French Retailer Sexodrome Loses Cybersquatting Case

Rhett Pardon

PARIS — Librairie des Artistes, which operates the Sexodrome sex shop in Paris as well as companion retail website, has lost its bid to gain control over two similar domain names, and

Librairie des Artistes in its cybersquatting case against respondent Deborah Benhamou of Ibiza, Spain, claimed that Benhamou used the domain name for links to other sites and to run an online sex shop.

Librairie des Artistes’ Sexodrome is a veritable institution among Parisians sex shops. Its Boulevard de Clichy location sells sex toys and novelties, as well as adult films and erotic lingerie, on three floors. It also holds a French trademark it registered in 2006 for its “Sexodrome” name used in conjunction with adult products.

Benhamou, who registered and in September, responded to the UDRP case, arguing that she’s entitled to use the domains because, outside of France, “Sexodrome” is generic and used in various countries and different parts in the erotic and pornographic industry.

“The suffix 'Drome' in English or French — or 'Drom' in German — is generic because it is used to refer to a movement or a race in words like velodrome, racecourse, aerodrome, motordrome,” an arbitrator wrote in the decision at WIPO. “The panel considers that the applicant cannot object to the international use of the term ‘Sexodrome’ in a domain name.”

As a result, an arbitrator denied Librairie des Artistes complaint over the two domains.