Two geographic domain names have become the subject of two separate UDRP proceedings at the World Intellectual Property Organization. A UDRP was filed against Versailles.com (WIPO Case D2017-1016), and a UDRP was filed against VisitVersailles.com (WIPO Case D2017-0985).
Versailles.com and VisitVersailles.com are owned by two different registrants, which is why there are two separate UDRP filings. Versailles.com was registered over 20 years ago (back in 1996) and is owned by someone in Houston, Texas. VisitVersailles.com has a creation date of September of 2006, although the domain name had been registered and expired prior to that. This domain name is owned by a registrant in Laredo, Texas.
When I visited Versailles.com this afternoon, the domain name resolved to a default GoDaddy landing page. When I visited VisitVersailles.com this afternoon, I was forwarded to a “coming soon” landing page on a different website (likely the owner of the domain name).According to NameBio, Versailles.com was acquired at auction for $35,000 back in 2009. Based on DomainTools’ Whois History tool, it appears that the domain name changed hands since the auction, although that is just a guess.
The complainant in both of these UDRP proceedings is Commune De Versailles Collectivite Territoriale. I did a Google search for this complainant, and I found a trademark for the “Versailles” term in Trademarkia. I am unsure if this entity is affiliated with any governmental agency or organization.
I don’t speak (or understand) French, but I always assumed Versailles is French palace and geographic area that has become a major tourist attraction. I don’t really see how all of the elements of the UDRP could be proven, but these will certainly be interesting UDRP proceedings to follow.
As an aside, although I have been to France several times, I have never visited Versailles. That said, my favorite room/exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City is the Versailles room, which is a painting around a circular room that offers a panoramic view of Versailles.
Update: UDRPSearch.com is showing that the Versailles.com UDRP has been terminated. The current Whois record shows that this domain name has changed hands. I reached out to the former registrant to ask if he can confirm that the domain name was sold or if he gave it up.
Update # 2: UDRPSearch.com is showing the VisitVersailles.com UDRP complaint has been denied, and the domain owner will retain the domain name.