BMW dealer wins 'bmwimport.dk' from unauthorized importer

Denmark

In NIC Christiansen Gruppen v Autoformidleren, a Danish Internet Forum (DIFO) panel has ordered the transfer of the domain name 'bmwimport.dk' after finding that its registration by Autoformidleren breached the Danish Trademarks Act and Marketing Practices Act.

Autoformidleren imports second-hand BMW automobiles into Denmark. It registered 'bmwimport.dk' as a portal directing internet users to its website, hosted under the domain name 'autoformidleren.dk'. The website's homepage displayed, among other things, the picture of a BMW car and the text "BMW special import and styling". NIC Christiansen Gruppen, the exclusive distributor of BMW cars in Denmark, launched an administrative proceeding with DIFO to obtain the transfer of 'bmwimport.dk' on the grounds that (i) it has exclusive rights to the BMW mark in Denmark under the terms of its dealership agreement, and (ii) the domain name was confusingly similar to the name of its subsidiary BMW Import A/S.

The DIFO panel ordered the transfer of the disputed domain name. It found that BMW (i) is a well-known mark, and (ii) was the dominant element of the domain name at issue. Further, the domain name was identical to the corporate name of NIC's subsidiary. Accordingly, the panel found that the registration of 'bmwimport.dk' breached Section 4 of the Trademarks Act and Section 5 of the Marketing Practices Act.

Peter Gustav Olson, Plesner Svane Grønborg, Copenhagen

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