back to article NatWest sets lawyers on student site

A student finance website which offers summaries of bank accounts available for the feckless unwashed masses has been hit with a copyright infringement claim by NatWest. The bank's hungry lawyers claim this page which summarises NatWest's student offer is infringement of its copyright. The letter claims that …


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  1. Chris Boyle

    An easy workaround

    Simply refer to them throughout as tw*tnest.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Too many Ts.

  2. Lottie

    Sonds to me...

    ... like they have a bot looking online ofr references to Natwest, saw that it was a finance page and assumed they were using the NatWest trademark to lure customers in. I can't see howelse this would have come about. Unless people really ARE this stupid.

    Thinking back, they did manage to give me a second student account after I already had one with another bank...

    1. irish donkey

      Having two Bank Accounts isn't illegal

      Banks do have a habit of calling it 'Multi-Banking' and inferring that it's illegal or against the rules.

      it isn't.

      You may open as many Bank Accounts with as many banks as you wish. Even Student accounts.

      The reason they don't like you doing is... it makes it much easier to move your business elsewhere

      1. Karnka

        The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

        It's typically in the terms and conditions that you aren't supposed to have >1 student bank account. ie: >1 interest free overdraft

      2. Tom 38 Silver badge

        Close, no cigar

        In the terms and conditions of all student bank accounts is usually words to the effect "I don't have any other bank account, student or otherwise". If you sign the account agreement knowing full well that you do have another bank account, then you are fraudulently accessing credit.

        I think you will find that breaks quite a few laws, refer to your local beak for more details.

        1. Lottie


          I was shitfaced when I opened the account. I was tempted by the free toaster/ £50

          They'd run out of toasters so I gopt the money.

          Curse you Freshers week!

        2. Anonymous Coward

          I hear that the trick is

          to apply for a number of student accounts at different banks at (much) the same time, hence when on each application you state that you "don't have another student account" it is true. No applications have actually gone through, no accounts have been opened, hence you don't have another account.... yet.

          £50 is never sweeter than when it's for nothing.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "we assume that the Natwest is included on your website to deceive customers into believing they are dealing with Natwest when in fact they are not."

    I assume that if I live off the dole long enough, some day Bill Gates will come and give me all of his money for no reason and I can retire early.

    It's fun to make assumptions.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I believe the phrase is when you assume you make an 'Ass of U and me'.

      1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: Assumptions

        "When you make an assumption, you make an ass out of you, and umption."

        1. Cunningly Linguistic


          ...assumption is the mother of all fuckups!

          1. Velv


            Isn't that a religous thing?

            Are we going to get the fundamentalists in here screaming for their right not to be mocked?

            Can we get a cartoon ?

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      "other banks offer better deals"

      Is that something Natwest put on their own website?

      It should be.

  4. John G Imrie


    Looks like [Redacted]'s lawyers cant tell the difference from Copyright infringement and fair use.

    I suggest that the bank [Redacted] be known from now on know as the [Redacted] Bank of [Redacted] Lawyers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Don't worry about it

      I made sure the authors of the site had some extra funds to deal with this legal action by clicking on Natwest's pay per click ad on the google adsense blcok at the bottom of the page.

      Every little helps, oh wait, can I say that?

    2. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: [Redacted]

      Except that this is a trademark issue, not a copyright issue. Owning a trademark doesn't prevent other people from using the word, it just prevents them from pretending to be [Redacted] plc. Having looked at that site, there is no way anyone could possibly confuse them with [Redacted] plc.

  5. Richard 81

    Bunch of bastards

    This doesn't surprise me much.

    In this supposed age of posterity, NatWest will happily tell customers £1000 into a £1250 overdraft that they're allowed to extend it to £1500, no problem. Also, they keep asking if I want another credit card.

    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      and that's bad how?

      If you are too dull to be able to refuse something you know you can't pay back, then you don't deserve a bank account.

      There was a story a few years back of an American woman who sued a bank claiming she got into so much debt because they gave her a high credit card limit

      Bloody hell, the 'blame someone else' culture pisses me off.

