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Cupid in legal fight for French domain name

THINGS have become heated in the world of internet dating as ambitious Edinburgh-based business Cupid has found itself embroiled in a €1 million (£800,000) legal dispute over the way it has romanced French customers.

According to legal papers seen by The Herald, Cupid has been challenged by continental rival Cupidon over the Scottish company's use of the Cupidon.com domain name it bought 18 months ago.

The result of the case, which is being heard by the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris, is expected this week.

The dispute centres on the Cupidon.com website acquired by Cupid for £175,000 in May 2011.

Cupidon, the owner of the Cuipdon.fr, Cupidon.be and Cupidon.net web- sites, claims its trade- mark has been infringed and that Cupid is trading unfairly.

Court papers seen by The Herald show Cupidon is seeking €800,000 in damages over Cupid's use of the Cupidon.com name, €75,000 on the grounds of unfair competition and €75,000 for tardiness in responding to Cupidon's request that it stop using the domain as well as assorted costs and daily charges if Cupid does not comply.

The Herald understands Cupid is disputing the claims although the company declined to comment on the grounds that the case is ongoing.

The legal hurdle comes as Cupid seeks to extend its presence on the continent as part of its drive into new markets.

As part of this strategy, in July it bought French company Assistance Genie Logiciel for €3.7 million from private equity fund Financiere PES.

The deal handed it brands including Amour.com, SeRencontrer.com, and Ulla.com which cater for tastes ranging from serious to casual dating.

Cupid, headed by chief executive Bill Dobbie, floated on the Alternative Investment Market in June 2010 with an initial price of 60p per share and reached a high of 260p in June last year.

Its shares has since fallen back and ended last week at 182.5p.

Cupid's most heavily visited websites include Cupid.com, Flirt.com, Benaughty.com and www.girlsdateforfree.com.

The group also promotes niche brands such as Datingforparents.com, Indiandating.com and Maturedating.co.uk.

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