International Olympic Committee tries to shoehorn a trademark dispute through UDRP

No, Soccer Store is not confusingly similar to The Olympic Store.

The International Olympic Committee argued that “Soccer Store” was confusingly similar to “The Olympic Store”.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC), the group that organizations the international Olympic Games, has lost a cybersquatting battle it brought against the domain name SoccerStore .cc.

On all accounts, it seems that the owner of this domain used it to sell unauthorized Olympic merchandise. But cybersquatting? That doesn’t make any sense, and the World Intellectual Property Organization panelist called out the IOC for this.

The IOC argued that SoccerStore .cc cybersquats on its The Olympic Store trademarks. It (bizarrely) claimed that SoccerStore .cc is confusingly similar to that trademark.

The disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark THE OLYMPIC STORE. The disputed domain name not only incorporates the element STORE, but also substitutes the element “OLYMPIC” with the most popular sport and an Olympic discipline, namely “SOCCER”.

Um, you kind of replaced the key element of the trademark!

Panelist John Swinson wrote:

Moreover, the dominant feature of the Complainant’s trademark is OLYMPIC. This word does not appear in the disputed domain name…

…The dominant feature of the disputed domain name – if there can be said to be one – is “soccer”.

The term that is common between the disputed domain name and the Complainant’s trademark is the word “store”. The Complainant has no trademark rights in the word “store” alone.

He ruled that the domain is not confusingly similar to a trademark in which the Complainant has rights and denied the case.

Swinson noted that the IOC might have a legal case against the domain owner, but it’s certainly not cybersquatting under UDRP.

Bird & Bird LLP represented the IOC. The domain owner didn’t submit a formal response.

Post link: International Olympic Committee tries to shoehorn a trademark dispute through UDRP

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