Disney Forces U.K. Costume Shop to Surrender 'Star Wars' Domain Name

Star Wars Force Awakens Stormtroopers - H 2015
Courtesy of Star Wars

Star Wars Force Awakens Stormtroopers - H 2015

The owner of the starwars.co.uk address accused the studio of having "thrown their teddies out of the pram."

There might still be a few months left before the latest Star Wars’ release, but the Force has already awoken in the face of one U.K. company.

Fancy-dress outlet Jokers’ Masquerade has been told it must relinquish control of the starwars.co.uk and starwars.uk web addresses to Disney alongside five other similar domain names.

According to the ruling by Nominet – which oversees all .uk domains – the starwars.co.uk address was first registered in 1997, and eventually transferred to the current owner in 2003, where it was used to direct customers to its Star Wars-themed outfits. It found that in the hands of Abscissa – the costume store’s parent company – the domain names were “abusive registrations” and instructed it to transfer the address to Disney. It has until July 21 to decide whether or not to appeal.

Speaking to the BBC, Abscissa’s chief executive Mark Lewis said that the complaint had only come about because of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

"If the new Star Wars films by Disney were not being released, we wouldn't be having this discussion," he said. "They wanted the starwars.uk domain, they haven't [got it], and in essence they've thrown their teddies out of the pram. That's how we feel. Are we disappointed? Yes. Are we surprised? Not necessarily."

It's not the first time Disney has wrested control of a rogue domain name in the U.K. using Nominet. In 2008 it forced a British man to hand over the keys to waltdisney.co.uk and disneyland-resort.co.uk