UDRP : Domain removed from part time car dealer’s possession

The official Porsche logo.

The official Porsche logo.

When you declare yourself as a famous brand’s part time car dealer operating from within occupied territory, you don’t have much of a legal footprint.

In a UDRP filed by automakers Porsche AG of Stuttgart, Germany, the domain name was challenged at the WIPO.

According to the Respondent:

“… operate[s] as an independent dealer selling Porsche motor cars.” Respondent “duly purchased” Porsche-branded cars and “refer [to them] as Porsche only because they are as original from Porsche factory.” “Our building do[es] not pass or resemble a Porsche dealership at all.” Respondent’s showroom contains Porsche cars as well as Mercedes, Ferrari, BMW and VW.”

Further arguing about the registration of the domain infringing on the Porsche brand, the Respondent claimed the following:

  • “We are free agents operating in North Cyprus and our domain name simply verifies who we are, where we are and what we do. We do not confuse the public because there is no authorised Porsche dealership here in North Cyprus.”
  • “The name of Porsche is not registered in Respondent’s location.”
  • “The Disputed Domain Name ‘was free to purchase’ by Complainant, which ‘unfortunately missed the opportunity’ to do so.”

But does the fact that there is no official car dealership lessen the severity of the Respondent’s actions with regards to the domain?

According to Douglas M. Isenberg, sole panelist in this case:

“The fact here that Respondent’s physical “building do[es] not pass or resemble a Porsche dealership at all” is irrelevant given that Internet users may not immediately, if ever, view Respondent’s building. Rather, the confusion caused by Respondent’s website establishes bad faith because “Respondent’s use of the Domain Name to promote and sell the products of other manufacturers indicates an attempt to divert Internet users looking for Complainant to Respondent’s website for commercial gain.”

Naturally, the decision was that the domain should be transferred to the Complainant.

As a side note, there is no such nation as “North Cyprus.”

The name was given to occupied territory of the Republic of Cyprus, in a unilateral declaration by Turkey; the occupied territory deposed thousands of Cypriots after a Turkish invasion in 1974.

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