadata containing the trademarked name to connect interest to its own website.  The client engaged us specifically to interrogate their website to establish how two pages were produced. It is alleged that they were not produced by the Content Management System (CMS), but independently by a third party.

To undertake this task we used a variety of tools. IBS Standard Edition Version 11.7.9, a powerful search engine optimisation software tool, allowed us to research and analyse keywords and links for a particular website and compare these with nominated competitors. We were given access to the FTP software settings, including the IP Address, hostname and password, thereby enabling us to interrogate the SQL database.

The examination process was completed and only one connection string was found, implying that a single database was used. The web developer had stored all the database connection information in file ~/classes/connection.php). This is where the database server IP address, database name, database administrator and password were stored to access and manage the database. Checking the connection string for multiple connection strings, ensured that only a single database was used.


Following the investigation it was our expert opinion that the pages in question were created simply as test data to populate the client’s website during development – most probably added by the web developer. These were clearly not removed on completion of the project. From experience, this is normal practice for web developers and it would not be unusual to find similar issues on another website of this type.

 Indeed the web pages investigated were not navigable through the website and are only available to users through the search function, or with the exact URL. Every item within the product table had a sub category identification number, which related to a sub category table. The items in question, along with a further 15 items, all had a sub category identification of zero (0). As there is no zero category in the sub table, this meant that they could not be found through the Content Management System (CMS) or front end navigation system on the website. Our report was intrumental in the outcome of this claim and clarified many presumptions.