A Sydney brothel has successfully rebuffed an attempt by US lingerie giant Victoria's Secret to take its domain name VictoriasSecrets.com.au.
The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPRO) panel ruled that the brothel likely registered its name to benefit from Victoria's Secret's fame but the US retailer left it too long to chase up the case.
The United Nations agency handed down the ruling on July 3 but the brothel has yet to make use of its domain name, with a web page promising: "website coming soon".
Victoria's Secret — the largest lingerie retailer in the US with more than 1000 stores — sent the brothel a cease and desist letter in 2005 but never responded when the Sydney business denied liability.
It lodged a complaint with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPRO) seven years later, on May 4.
But panelist Andrew Christie ruled that in that time it became possible for the brothel to acquire a legitimate interest in the domain name through subsequent use of it.
To help prove the brothel's use of its name, its legal representatives CG Lawyers sent the panel a copy of Penthouse magazine that featured an ad for its services.
The brothel initially denied the infringement on the basis that the Victoria's Secret trademark was "not well-known" and operated in a different industry.
The Sydney business has not yet responded to ninemsn's requests for comment.
Author: Alys Francis. Approving editor: Fiona Willan.