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Porsche loses Porsche.social URS to planned fan site

Porsche.social is just a parked page, but its owners claim to be creating a free site for Porsche enthusiasts.

PorscheCar company Porsche has lost a Uniform Rapid Suspension cybersquatting case it brought against the San Jose, California owner of Porsche.social.

Interactiv Corporation told the URS panel that it plans to use the domain name for a free community for Porsche car enthusiasts and will put a disclaimer on every webpage that it is not affiliated with or authorized by the car company.

Thus, Panelist Karl V. Fink determined that “Complainant has not established by clear and convincing evidence that Registrant has no right or interest in the domain name and has not established that the domain was registered or is being used in bad faith.”

As of right now, I just see a parked page at the domain name.

I’ll admit to being a little surprised by this decision. Perhaps it hinged on the relatively short time the domain name had been registered and the owner’s intention to create a “free” site. Will that be monetized by advertising?

Can anyone register a brand name in a new TLD like .social and claim future plans to create a free community site?

Does a “free” service mean you are free to use a brand name in a domain name? Another URS panel, on appeal, ruled that offering a free service creates a question of legitimate use, and found for the respondent.

What happens if the domain is still parked months from now?

I suspect, at that point, Porsche could just file a UDRP.

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  1. couponpages

    I don’t see a problem with it, as long as there is a disclaimer saying they are not affiliated.

    UDRPs are designed to prevent people from abusing a Copyright owner by confusing the public into thinking they are on the official company site.

    As I see it, a fan site like that can only help Porsche, so there is no reason for them to block every site from using the brand.

    There are countless Harry Potter, Star Wars, Star Trek and other movie fan sites that contain those brands, and they have a right to exist and to earn revenue off ads if they want.

    They don’t compete with the brands they mention and they generally create more positives for the brands than negatives.

    The fact that his is .Social makes it clear to a visitor, even without the disclaimer, that this is not their main site.

  2. PJ

    “What happens if the domain is still parked months from now?”

    In any case you have to speak of “years” and not “months”. You know perfectly that, in the I.P. world those type of things/requirements are counted in years and not in months. If he is making money from parking (tshhh…..), that could be a problem even now. Time doesn’t matter. If they want time matters, they have to give me a time machine and the ability to make oppositions to bastard trademark applications based on my domains! At that point maybe the usual requirements about time in the ip world could also be applied to domains… (always remembering that parking is the first, most important use for generic domains, ALWAYS!). If they want consider the time factor, then where are the time machine and the new rules giving the rights to file an opposition to a trademark application based on a domain?!?

    • couponpages

      Once again, I strongly agree with this decision and I hope companies realize that blocking legitimate use of domains with their brands is an unnecessary move.

      I do believe they should use whatever legal means necessary when their brand is used falsely, such as giving the consumer the impression that they are on the official site, but blocking sites that just use (TrademarkedName).(GTLD) is completely within Fair Use practices of Trademark law.

      Do you think Porsche is only company that can register a domain with Porsche as the first part? I don’t. Here’s why.

      First, the business case. Fan sites should always be encouraged. There are countless brands that would love to see just one fan site. Automakers like Porsche, Ford, Dodge and Chevrolet have swarms of fans who love their products enough to build web sites and not only wear their brands on their shirts, but have their logos tattooed on their bodies.

      Simply stated, fan sites create buzz for their products, for free.

      Did you think Porsche was going to actually use Porsche.Social to create an actual site… and this guy somehow thwarted their plans?

      If that guy registered Porsche.Reviews or Porsche.Fan or Porsche.Gallery… would you object to those too?

      Unlike some GTLDs such as .Com, these alternate TLDs form phrases that cannot be protected under Trademark law. For the same reason, I am able to write the phrase “Porsche Fan” in this sentence without the need to request written permission to do so.

      As long as people know the site is not affiliated with Porsche, these sites do not harm their brand. In most cases, they enhance it.

      There will be nearly 2000 GTLDs. It’s unnecessary for every Trademark owner to purchase every version… or to block every potential domain that uses it.

      Other than blocking sites that falsely claim to be the Trademark holder, existing Trademark laws, plus laws against slander and libel give them all the resources they need to insure whatever is written or spoken on those sites is fair.

      If Trademark owners blocked from every domain just because it contained their brand, they would also have the right to stop .com, .net and other sites with names like “(Brand)Haters.Com”, which has just as much of a right to exist as (Brand)Haters.Com”.

      This may sound like it’s from left field, but Trademarks have a very specific purpose. They prevent companies or people from creating brand confusion, NOT preventing people from using a brand to express an opinion.

      Full disclosure… Some of you may think I am writing this because I have domains that have (Brand______.Com) or something like it. While I do agree sites have that right, I do not own a single domain with a brand in it.

    • DNPric.es

      A propos, the domain name has been suspended:

      This Site is Suspended
      The Domain Name you’ve entered is not available. It has been taken down as a result of dispute resolution proceedings pursuant to the Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS) or .us Rapid Suspension System (usRS) Procedure and Rules.

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