      Learn some self-responsibility people!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Paris Hilton

        RE: and that's bad how?

        It's not a culture, it's a mind set of self centered people who really do think that everyone else is accountable for their actions. It's our culture that alows them to thrive.

    2. Richard 81


      Precisely why I declined their offer.

      There are people who aren't smart enough to say no, when they should though. Yes, you could argue that these people should have access to credit, but then why does the bank offer it?

      The buck ultimately stops with the customer, but banks should be more inclined to sage advice rather than a drive towards sales.

      As a little aside, I knew someone who worked in NatWest little while ago. Only once they'd taking the job, were they told that if they didn't make a certain number of sales in a month e.g. sell enough credit cards, new accounts etc. they'd get a reprimand. If that happened three times they got fired.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Corporate Pillocks!

    Yet another example of corporate idiots hassling people who are just trying to help out. There is no way you'd ever think that this is a banks official webpage, it's way more useful!

  7. Shonko Kid

    If it were me...

    I'd replace the offending page with Nat*est are useless as a bank, AVOID AT ALL COSTS!! (in large 40pt text) then invite the lawyers and/or executive team to see if the changes meet with their approval. Anyone using the 118student service would then be properly informed.

    1. JB
      Thumb Up

      Haha, agreed

      Like the guy who changed his name to something like [name of bank] Are A Load Of Moneygrabbing, Evil Bastards, and so had to have that printed on all his cheques and correspondence. Nice one!

  8. Joe Harrison

    Still got their name wrong

    In fact it's WetNast surely?

  9. Winkypop Silver badge

    Ambulance chasing, asshat lawyers!

    I wouldn't have looked at that site if they hadn't made such a fuss, etc.....

  10. Trevor Marron

    Lawyers trying to justify their salaries.....

    Simply Ridiculous. No logos or anything else suggesting the web site is trying to suggest it is connected to or an agent of NatWest.

    Hey lawyers look, I said it! NATWEST!

  11. Azcard

    I can't really sympathise with NatWest on this

    HOWEVER, I can see why they wouldnt want to be associated with this site. The owner clearly wants to make a little revenue from Google Ad's but this is more likely to be associated with CyberSquatting. He uses keywords from NatWests marketing meaning anyone searching for NatWest could end up on his site first where they then click the link back to what they were looking for in the first place. He gets paid and NatWest suffer. Down the whole site, it's misleading and a waste of space, however NatWest, calm down he is technically helping you get customers!

    1. Annihilator


      Hmm - you'd have to be a special type of idiot to search for "NatWest" and come up with this site before

    2. Nuke

      What for?

      "anyone searching for NatWest would end up on his site first"

      WTF?????? OK, I just tried Googling "Natwest" and the Natwest Bank site was first hit. No sign of the 118student site on the first page and I couldn't be arsed to look further. Enough to disprove your point.

      I had been about to post that no-one could be dumb enough to mistake 118student for a bank's website, but then I came across your post.

  12. Guido Esperanto

    Simple Solution

    Remove the offending mark and simply put a comment

    "sounds like TWATFEST"

    should provide copious amounts of win and an unwashed middle finger to the lawyers.

  13. Moz

    Tell it like it is.

    I'd take down the page and replace it with "NatWest are a bunch of c***s - avoid them like the plague. This site has no affiliation with NatWest and never will. Bastards." Then include a copy of their missive.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Tell it like it is.

      Nope, still using "NatWest" there.

      They should try: "The useless, moronic bunch of bum-sucking arsebandits you can find here". With "here" linked to

      That should do it. I'd like to see GnatWorst try "You can't link to our landing page without our permission" in court. Ideally I would like to see 'em try, win, set a legal precedent on linking to NatWest and then see their faces as the term "Pyrrhic victory" is explained to them.

  14. Rob 30


    Can't he just put a bit of text at the top of the page saying something along the lines of:

    "i am not a bank"?

