The Boots Company - parent of high street retailer Boots The Chemist - is in the middle of a messy custody battle over who owns the domain Boots.com.
Last week the Nottingham-based retailer seized control of boots.com after purchasing it "for a modest sum" from the Crown. The Boots Company believed the domain was "for sale" after the company that originally owned it went into liquidation in 1995.
But according to Bedfordshire-based Boots Systems - a business-based Internet Service Provider (ISP) - it owns the domain and has done so since it purchased it from the company that went into liquidation.
The result of this tussle is that last week some 2,000 businesses - including banks and a host of blue chip companies - lost their Web sites hosted by Boots Systems.
As many as 20,000 email addresses also evaporated.
Boots Systems has managed to wrestle back the domain - for the time being - but is currently locked in a legal fight with the giant retailer.
No one at Boots Systems was prepared to comment on since the matter is currently subject to a legal challenge.
However, a spokesman for The Boots Company told The Register: "We've been interested in acquiring the name boots.com for some time.
"According to our research ownership of boots.com belonged to a company that went into liquidation in 1995.
"The remaining assets have become the property of the Crown and we bought the name for a modest sum.
"As far as we're concerned the ownership issue has been resolved by the Crown and [domain name registrars] Verisign," he said. ®