Owner of ABSOLUT mark loses 'absolutsex.dk' dispute

Denmark

In V&S Vin & Sprit AB v QX Media (Case 2000-233), a Danish Internet Forum panel has refused to transfer 'absolutsex.dk' to the complainant owner of the famous ABSOLUT mark for vodka. The panel held that the two parties offer different goods and services, the word 'absolut' (meaning 'absolute') is a common Danish word and that 'sex' is the dominant part of the domain name.

V&S Vin & Sprit is a Swedish manufacturer of alcoholic beverages and owner of the ABSOLUT mark. It brought a claim for trademark infringement against QX Media for its registration and use of 'absolutsex.dk' to host a pornographic website.

The panel rejected V&S's claim and refused to order the transfer of the domain name. It noted that ABSOLUT is well known in Denmark but held that the actual use of the domain name, even though it is being used to host a pornographic website, does not take unfair advantage of the goodwill in the mark. The goods and services offered by QX Media are different from those offered by V&S. Thus, said the panel, the use is not likely to cause confusion with V&S or its products.

The panel further reasoned that 'absolut' is a common Danish word. Therefore, it is not possible to prohibit every commercial use of that term. Other parties, stated the panel, must be able to use the word commercially, if there is no risk of confusion.

It also held that, on examination of QX Media's actual use of the domain name, 'sex' is the dominant element and 'absolut' is used merely as an adjective.

Peter Gustav Olson, Plesner Svane Grønborg, Copenhagen

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