  15. Hollerith 1

    I'd take N--tw--t off

    I'd mention that there was a high-street bank whose name could not be mentioned who did not want to be on my website, so anyone looking for some reasonably decent student offers could either go onto the bank's own site (Google it, friends) or take a look at the other listings. I would add that, personally, I would wonder how friendly a bank was to students that didn't want to appear on a website that could only gain them customers, but who was I to step between them and their trademark.

    Or, in other words: NatWest, how to shoot own foot.

  16. DaveyDaveDave

    It doesn't work

    I went to the site, but when I enter my online banking password it doesn't log me in. I don't understand. I just want to check my balance. Why do they have to keep changing things?

  17. Chad H.

    Just had a look at the site.

    Just had a look at the site, and I'm wondering how dumb Natwest thinks people/students are?

    Its not in their corportate colours

    Its does not use their logo in any way

    It has equal guides for other banks, listed on the left.

    As this post meets 2 out of 3 of those criteria, I'm eagerly awaiting my C&D so I can have the joyous experience of watching Natwest get laughed out of court (whilst filling my pockets with the change from my countersuit).

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Customer charter

    Nice to see the customer charter for becoming Britain's most helpful bank is being applied:

  19. disgruntled yank

    Might I suggest

    "The bank not fit to be named" ?

  20. Anonymous Coward

    There is clearly no "confusion"

    over any "mark" - it is used for pupose of review.

    Natwest (small w) is Not registered by anyone - see

    The person who wrote the letter may be making a vexatious series of false claims or, attempting to suggest Natwest is (falsely - allegedly) a "mark".

    Case history suggests that such f***wit can now make a sentence of "shot, foot,oneself, in"

    I west my case!

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Reminds me of Viz years ago....

    "Left school?

    No money?

    No job?

    Then f**k off.

    Natwest the frank bank"

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Rules to live by pt1

    When it comes to these two a simple substitution is required when you're dealing with them:

    Banks = Anal Rapists

    Lawyers = Utter Wankers

    Therefore you are pre-warned mentally.

    Paris because you'd want her to be the bank ...

    1. PirateSlayer


      She is a kind of bank. The kind used for IVF I think.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    screw natwest

    OK fine - as a student then I'll be sure to NOT consider Natwest now or in the future.

  24. Cthonus


    I'd happily review my local (Edinburgh) branch for them. Tried to depost two cheques - £1000 and£100 - a year or so ago. Gel behind the counter needed a calculator to add them together and still got the sum wrong.

    Guess they really are an equal opportunity employer and take people on irrespective of numerical aptitude.

    1. Richard Mason

      Not just their staff that can't add up.

      Our local branch has recently replaced 3 counters with 3 deposit/cashpoint machines that can't add up either.

      A few months ago I took in 5 cheques to pay into our company account, they totaled something like £5648.23 (I forget the exact amount). I fed the cheques into the machine, and it attempted to read the values on them, it got 4 right and 1 wrong, so I had to manually enter the value for that cheque. It came up with a total of £5648.22 on the screen. That wasn't the figure I had so I thought it had read another cheque wrong by £0.01, and rejected the total at which point it ejected the cheques and the paying in slip.

      I repeated the operation, this time paying careful attention to the values of each cheque and again it came up 1p short.

      I went up to the help desk and spoke to one of the senior cashiers who was there, she checked my adding up and agreed with my figure. So I got her to come over to the machine and try it. She got exactly the same result as I had earlier.

      I was told that even though the machine was showing the wrong figure, our account would be correctly credited as all the deposits were manually checked anyway. So, at that point we decided to print a receipt for the deposit, and the receipt actually had the correct figure on it.

      My boss who normally does the bank deposits has a similar problem with the machine displaying and printing different figures twice since then.

      1. frymaster

        Bloody hell

        sounds like, though the numbers are being stored in a sensible format and transactions go through in a sensible format, the UI is converting them into floating-point to add up for the confirmation. That's serious fail

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Ahhhhhhhhhh yes......

      Customer service from............

