The Applicant, Bayerische Motoren Werke AG ("BMW") a publicly-held stock corporation located in Germany and is one of the most successful manufacturers of automobiles and motorcycles in the world. BMW designs and produces premium vehicles under its 3 flagship brands, BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce, each... Read more
The Applicant, Bayerische Motoren Werke AG ("BMW") a publicly-held stock corporation located in Germany and is one of the most successful manufacturers of automobiles and motorcycles in the world. BMW designs and produces premium vehicles under its 3 flagship brands, BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce, each of which is a leader in its respective segment of the automotive industry.
As a global company, the BMW Group operates 25 production and assembly facilities in 14 countries and has a global sales network consisting of subsidiaries, authorized importers and authorized dealers in more than 140 countries. In 2011, the BMW Group sold about 1.67 million cars and more than 113,000 motorcycles worldwide. The profit before tax for the financial year 2011 for the BMW Group was EUR 7.4 billion on revenues amounting to EUR 68.8 billion. At 31 December 2011, the BMW Group had a workforce of approximately 100,000 employees.
With the brand MINI, owned by BMW since 2000, BMW has created the most exciting premium small car brand, extended its customer base, and increased its profitability. Small, exciting, smart, unique and earth-conscious are all ideas incorporated in the MINI brand concept. MINI branded cars are designed to be a perfect balance between effortless luxury and recognition of the urban lifestyle.
A. The MINI brand
MINI was already an iconic car brand long before BMW's involvement. In the second half of the 1950's, the management board of British Motor Corporation became convinced of the need to develop a small, fuel-efficient four-seat car. The MINI was launched in August 1959, and since that time has enjoyed continuous success in the market and built a strong reputation. With 5.3 million cars sold between 1959-1999, the original MINI was the most popular British car ever made. In 1995, readers of the British magazine Autocar voted the MINI as the "Car of the Century."
In 2000, BMW acquired the brand MINI from the Rover Group (a successor company of BMC) and production rights for the legendary car. BMW AG soon launched an updated version of the MINI. The new MINI was modernized, engineered and designed with the quality and safety features of BMW cars.
The new MINI was an instant success due to its distinctive design, fun go-cart driving experience, and an extensive range of equipment enabling driver customization. MINI now has an expanded model range that includes the MINI Convertible, the MINI Clubman, the MINI Countryman, the MINI Coupe and the MINI Roadster. MINI had its best year ever in 2011, selling a total of 285,060 units worldwide, and bringing total MINI sales by BMW to 2,084,519 cars since 2002.
The quality and reputation of the products bearing the MINI mark is demonstrated by the numerous awards won by BMW for its MINI branded cars, including the "Car of the Year 2001" in Auto Express (a leading UK car magazine), "Car of the year 2002" in Auto Motor Sport (a leading German car magazine) and "North American Car of the Year 2003". The MINI has been top-ranked in the small car category by readers of Auto Motor Sport every year since 2001. It was recently named "Car of the Decade" in January 2011 by the German automotive magazine Automobilwoche (translated "Automobile Week"), stating that no other model has had a greater influence on the automobile industry since the start of the 21st century.
BMW provides numerous services under the MINI mark, including financing services, leasing, insurance, maintenance, and repair services. BMW uses and licenses the MINI mark on a wide variety of lifestyle and merchandising products such as clothing, watches, sunglasses and leather goods.
Under the MINI brand, BMW is also involved in organizing events such as MINI United, where MINI enthusiasts meet at an open-air festival featuring motorsport events, music, fashion and entertainment. The MINI brand sponsors events such as the Burton Global Open Series, the Red Bull Crashed Ice, the Red Bull Art of Motion, and is also a sponsor of the British Olympic team in the 2012 Summer Games. MINI has been a sponsor of the Life Ball in Vienna since 2002.
Today, BMW maintains trademark registrations for the MINI name and logo in over 100 countries worldwide. MINI has long established secondary meaning as one of the most admired, distinctive and reputable trademarks in the automotive industry today.
B. MINI and the Internet
MINI is extensively promoted on the Internet by BMW and its MINI division. The main MINI website at MINI.COM has been active since 1997. The name MINI is registered in over 130 ccTLD and gTLDs, and these sites receive approximately 60 million hits annually.
MINI has also built a successful online community under MINISpace.com, which brings together those interested in urban culture and other creative projects. This site embraces the lifestyle, people and activities that reflect or complement the MINI brand. MINI is also successful in social media channels. MINI's Facebook community, for example, has more than 4M followers.
Furthermore, BMW ensures that MINI drivers are connected to their environment, not only through GPS, but also through the Internet and mobile phone apps. The MINI Connected App, for example, enables MINI drivers to use their iPhone to connect to Facebook or Twitter from the car screen, to access Google Local Searches and Send-To Car functions, as well as other infotainment and online functions.
C. MINI and dotBrand
With this application for ".MINI," BMW seeks to underline its position as a leader and innovator within the automotive industry.
The ".MINI" TLD will enable the company to communicate with all of its dealers, partners, affiliates, customers, investors and the general public in a streamlined and consistent manner. The ".MINI" TLD will further enable BMW and its MINI division to provide a single location where customers may research product information and where authorized dealers or affiliates may advertise in a MINI-endorsed, authenticated space.
The ".MINI" space is intended to benefit Internet users by enabling BMW and its MINI division to communicate more easily and effectively with them under the unique nexus of the TLD. Internet users will have the comfort and peace of mind that comes with knowing they are interacting with the company in a safe online space, and that all of the information they are viewing is authentic.
The ".MINI" Registry Service Provider will manage the Internet space under the direct control of BMW. This will allow the distribution and exchange of information between BMW, their subsidiaries, official importers, dealers, customers, and other relevant parties by means of, but not limited to, websites, social networks, email and other technologies that will reside within the ".MINI" domain name space.
BMW envisages the TLD to follow a single-registrant model, wherein all registrations within the space are held by the BMW company itself. Appropriate corporate divisions, subsidiaries, authorized importers and dealers, or other authorized or affiliated entities may apply to the trademark department of the Applicant company to request authorization to license the use of such registrations. BMW shall review such requests and, in its sole discretion, may grant such licenses on a case-by-case basis. In all cases, BMW shall monitor the use of all ".MINI" domain names to ensure that the content of the associated websites remains current and appropriate to the ".MINI" space.
BMW and its MINI division believe that there are great opportunities with the ".MINI" TLD, especially as new initiatives are developed in the future. Additional TLD webpage hierarchy will be developed through the creative use of intuitive second-level domains and URL-shortening, which will open the door to new opportunities for international marketing campaigns.×