WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Revillon S.A. v. Fur Online Inc.
Case No. D2000-0632
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Revillon S.A., a corporation organized under the laws of France, having its principal place of business at 40, rue la Boétie 75008, Paris, France.
The Respondent is Fur Online Inc., a corporation organized under the laws of the State of New York, USA, having its principal place of business at 2 Main Street, Roslyn, New York 11576, United States of America.
2. The Domain Name and the Registrar
The domain name at issue is "revillon.com" (hereinafter the "Domain Name"). The registrar is Network Solutions, Herndon, Virginia, USA (hereinafter the "Registrar").
3. Procedural History
On June 19, 2000, the Complainant filed a complaint (hereinafter the "Complaint") with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (hereinafter the "Center"), a copy of which was notified on July 3, 2000, to the Respondent by e-mail and post. In an e-mail dated June 21, 2000, the Center sent a Request for Verification to the Registrar.
On June 25, 2000, the Registrar confirmed that the Domain Name had been registered via the Registrar’s registration services, that the Respondent was the current registrant of the Domain Name and that the Domain Name was active. The Registrar also confirmed that Network Solutions' 4.0 Service Agreement was applicable to the Domain Name.
The Center then proceeded to verify that the Complaint satisfied the formal requirements of the of Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (hereinafter the "Policy"), the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (hereinafter the "ICANN Rules") and the World Intellectual Property Organization Supplemental Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (hereinafter referred to as the "WIPO Rules"), including the payment of the requisite fees. The verification of compliance with the formal requirements was completed in the affirmative on July 3, 2000.
The administrative panel (the "Panel") has reviewed the documentary evidence provided by the parties and the Center and agrees with the Center’s assessment that the Complaint complies with the formal requirements of the ICANN Rules and the WIPO Rules.
In a letter dated July 3, 2000, the Center informed the Respondent of the commencement of the proceedings as of July 3, 2000, and of the rule providing for a response to the Complaint within 20 days.
On July 22, 2000, the Respondent filed a response (hereinafter the "Response") within the 20 day limit as provided for by the Center. On July 27, 2000, the Center acknowledged receipt of the Response.
On August 14, 2000, Complainant filed an unsolicited reply (hereinafter the "Reply"). On August 16, 2000, Respondent filed a sur-reply (hereinafter the "Sur-reply").
On August 24, 2000, the Center informed the Parties that an administrative panel (the "Panel") has been appointed and transferred the file to the Panel. The Panel believes it was constituted in compliance with the ICANN Rules and the WIPO Rules and has also issued a Statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality and Independence.
The Panel is obliged to issue a decision on or prior to September 7, 2000, and is unaware of any other proceedings, which may have been undertaken by the parties or others in the present matter.
4. Factual Background
The Complainant is active in the fur fashion and perfume business (Complainant's Exhibit A) and owns a large number of REVILLON trademark registrations for fur items, perfumes etc. in numerous countries including France and the United States.
Copies of the corresponding registration certificates are attached to the Complaint as Annex D. The French Registration no. 287978 with filing date of July 12, 1933, is registered in classes 1-4, 9, 14, 18, 20-26, 28 and 31. The US Registration no. 1,114,335 (filing on February 23, 1978,) of the word mark REVILLON covers goods in class 3 and the US Registration no. 1,223,218 (filed March 31, 1981,) covers classes 9, 18, 24 and 25, and notably fur garments.
The Respondent owns the web site "furs.com" which contains information on fur fashion.
The Respondent registered the Domain Name with Registrar, on January 23, 1996.
5. Parties' Contentions
- that the extent and number of its trademark registrations demonstrates the importance of the REVILLON trademark in the world;
- that Complainant has first registered the REVILLON mark in 1933, and has established brand awareness in this trademark for luxury products including furs and perfumes in a wide geographical area;
- that the word element of its REVILLON marks is identical to the "revillon.com" Domain Name;
- that Respondent had no legitimate interest and no rights whatsoever in the Domain Name under debate;
- that Respondent's Domain Name "revillon.com" leads internet users directly to Respondent's site "furs.com"; and
- that Respondent has registered and used the "revillon.com" Domain Name to attract internet users to its own web site in order to profit from Complainant's brand image.
