Museum can’t have Auschwitz.org.
Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, a memorial and museum including the site of former German concentration camps Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau, has failed to get the domain name Auschwitz.org through an arbitration proceeding.
The museum filed the case with National Arbitration Forum.
The owner owner of the domain name argued that Auschwitz is a historical word and doesn’t belong to the museum.
Panelist M. Kelly Tillery determined that Auschwitz.org is not confusingly similar to a mark in which the museum has rights. It was originally called State Oswiecim-Brezezinka Museum before changing its name in 1999.
The question is whether the domain name, “Auschwitzâ€ is identical or confusingly similar to that mark of Complainant. The domain name is one word; the mark is four (or five in Polish). Thus, they are not identical.
Further, while the word/name “Auschwitzâ€ has virtually universal meaning and recognition, it is, in fact, a place, a geographic location, originally the Nazi-chosen name for a town outside of Oswiecim, Poland and also the name of the concentration camp established there in 1940. Trademark rights in the name of a geographic location, even one with such unparalleled significance, are rare and must generally be established by evidence of secondary meaning. And even with such evidence, any rights would be limited to museum services. In many jurisdictions, for registration purposes, Complainant would likely have to disclaim any rights in “Auschwitzâ€ alone. On this record, this Panel cannot say that Complainant has established that any public associates Complainant, a museum, with the name/mark “Auschwitzâ€ alone, as opposed to the geographic location, be it of historical and/or present existence.