WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Alfred Dunhill Limited vs NSC Enterprises
Case No. D 2000-0525
1. The Parties
Complainant: Alfred Dunhill Ltd, 30 Duke Street, St. James's, London SWIY 6DL, UK
Respondent: NSC Enterprises, Barcote Tower, Barcote Park, Nr Buckland, Oxon SN7 8PP, UK
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
ALFREDDUNHILLS.COM, registered by Network Solutions, Inc. on December 6, 1999, in favor of the Respondent as Registrant (Administrative Contact: Carlo Miller of the Respondent's address; Technical and Zone Contacts, Nameclaim Hostmaster and NameClaim, The Innovation Centre, Kingston Bagpuize, Oxon OX13 5AP; Billing Contact: Steve Robson at NameClaim).
3. Procedural History
(1) The Complaint in Case D 2000 0525 was filed on June 2, 2000.
(2) The WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center has found that:
- the complaint was filed in accordance with the requirements of the Rules and Supplemental Rules for the Dispute Resolution Policy;
- payment for filing was properly made;
- the Complaint complies with the formal requirements.
The Panel accepts these findings and itself finds that:
- the Complaint was properly notified in accordance with the Rules, paragraph 2(a) in that the Complaint was sent to the Respondent and to the Administrative, Technical, Zone and Billing Contacts named above at the addresses there given by post/courier, fax and email;
- no Response to the Complaint was filed in due time;
- notification of this Default was given to the Respondent and the above named contacts by Post/Courier dispatched on July 3, 2000, and by E-mail on July 19, 2000; and that
- the Administrative Panel was properly constituted.
(3) The Panelist submitted a Statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality and Independence.
(4) There have been no further submissions in the Case.
(5) The date scheduled for issuance of a decision is: August 7, 2000.
(6) No extensions have been granted or orders issued in advance of this decision.
(7) The language of the proceedings is English.
4. Factual Background
(1) The Complainant has demonstrated that it is registered proprietor of ten United Kingdom trade marks, all consisting of "Alfred Dunhill" with or without a device or other words. The registrations are for a considerable variety of goods in different classes of the register. They were obtained on various dates between March 7, 1944 and March 28, 2000.
(2) The Complainant has produced evidence to demonstrate that it has a long-established business in selling various luxury items, including menswear and accessories, first in the UK and subsequently in North America, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Australia and elsewhere. It is known as the sponsor of prestigious sporting events, as well as being widely advertised, its mark is prominently used on the website of its parent corporation, richemont.com. Its products and services are the subject of newspaper articles of which examples have been provided.
(3) After becoming aware of the Res;pondent's registration of the domain name in issue, on March 3, 2000, the Complainant's representative wrote to the Respondent drawing attention to its registered trademarks which use "Alfred Dunhill". The letter was sent by post and email to the Respondent's above address and to the Administrative Contact at that address. No response was received.
(4) While, on March 3, 2000, the Complainant was unable to access any website by use of the domain name in issue, by March 28 it found that the name gave access to a website relating to a company called Just Rams plc. Just Rams there advertises at some length its services as a computer memory specialist. The same site can be accessed through the domain name, justrams.com.
5. Partiesí Contentions
The Complainant asserts:
- that the Respondentís domain name at issue is identical or confusingly similar to the Complainantís registered marks referred to in Paragraph 4 above;
- that the Respondent has no legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
- that it has registered and used the domain name in bad faith.
Accordingly the Complainant seeks transfer of the domain name in issue to itself.
The Respondents have not filed a response and the Dispute has therefore to be determined on the basis of the Complainantís assertions.
6. Discussion and Findings
The Complainant has established that it has a large and well-known business built around the trademark, "Alfred Dunhill". The version of this taken by the Respondent for the domain name in issue is identical save for the addition of a final 's'. Whether this is intended to indicate a plural or a genitive, it is very close to the Complainant's mark and it is inherently likely to be taken by members of the public as confusingly similar to that mark. The Respondent has not sought to show that it has any legitimate business interest which would justify its registration and use of the domain name.
While the Complainant has not received any offer or other suggestion about purchasing the domain name, it has shown that, once it raised its objections with the Respondent, the domain name was used as an address leading to the Just Ram's website. What the connection between the Respondent and Just Rams is has gone unexplained, since there has been no response to the complaint. Whatever it may be, it is plain that a member of the public who used the domain name to make a contact which proves to be with Just Rams is inherently likely to suppose that that company is in some way connected with the Complainant.
The Panel accordingly concludes that this use of the domain name has been in bad faith, consisting of "using or preparing to use the domain name so as intentionally to attempt to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to the web site, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainantsí marks and business name as the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of that web site". In the circumstances, including in particular the absence of any response, it must equally be inferred that the initial registration was in bad faith.
The Panel decides, in accordance with the Uniform Domain Name Resolution Policy, Paragraph 4:
- that the domain name in dispute is identical or confusingly similar with the registered trade marks and the service mark of the Complainants;
- that the Respondent has no right or legitimate interest in respect of the domain name; and
- that it has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Panel accordingly requires that the domain name ALFREDDUNHILLS.COM be transferred forthwith to the Complainant.
William R. Cornish
Dated: August 4, 2000