Champagne.co becomes first .co domain name case won by respondent.
A complainant has finally lost a UDRP case for a .co domain name.
Comite Interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne has lost the case it brought for the domain name Champagne.co.
The decision text hasn’t been posted yet, but this is the first time a complainant has lost a .co complaint at World Intellectual Property Forum since .co was liberalized last year. I’m not sure about National Arbitration Forum since it doesn’t break out cases by top level domain.
The complainant owns Champagne.com, which is forwards to Champagne.fr (unless you don’t type in www, in which case it goes to an Apache test page).
A saving grace for the domain owner may be that the domain didn’t resolve, so it didn’t point to ad links for Champagne (the drink). However, the whois stated the organization was “DotCo Investments”. My guess is this case hinges on Champagne being a location or geo domain.
Update: WIPO has posted the decision, and it’s more interesting than I thought. It seems that the panel questioned the complainant’s rights to the “champagne” mark. The respondent admitted he registered the domain name for the alcohol connotation, but said he didn’t think it was a trademark. The complainant tried to withdraw the case at the last minute, but the panelist declined. Ultimately, he ruled the complainant failed to show the domain is confusingly similar to a mark in which it has rights.