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Marathons, China and geodomains: UDRP against domain failed

The battle of Marathon inspired the modern 26.2 mile race.

The battle of Marathon is causing trademark battles as well.

There are plenty of marathon races around the world, and it seems these days several companies take advantage of a purely geographical term, that of the Greek city of Marathon.

If anything else, Marathonor, Marathonas, in modern Greekshould sue each and every company making use of its historic locale.

Apparently, there is a marathon race that takes place alongside the Great Wall of China. A Danish company organizing such events, filed a UDRP for the domain GreatWallChinaMarathon.com.

The Complainant, Albatros Travel of Copenhagen, Denmark, threw their legal spears at the Respondent, who operates a blog about the particular marathon race in China:

“The Complainant says it uses the mark GREAT WALL MARATHON for travel services in connection with arranging and conducting a marathon race. The race takes place in China once a year in May. It is an event which combines running with exploring China. The Complainant says that it has used its mark since 1999 in that connection. The Complainant has also registered associated domain names: <great-wall-marathon.com> which was registered in August, 1998 and <greatwallmarathon.com> registered in July 2009. The Complainant uses these domain names to promote the marathon race and offer related travel services.”

The Respondent was completely taken aback by the trademark claims, and emailed them with the following, alongside a formal response:

“My name is Katie, I am a volunteer for The Great Wall of China Marathon. We are just now seeing your emails from our former web administrator…This has become a surprise to us and clearly the former webpage administrator has not acted on our behalf in this matter. This website is owned by The Great Wall of China Marathon, a Chinese owned and government sponsored company, that is held on May 1st since 2000 in the Jinshanling Great Wall area. This marathon has been known to your clients for many years and has not been an issue until now.”

Apparently, the former administrator, a “Terry Majamäki” from Finland, forwarded the domain to his blog, unbeknownst to the Chinese Great Wall marathon race organizers.

Needless to say that the Respondent fought back, and James A. Barker, sole panelist in this UDRP, found that the Respondent has legitimate rights in the domain GreatWallChinaMarathon.com, thus denying transfer.

For the full text of this UDRP, click here.

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