Rothschild winery stops cybersquatter

International

In Baron Philippe de Rothschild SA v Nick Gebbie, French wine producer Baron Philippe de Rothschild SA received a strong decision from a World Intellectual Property Organization panellist in its case against UK-based Nick Gebbie, who had registered and used four domain names containing the CHATEAU MOUTON ROTHSCHILD trademark.

Rothschild, which has been producing wines since 1853, brought its complaint against Gebbie after learning that he had placed for sale on the auction website Afternic.com four domain names: 'ChateauMoutonRothschild.com', 'Chateau-MoutonRothschild.com', 'ChateauMouton-Rothschild.com' and 'Chateau-Mouton-Rothschild.com'. Rothschild tried to negotiate a voluntary transfer of the domain names but Gebbie insisted on receiving several cases of wine in return.

The panellist, Luca Barbero, found that Gebbie's requests for wine in exchange for transfer of the domain names to Rothschild constituted an offer in excess of his registration costs and bad faith under Paragraph 4 of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy.

The decision demonstrates that an offer to sell a domain name in exchange for a product rather than money may constitute bad faith with intent to profit.

James L Bikoff and Patrick L Jones, Silverberg Goldman & Bikoff LLP, Washington DC

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