WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center – ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Case No. D2012-1894 Audi AG v. Stratofex
The Complainant is Audi AG of Ingolstadt, Germany, represented by HK2 Rechtsanwälte, Germany.
The Respondent is Stratofex of California, United States of America.
The disputed domain name <audicity.com> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with Tucows Inc. (the “Registrar”).
The Complainant is a German corporation with its principal office in Ingolstadt, Germany. The Complainant is a leading international car manufacturer. In 2011 the Complainant manufactured 1,363,788 cars and received revenue amounting to 44.096 million EUR.
The Complainant has held trade mark registrations for AUDI (the “AUDI Mark”) internationally, including the United States, the location of the Respondent. The AUDI Mark has been registered in the United States since at least 1997. The Complainant also maintains an official website at “www.audi.com”. In 2012 the Complainant introduced a new showroom in London called “Audi City London”. Audi City London operates as a “digital showroom” which uses technology to display every possible combination of Complainant’s products in a limited space. The Complainant plans to open 20 more Audi City showrooms by 2015.
The Domain Name <audacity.com> was created on September 15, 2001. The Domain Name redirects to a website (“Respondent’s Website”) that consists of what appears to be an old photo of San Francisco. Previously, the Respondent’s website has at various times contained photos of an electric guitar and the message “Somebody set us up the bomb!”
The Complainant makes the following contentions:
(i) that the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to the Complainant’s AUDI Mark;
(ii) that the Respondent has no rights nor any legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name; and
(iii) that the Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Complainant is the owner of the AUDI Mark. It owns a trade mark registration for the AUDI Mark in the United States, the location of the Respondent. The AUDI Mark is well-known and of strong reputation. Past UDRP panels have found the AUDI Mark to be distinctive and famous.
The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name. The Respondent is Stratofax or the natural person Paul Steffan who was behind Stratofax. Neither of these entities are permitted to use the Complainant’s trade marks or have acquired their own rights to the Domain Name. The Respondent is not an authorised user of the AUDI Mark nor is the Respondent authorised or affiliated with the Complainant.
The Respondent did not file a formal response to the Complaint, however Paul Steffan, the administrative contact and the person behind the Respondent sent or copied three e-mails… stating that the Respondent registered the Domain Name because it is a play on the words “audacity” and “audio”. He did not think of the Complainant when he came up with the Domain Name. Rather he registered the Domain Name to host his music work, which is an obsession of his.
The Respondent has held the Domain Name for many years and uses it primarily for email for family and some friends as well as for sharing personal music projects and field recordings that he makes, i.e. “AUDI-o related projects”.
Further @ http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/search/text.jsp?case=D2012-1894