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Audi loses fight for AudiCity.com domain name

Audi will have to stick with audi-microsites.com for now.

Car company Audi has lost a dispute at World Intellectual Property Organization over the domain name AudiCity.com.

Earlier this year Audi launched its first “Audi City” showroom in London and it wants to open 20 more Audi City showrooms by 2015.

But the domain name AudiCity.com was registered by a California man in 2001.

The registrant argued that he registered the domain name because it is a play on “audacity”. He said he registered it for his own personal purposes. He’s used it for email and to host photos and music.

The panel determined that there wasn’t enough evidence to prove that this was a case of cybersquatting. It questioned why someone who is not a domain investor would register the domain over a decade ago, use it in a non-infringing way, and continue to pay renewal fees if his goal was to extract money from Audi. It also questioned how the registrant could have predicted Audi’s new showroom name so long ago.

Is the registrant’s registration of Audicity.com a case of cybersquatting? Not under the confines of UDRP. And that’s where the panel got this one right:

This case illustrates the widely recognised principle that the Policy is designed to deal with clear cases of cybersquatting…In the present case, the Panel finds that the record simply does not yield clear evidence of cybersquatting, circumstances that bring the case within the provisions of paragraph 4(b) of the Policy, or other facts showing that Respondent registered and used the Domain Name in bad faith.

Right now the top Google result for me for “audi city” is audi-microsites.com. I’m dumbfounded at Audi’s choice of domain name for its “micro sites”.

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  1. John UK

    LOL, this is very good decision and will help me in what I believe may be similar situation where I registered a domain with no particular thing in mind, but more of a “punt”. That was 7 years ago and now I know that it will be wanted !. Yippee, maybe this time wont need to go to Court.

  2. todd

    Good decision but why in the world are there one person udrp panels. Isn’t a panel supposed to be more than one person and how can you put someones fate in one persons hands. There should be at bare minimum 3 people on a panel to discuss the details together to come up with the best decision. Way to much power and possibility of corruption by using a single individual. Totally assbackwards.

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