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Dec '23

Lamborghini battles Nashville car dealership over internet domain name — for the second time – Tennessean

John Pasas had something Lamborghini wanted, and he didn’t want to just give it up.
In August 2021, a year before the Italian automaker opened a dealership in Nashville, Tennessee, one of its attorneys sent Pasas a cease-and-desist letter, asking that he relinquish control of lamborghininashville.com, an internet domain name that had been registered since 2011.
The automaker also let him know that courts have made others pay for failing to transfer domain names – more than $130,000 for the owner of audisport.com, for example.
“I appreciate and respect your clients’ position regarding my company’s ownership of the domain, Lamborghininashville.com,” Pasas wrote back two weeks later. Pasas is the owner of the luxury car dealer Velocity Motorcars on Murfreesboro Pike.
“We are invested into the domain and I am unwilling to just hand it over. How would you suggest we proceed?”
It didn’t go well for Velocity.
An administrative panel from the World Intellectual Property Organization, a U.N. agency, found in May 2022 that the domain name was registered and used in bad faith, writing that Pasas’ letter was a “clear indication that the Respondent intended to negotiate and sell the Domain Name” at a favorable price.
The panel ordered Velocity Motorcars to transfer the domain name to Lamborghini.
But Velocity gave it another shot. It scooped up the domain name lamborghiniofnashville.net, which directs to Velocity Motorcars’ website.
Now it’s being sued.
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Lamborghini says that the domain name is “likely to be confused with Lamborghini’s legitimate online location at www.lamborghini.com,” and that Velocity is harming Lamborghini’s reputation while profiting off its name.
The automaker also says that Velocity’s use of Lamborghini’s trademarks in its garage and social media posts is unauthorized and that Velocity is “effectively holding itself out as a Lamborghini dealer despite maintaining no affiliation or relationship with Lamborghini.”
Lamborghini’s attorneys filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee on Sept. 18. The automaker is asking for $100,000 in damages and accusing Velocity of trademark infringement, trademark dilution and “cybersquatting,” a process of registering well-known brand names as internet domains and hoping to sell them at a profit. Cybersquatting has been a federal crime since 1999.
Pasas’ letter, the cease-and-desist letter and the World Intellectual Property Organization panel’s decision were all included as exhibits in the lawsuit.
Velocity Motorcars has not yet responded in court. When reached by telephone, an employee referred The Tennessean to a different employee, who chose not to comment on this story.
According to the administrative panel’s decision, the domain name did not resolve to any active website at the time of the decision.
Evan Mealins is the justice reporter for The Tennessean. Contact him at emealins@gannett.com or follow him on X, formerly known as Twitter, @EvanMealins.

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Joker
Joker

Joker has been buying and selling domains since the late 90's. He has worked with many portfolios and investors over the past decade as well.

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