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A man holding a Donald Trump domain hostage has been forced to hand over the web address

JULIA MARSH

A SALESMAN who was allegedly holding a Donald Trump domain hostage in exchange for an appearance on The Apprentice, now has to give up the Web address for nothing.

A former New Yorker named Scott Stephens, who works in domain sales, search-engine optimisation and advertising, had put TrumpEstates.com up for sale on eBay for $21 million.

When Trump’s lawyer sent Stephens a cease-and-desist letter, Stephens tried to broker a deal.

According to the arbitration ruling, released Friday, Mr Stephens offered “to transfer the domain name if, among other things, Trump would let him appear as a contestant on Trump’s popular television show The Apprentice”.

But the arbitrator found that Stephens was improperly trying to profit off a ­domain name that incorporates trademarks held by the billionaire.

“The business of buying and selling domain names can be a legitimate enterprise,” arbitrator W. Scott Blackmer wrote in his ruling.

“But it does not confer rights to use for that purpose a domain name identical or confusingly similar to another party’s trademark,” Blackmer added.

The real-estate tycoon wants the domain name because he is building a luxury housing complex in Dubai called Trump Estates.