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France’s tennis federation has won a cybersquatting dispute centring on a domain name claiming to show the schedule for the French Open tennis tournament, which kicks off in Paris later this month.
The Fédération Française de Tennis (FFT) successfully ordered the transfer of the domain rolandgarros2016schedule.com in a dispute at the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Arbitration and Mediation Center.
Indian resident Bajirao Mastani registered the domain on March 21 this year through registry BigRock Solutions, prompting the FFT to file a complaint under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy.
The FFT, the governing body for tennis in France, claimed that the domain was confusingly similar to trademarks it owns for the term ‘Roland Garros’ and had been registered in bad faith.
Roland Garros was an aviation pioneer who was killed in aerial combat in 1918. In 1927, France’s main tennis stadium was named after Garros. Since then, the French Open, one of tennis’s four major annual tournaments, has been unofficially known as ‘Roland Garros’.
In a decision handed down on May 4, but published today, May 12, sole panellist Benoit Van Asbroeck wrote: “This panel finds that the complainant has clearly evidenced that it has registered trademark rights in ‘Roland Garros’.
Second, he said, the disputed domain fully incorporates the trademark to which the FFT has exclusive rights.
“The addition of the generic terms ‘2016’ and ‘schedule’ does not prevent the disputed domain name from being confusingly similar to the trademark,” Van Asbroeck said.
He added that Mastani had no rights or interests in the domain and that it had been registered in bad faith.
The French Open starts on May 22 in Paris.
Roland Garros, domain names, sport, cybersquatting, Fédération Française de Tennis, trademark