Complainant requests that the "revillon.com" Domain Name registration be transferred to Complainant.
- that its web site "furs.com" is the largest information resource in the Web for fur fashion and that this web site does not sell any products except magazine subscriptions;
- that in 1996, Complainant's president stated to Respondent's president that Complainant had no interest in the Domain Name "revillon.com";
- that Respondent's use of "revillon.com" has been openly conducted with the consent and authorization of Complainant for four years;
- that Complainant no longer has business in the United States.
In its Reply, Complainant claims that it has no intention to give up its commercial activities in the United States. Further, Complainant denies that it gave its consent to Respondent to register and use the Domain Name.
In its Sur-reply, Respondent requested that Complainant's unsolicited Reply be barred from submission and reaffirmed the allegations contained in its Complaint.
6. Discussion and Findings
The Panel holds that Complainant's Reply of August 14, 2000, as well as Respondent's Sur-reply are admissible and relevant (ICANN Rules, para. 10 and 12).
In order for Complainant to prevail and have the disputed Domain Name "revillon.com" transferred to it, Complainant must prove the following (Policy, para. 4(a) (i-iii):
- the domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and
- the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
- the domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
Identical or Confusingly Similar
Complainant has shown that it owns numerous REVILLON trademark registrations claimed in particular for fur garments and perfumes in a considerable number of countries around the world. Respondent does not contest the existence of these trademark registrations owned by Complainant.
It is obvious that Respondent’s Domain Name "revillon.com" is identical to Complainant’s trademark REVILLON (e.g. US Registration no. 1,223,218), and this Panel so finds. It is already well established that the specific top level of the domain name such as ".net" or ".com" does not affect a domain name for the purpose of determining whether it is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark.
Legitimate Rights or Interests
Respondent states that it registered the Domain Name "revillon.com" with the knowledge and approval of Complainant. Complainant denies this allegation. The letters filed by Respondent in support of its claim (Respondent's Exhibits A and B) say nothing about Complainant's consent: Respondent's letter to Complainant of November 1, 1995, states in essence: "It was nice talking with you today. As you requested I am enclosing some information on Fur Online". Respondent's letter of January 15, 1996, contains season's greetings and asks Complainant whether it would be possible to have a meeting. These two letters merely show that there have been contacts between the Parties but do not prove Respondent's allegation that Complainant consented to Respondent's registration of the Domain Name at issue.
Further, Respondent has been commonly known by its company name Fur Online Inc. and by its domain name "furs.com", but not by the Domain Name "revillon.com". Respondent's web site "furs.com" is clearly a commercial web site, and the use of the "revillon.com" Domain Name to lead internet users to Respondent's web site cannot be deemed to qualify as legitimate or noncommercial use.
This Panel finds Respondent has not demonstrated its rights or legitimate interest in the disputed Domain Name "revillon.com" (Policy, para. 4 (c).
Registered and Used in Bad Faith
It is undisputed that Respondent owns and operates the web site "furs.com" for fur fashion. It is also clear that Respondent had actual knowledge of Complainant's prior trademark rights in the trademark REVILLON before registering the Domain Name.
Respondent's "revillon.com" site links internet users to Respondent's "furs.com" site (Complainant's Annex F). Internet users who know the Complainant's trademark REVILLON and look for Complainant's products under "revillon.com" are thus misdirected to Respondent's web site. This Panel holds that by using the domain name "revillon.com", Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, internet users to its "furs.com" web site by creating a likelihood of confusion as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of Respondent's web site (Policy, para. 4 (b) (iv).
This Panel thus finds Respondent has registered and is using the disputed Domain Name "revillon.com" in bad faith.
For all of the foregoing reasons, this Panel decides that the Domain Name registered by Respondent is identical to the trademarks in which the Complainant has rights, that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name, and that the Respondent's Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith. Accordingly, pursuant to Paragraph 4 (i) of the Policy, the Panel requires that the registration of the Domain Name "revillon.com" be transferred to the Complainant.
Dated: September 7, 2000