      Reminds me of the chain store in Australia called Big W or formerly Woolworths.

      Girl 16 on payroll stacking sock rack in men's clothing dept.

      Asked "Do you have a tape measure?"

      Replies, "What's that?"

      The management of that company are so stupid that they don't check the basics or provide an "essentials" training program......

  25. zooooooom

    At least they can now legitimately...

    ... add

    * are a bunch of cunts to students

    to the list then :-)

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I doubt very much

    That NatWest could win either copyright or trade mark claims but they will always try and scare you, after all think of all that tax payers money they'll be wasting if they sue you.

  27. Ancient Oracle funkie

    The solution ...

    ... would be to suggest that students avoid using knaB tseWtaN (or the anagram - beast ant wank) as they are a bunch of idiots (the bank that is, not the students).

    1. Cantab

      Don't you mean...

      "best wank a ant"?

  28. Anonymous Coward


    Even if the most stupid of students (or anyone else who accidently landed on this page) thought that this was an official Natwest page (or even authorised page) what halm could be done? There isn't even anywhere to log on, let alone try and apply for an account or credit card or anything.

    Nastywest are obviously just hacked off that they didn't get a glowing review on the website. And if they want one of those perhaps they should offer better deals, service and services.

  29. gumbald


    Nothing can now ever be reviewed. Ever. This might mean the end of El Reg.

  30. Anonymous Coward


    I thought they were called ShatWest anyway.

    They used to be the second worst bank in the UK, until they were taken over by the worst bank in the UK, the Royal Bank of Shitheads aka RBS.

    Just to reinforce what a crappy bank it was.. when RBS took over NatWest, they converted all the NatWest branches to run OS/2.

  31. Richard Porter

    "Simply refer to them throughout as tw*tnest."

    Or BatNest *ank ('cos they're a wunch of bankers).

  32. Anonymous Coward

    Not to be pedantic, but...

    "Blanket trademark or DMCA claims are increasingly used by big business to silence critics, or even non-critics, because the letters often resemble automatically created spam mails."

    I don't think that companies have decided to silence critics specifically because their silencing of critics results in spam-like emails. I think they probably have other reasons.

    Plus, it would have been a rather difficult policy to get started.

    How about this? I'll let you use it without filing a DMCA claim:

    "The letters often resemble automatically created spam mails due to blanket trademark or DMCA claims, increasingly used by big business to silence critics, or even non-critics."

    There. Was that so difficult?

  33. The Metal Cod

    Helpful banking my arse

    NatWest Erdington branch - very unhelpful, very disrespectful. Maybe that is their corporate culture.

  34. Old Tom

    But they're advertising on there!

    There's a NatWest Google ad at the end of that page (which even the dumbest lawyer wouldn't think was an official NatWest page). I've clicked on it a couple of times - hope it cost them 10p.

  35. Hoe

    Dear The Register...

    It would appear that in citing this article you yourselves have infridged our copyright by mentioning our name, your users too with their comments, would you please from now on refer to us as "the nameless government owned bank" as we have yet to register this trademark.

    Additionally would you please remove all comments and articles with the words, NatWest, National & Westminster, now I understand this could make things tricky when writing on articles of a banking nature, or even national issues, or should you wish to mention the location of parliament.

    However as we are so stupid and therefore unable to keep our bank in the black or understand copyright laws we insist that this action is taken immediately.

    Additionally if you would all kindly take yourselves outside for a spanking ensuring to film it on your JudasPhones then finally email these videos too: ""

    This way our staff will have something else to do during the day seeing as we have none of your money left to gamble anyway.

    Return Address:

    Nameless Bank

    London (copyright pending).

    P.S. Can anyone recommend us a lawyer who knows wtf he is doing?

  36. Christoph

    Another suggestion

    "There is no review of NatWest bank on this site as they have made legal threats against us for reviewing them without their permission. We invite our readers to make up their own minds about a company which needs to resort to this."

  37. LinkOfHyrule

    NatWest are a bunch of...

