Porn cybersquatting complaint is an ABSOLUT success

International

In V&S Vin & Sprit AB v Ducos, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) panellist Matthew Harris has ordered the transfer of 'absolutbabes.com' to the complainant - the owner of the ABSOLUT mark for vodka. Harris held that the addition of the suffix 'babes' did not render the domain name distinctive and did not prevent it from suggesting that it had some sort of connection with the complainant.

Swedish company V&S Vin & Spirit AB, a manufacturer and seller of alcoholic drinks, owns a number of international registrations for ABSOLUT for vodka and other alcoholic beverages. It filed a complaint with WIPO under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) against Corinne Ducos, a Spanish individual, for her registration and use of 'absolutbabes.com'. She registered the domain name in 2001 and was using it as a portal to several pornographic websites.

Pursuant to Article 4 of the UDRP, V&S argued that:

  • the disputed domain name was confusingly similar to its ABSOLUT trademark;

  • Ducos had no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name; and

  • the domain name was registered and had been used in bad faith.

Harris agreed and ordered the transfer of 'absolutbabes.com'. He cited a number of cases involving domain names comprising the mark ABSOLUT and various suffixes, and upheld the reasoning in these decisions. He found that the addition of the suffix 'babes' did not render the domain name distinctive and did not prevent it from suggesting that it had some sort of connection with V&S. He also agreed with V&S's assertion that Ducos had registered 'absolutbabes.com' in bad faith because she must have been aware of the ABSOLUT mark's reputation prior to registration and was using the domain name for commercial gain.

For discussion of another case involving the ABSOLUT mark in which a Danish Internet Forum panel came to an opposite conclusion, see Owner of ABSOLUT mark loses 'absolutsex.dk' dispute.

Maria Bricall, Mullerat, Barcelona

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