The summer of 2003 will remain in the French collective memory as a landmark period: tragedy as a result of the hot weather, but fortunately also joy and festivities thanks to the year’s sporting events, such as the 100th Tour de France and the World Athletics Championships 2003 which graced Paris.
At a time when the WIPO has recently announced the submission to its Arbitration and Mediation Centre of the 5000th cybersquatting dispute under the UDRP, pointing out the coincidence that this 5000th dispute (filed by the English football club Tottenham Hotspur) was submitted by a sporting organisation, just like the first dispute (filed by the World Wrestling Federation in 1999), we would like to examine certain aspects of the relationship between the world of sport and the Internet, a relationship which is not always very clear-cut, as appears from a closer examination of the status of the "Tour de France" on the Net.
It seems that cycling in general, and the Tour de France in particular, have not so far been represented in the UDRP procedures.
Should this silence (at first glance fairly reassuring) be interpreted as lack of interest in the event on the part of the cybersquatters?
The "Société du TOUR DE FRANCE", a subsidiary of the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) group, and holder of the trademarks "Le Tour de France", "Le Tour" and "Tour de France", is known for defending its rights in the TOUR DE FRANCE, whether this be over infringement of trademarks or corporate names, or free-riding, as shown by the Gemka Production/Société Tour de France (C.A. Paris (Paris appeal court), 28 March 2001) and SA Tour Voile vs. SA Tour de France and B.D. (C.A. Paris (Paris appeal court), 13 June 2001) cases.
To prolong the pleasure of this hundredth anniversary Tour, we decided to carry out a limited survey of domain names, looking for our favourite summertime sporting saga along the byways of the domain name system, and at the same time verify whether things were going well for "Le Tour" on the Internet.
Prologue: is "Le Tour" for sale?
Well, "tour-de-france.info" is for sale, and this is not an isolated case:
- the site offering for sale the name "letourdefrance.net", which was created on 24 June 2003 and is available from only €100, states that the offer is viewed 3 times a day on average;
- this obviously looks like a bargain basement price compared with the $2500 being asked for "tourdefrance.org"!
- "tourdefrance2003.com" is available for enthusiasts of this year’s news;
- you might also consider the investment opportunity offered by "tourdefrancecycliste.com", or, in forward-thinking management mode, prepare for the future by opting for "tour2005.com";
- just about everything is up for sale, including the domain name "lance-armstrong.com".
The organisers? we can confirm that we are not talking about "Tour de France Ltd", a travel company specialising in French tours...
Pyrenees stage: be careful, the French word tour is also the word for tower, as you will see if you take a break in La Tour de France (66720), the first French village after the border with Spain (before the Treaty of the Pyrenees). This village, if we are to believe the Société des Vignerons de La Tour de France (Company of Wine-Producers of La Tour De France), is also a significant gastronomical centre ("The AOC Côtes du Roussillon Villages ‘La Tour de France’ is undoubtedly the ultimate in what is harvested and presented").
The rest day on our tour of "Tour de France" domain names is a stage which could be known as the "Pink Jersey"...: clicking on the [enter] button gives you the opportunity, if you wish, to install a "connection kit" to a site which, according to the so-called "Welcome" notice, is "of a pornographic nature".
Individual time trial: a twisting route through the labyrinth of variations (all based on a single name) known as typosquatting, from "tour de france.com" and "tourdefranc.com", stages where bikinis are de rigueur, "tour-defrance.com" ("we have expert advice on violence in sports"), "touredefrance.com" and "tourdafrance.com".
At the finishing line of our tour of "Tour de France" domain names, we find ourselves with a tie between three winners, the three official sites (all of which we warmly recommend you to visit): letour.fr letour.com and letourdefrance.com
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