    Oh no I better not say or they will get their scary lawyers on my ass!

    Surely if they think they can sue this student site, they better also go and sue Compare the Bastards or whatever its called to then?

    Maybe the person who owns the site could change their name to "Nat West" and then change that page to read:

    "Hi, I'm Nat West and I'm a massive corporate c**t!"

  38. Conrad Longmore

    Arkell v. Pressdram

    They need to refer NatWest to Arkell v. Pressdram

  39. Andy E

    Hang on - there's a typo here!

    The first sentence on the page in question reads "...opting for their student bank accounts that any other bank..." THAT any other bank ?

    Bloody students. Don't they teach them anything these days.

  40. Tigra 07
    Paris Hilton

    Freedom of computer speech?

    Surely under Freedom of Speech laws the site is covered?

    Paris because she likes to be covered

  41. David McMahon


    So this is how our (taxpayers) money is being spent!

    I'll buy them a bottle of champers, Well I would if only they had not bought all the bottles in existence!

    [redacted] added to "DNB" (Do Not Buy) list.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    TwatNest - no change for 20 years

    Left unit 20 years ago with an 1st in engineering but I was going on Gap year, so no job. I needed to move my existing TwatNest account nearer to where I live, and the new branch said that was a totally new application, and then refused me as I had no prospects. The fact that I had been left £50,000 by my uncle and it was invested by their investment arm and I needed an account for the investment payments to go into did not seem to bother the local manger at all. I had the Natwest Investment manager pleading with him to open an account for me, but "No job- No bank account". I withdrew all my money and went around the corner to another bank who welcomed me with open arms.

    Never set foot in one of their branches ever since.

  43. Anonymous Coward

    What do you call

    A tosser who can't recognise some good, free publicity?

    A Banker probably.

    Doesn't look like intelligence is on the rise in the financial world.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Reminds me

    of a mate who always referred to them as FatWest Piggies,

    Paris though she has a smaller one than the bank is a bunch of.

  45. Sirius Lee

    Send a letter to The Cable guy

    As a subsidiary of a subsidiary of the Department for Business, a route for the protagonist in this story is to contact the Secretary of State especially if the site has anything to do with Twickenham, the constituency for which The Cable guy is MP.

    He's at best a bit upset with the banks at the moment and it maybe an excuse for him to ask the RBS CEO to explain why a subsidiary is wasting tax payers money with egregious legal letters while he's concerned about the inadequate lending at the moment.

    Maybe El Reg could, in the meantime, promote a series of alternative names for each of the banks so while everyone would know the bank by the reference, no trademark infringement cases could be bought. NatWorst is a starter for 10.

  46. Mark 65

    Back in the day

    When I were a lad they always got referred to as Shatwest. God-awful institution with the only saving grace being a branch on campus.

  47. Anonymous Coward

    Natw**t dirty tricks?

    I think this bank should be ashamed of itself for persuing a student site that's reviewing banking products. Prior to this article and fuss, I did not know this student site existed. Now that I have seen this site and, in my opinion, there really is no confusion - unless, of course, your a dim-witted lawyer or banker.

    I don't understand how such a financial institution thinks it can walk all over smaller sites who appear to be legitimately helping students.

    I guess I will be boycotting ANY bank that does this type of thing - NatWe**t consider yourself boycotted !

  48. PirateSlayer


    You can't spell 'NatWest' without 'twats'.

    Way to pass up free promotion of your accounts and services guys.

  49. John Sturdy

    Would it hurt them most for him to comply?

    If he complies with their request, they'll simply be left off the list, and get no leads from this site.

    A small note saying ``We are aware that there are other banks, but not all are prepared to be listed here." will make it clear that he hasn't just forgotten them.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I hate crappy companies and scummy petty lawyers.

    This bank and their dept of attitude of non gratitude truly sucks.

  51. Simon B

    stop advertising Shatwest and advertise another bank

    Well stop advertising Shatwest and advertise another bank, whilst mentioning how uptight shatwest are

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