• Chicago's Olympic Bid Team Battles for Domain Name
  • October 28, 2008
  • Law Firm: Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP - Los Angeles Office
  • As Chicago vies to be selected as the host city for the 2016 Olympics, it’s also fighting to get control over the domain name of Chicago2016.com.

    The address currently belongs to Stephen Frayne, Jr., a 29-year-old MBA student at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, who registered it in 2004, two years before Chicago threw its hat into the Olympic rings. It’s one of about 40 online addresses combining a city name and year, including Tokyo2016.com, that Frayne has laid claim to in recent years.

    Chicago, Tokyo, Madrid, and Rio de Janeiro are in a four-way contest to host the 2016 Olympics.

    Chicago uses Chicago2016.org as its official Web site and has the trademark for Chicago 2016. It has filed a complaint with an arbitration organization pursuant to the rules of the Uniform Domain Name Resolution Policy to gain the rights to Chicago2016.com.

    Last week Frayne filed a complaint in federal court in Chicago against Chicago 2016, the U.S. Olympic Committee, and the Japanese company Domain Trade Inc., seeking damages and injunctive relief staying the arbitration and protecting his claims to Chicago2016.com and Tokyo2016.com.

    Late last month, Frayne launched Chicago2016.com as a forum for discussing Chicago’s bid, and he says that he plans to shortly launch Tokyo2016.com as well.

    Frayne’s complaint states that his aim is to encourage public discussion over whether the Olympic bid is the best use of officials’ time, taxpayers’ money, and local citizens’ money, and about how the Olympics would affect the city. “This case represents an important battle for First Amendment rights and the use of the Internet as a forum to foster debate over a topic that deserves to be discussed,” his lawsuit states. His site includes a prominent disclaimer across the top of every page that states it is not the official Chicago 2016 site, with a link directly below to the official site.