Olympics Group Sues ‘Tokyo 2020' Domain Registrant

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By Joseph Wright

Nov. 6 — A domain name registrant violated state and federal law by registering domain names consisting of city names and Olympic years, according to a complaint filed Nov. 5 by the International Olympic Committee.

The IOC and its U.S. counterpart alleged that the registrations violate federal and Texas state statutes protecting Olympics-related intellectual property, along with the federal Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(d), and the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a).

The U.S. Olympic Committee previously attempted to recover Chicago2016.com from Frayne through the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy's arbitration procedure. Frayne filed suit to validate his registration (14 ECLR 1469, 10/14/09), and according to the complaint, the USOC settled Frayne's suit, taking him at his word that he intended to use the names to create noncommercial forums for Olympics-related discussion.

When the IOC sought Tokyo2020.com for the upcoming Summer Olympics, however, it discovered that Frayne owned the string. The IOC uncovered a video, the complaint alleged, of Frayne soliciting investors for the monetization of additional city-year combinations.

Frayne allegedly used the Beijing2008.com domain for services related to the 2008 Summer Olympics, including event scores, ticket brokerages and local lodging.

The complaint identified 177 city-year combinations owned by Frayne as .org or .com domain names, including names containing past host cities Los Angeles, Mexico, Tokyo, Rome and Paris.

The Olympics-related statutes are the Olympic and Amateur Sports Act, 36 U.S.C. § 220506(c), and Tex. Bus. & Com. Code § 16.105.

Pirkey Barber PLLC represented the IOC and USOC.

To contact the reporter on this story: Joseph Wright in Washington at jwright@bna.com