Man who shelled out big bucks in .me auction kicking himself now.
Pity poor Georg Kohler of Brazil.
In August I wrote about how he snapped up car company names in the .me launch auctions. He even paid $90,025 for Toyota.me. Apparently he hadn’t gotten the memo from ten years ago about the dangers of owning trademarked domain names.
In a recent World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) decision, he lost Porsche.me to the car company. Could his $90,000 investment in Toyota.me be too far behind?
On both Porsche.me and Toyota.me, Kohler has landing pages that say the domain will be used for cars but in a non-commercial manner:
Welcome to our future non comercial [sic] Porsche Fan Club Site…Disclaimer: www.porsche.me is not owned by, sponsored by, authorized by, sanctioned by Porsche AG
The panel must not have bought it, or decided it didn’t care that it was non-commercial. Unfortunately WIPO hasn’t posted the decision online yet so we can’t read its rational. [update: the decision is now posted. The panel found that a) the fact that the domain is just the trademark – not trademarkfans.me or something like that – creates instant confusion and b) he offered to sell the domain to Porsche upon receiving a cease and desist letter.]
Kohler isn’t the only one to lose his .me domain names.
ExxonMobil recently picked up ExxonMobil.me from a Tampa, Florida man. Confederation Nationale du Credit Mutuel picked up CreditMutuel.me. It won’t be long before other trademarks get picked up in arbitration.