WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
SERAP v. BENMAOR
Case No. D2000-0758
1. The Parties
1.1 The complainant is SERAP, a French limited Company registered before the "Registre du Commerce et des Sociétés" of Paris under the number 380 164 533 whose head office is 70, rue de Père Corentin – 75014 Paris, France.
1.2 The Respondent is Mr. William Benmaor, 22, avenue de Saint-Mandé – 75012 Paris, France.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
2.1 The domain name, which is the subject of this proceeding, is "serap.com", owned by the Respondent. The domain name is registered with Network Solutions, Inc.
3. Procedural History
3.1 On July 12, 2000, a Complaint was submitted to the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center ("WIPO") pursuant to the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy ("Policy"), to the Rules of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy ("Rules") and to the Center’s Supplemental Rules.
3.2 On July 18, 2000, a Request for Registrar Verification was sent to Network Solutions, Inc. which issued its verification on July 21, 2000.
3.3 The Notification of Complaint was sent from WIPO to Respondent by e-mail, courier, and facsimile on July 25, 2000, thus commencing this administrative proceeding.
3.4 No formal Response was filed by the Respondent.
3.5 The Notification of Appointment of an Administrative Panel ("Panel") was sent on August 22, 2000.
4. Factual Background
4.1 Complainant owns the registered trademark SERAP in classes 1 to 42, registered at the French trademark office on March 31, 1982, and renewed on February 24, 1992, for a period of ten years.
4.2 Complainant owns the domain name "serap.fr" and is used as of the date of the Complaint to give access to the Complainant’s Web site. Date of first use is not provided by Complainant.
4.3 Respondent has not filed any word marks neither device marks "SERAP".
4.4 Respondent has been working as an employee for the Complainant since September 1, 1983. On October 5, 1994 he was dismissed from his functions allegedly for serious professional malpractice. At that point a dispute, then a trial arose between the parties.
4.5 The domain name "serap.com" was registered by the Respondent on October 7, 1997.
5. Parties’ Contentions
5.1 Complainant argues that the domain name in dispute is identical to Complainant’s trademark.
5.2 Complainant argues that the Respondent’s domain name has been registered in bad faith in order to sell it back to it. In a certification made on honor and dated June 28, 2000, Complainant’s chairman declared that the Respondent spoke to him this same month and offered to sell the domain name in dispute for "the amount he had claimed in damages" that is to say less than one million French francs. In this same meeting, the Respondent mentioned that if the Complainant would have tried "to get back the domain name without his agreement, he had a buyer in South Africa and that this sale could happen very quickly."
5.3 Complainant argues that Respondent deliberately registered the domain name in dispute to prevent the Complainant, his former employer, from using "serap.com".
5.4 Complainant requests transfer of the Respondent’s domain name.
5.5 No formal response was filed by the Respondent.
5.6 The Respondent only sent an e-mail to the Center dated August 3, 2000, saying he no longer had any interest in keeping the domain name in dispute, and that he had registered this domain name because the management of the Complainant at that date had no interest in the Internet. Consequently, he argued that he acted in the sole interest of the company.
7.1 The Panel states that the Respondent’s domain name "serap.com" is identical to the mark of the Complainant "SERAP" which has been registered more than fifteen years before.
7.2 The Panel also states that the Respondent, a French citizen, has no rights nor legitimate interests in such domain name as he acknowledges.
7.3 The Panel considers that the Complainant has established a prima facie case that the Respondent registered the said domain name primarily for the purpose of preventing its former employer from using it, or for selling the domain name registration to the Complainant. The Respondent has not adduced any or any sufficient evidence to rebut that case. In particular Respondent did not deny the allegation of the Complainant that he registered the domain name in order to sell it for not less than one million French francs. The Panel also states that the Respondent acknowledges that he registered the domain name knowing that the Complainant was the only one having rights in it, even though Respondent indicates that he did that in the sole interest of the Complainant. Consequently, the Panel decides that the domain name has been registered in bad faith.
7.4 The Panel hereby decides that the domain name "serap.com" should be transferred to the Complainant.
Dated: September 4, 2000