WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center




Case No. D 2000-0924


1. The Parties

Complainant is La Française Des Jeux, having its registered offices at 5/7 rue Beffroy 92200 Neuilly sur Seine, France. Complainant is represented by Attorney Hubert d'Alverny whose principal place of business is located at 24 Place du Général Catroux, 75017 Paris, France. Hereinafter referred to as "Complainant".

Respondent is Visiotex S.A., with a declared address at 1250 Hallandale Blvd n°502, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33009, USA, with a declared administrative contact to the attention of Paule Arfi, P.O. Box 24216, Tel Aviv, il 61241, Israel and with a declared technical contact to attention of Eitan Golan, Groupe Bazak Telecom, P.O. Box 24216, Tel Aviv, il 61241, Israel. Hereinafter referred to as "Respondent".


2. The Domain Name(s) and Registrar(s)

The domain name at issue is: "lafrancaisedesjeux.com" (hereinafter referred to as "the Domain Name").

The registrar of the Domain Name at issue is Network Solutions (NSI), 505 Huntmar Park Drive, Herndon, VA 20170, USA. (hereinafter referred to as "Registrar").


3. Procedural History

On October 19, 2000, after having receiveding Benoit Van Asbroeck’s completed and signed statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality and Independence, the WIPO Center transmitted to the parties a Notification of Appointment of Administrative Panel.

On August 2, 2000, the Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center by e-mail (with hard copy received on August 4, 2000).The procedural history prior to the appointment of the Administrative Panel can be summarised as follows:

On August 7, 2000, the Center acknowledged receipt of the Complaint.

On August 8, 2000, the Center transmitted via e-mail to Network Solutions, Inc. a request for registrar verification, and received the Registrar’s answer to that request on August 17, 2000.

On August 18, 2000, a formal requirements compliance review was completed pursuant to Paragraph 4(a) of the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution and Paragraph 5 of the Supplemental Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy. The Center verified that the Complaint satisfied the formal requirements of the Policy, Rules and Supplemental Rules.

On the same date, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding was issued.

Notwithstanding due notification to Respondent of the Complaint, including Complainant's file, Respondent did not make any response.


Notwithstanding due notification to Respondent of the Complaint, including Complainant's file, Respondent did not make any response.

The language of the administrative proceeding is English, being the language of the registration agreement.


4. Factual Background

The complaint is based upon Complainant's claimed rights in the trademarks "La Française des Jeux" held and used since 1991. Copies of the registration certificates of the trademarks appear in Exhibits 4 to 9 of the Complainant's file.

Complainant holds the following domain names : "francaise-des-jeux.fr", "francaise-des-jeux.com" and "lfdj.com".

On March 23, 1998, Respondent registered the domain name "lafrancaisedesjeux.com".

In a letter dated November 18, 1999, and sent to Respondent at 1250 Hallandale Blvd 502, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33009, IsraelUSA, , Complainant tried to prevent Respondent from using the Domain Name, but the letter was returned with the mention "not deliverable as addressed unable to forward".

On December 7, 1999, Complainant, by registered letter, gave Respondent a formal notice at the address 1250 Hallandale Blvd 502, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33009, USA, which is the address communicated to the Registrar. The missive came back with the mention "moved-left-no address".

On January 11, 2000, Complainant again sent a formal notice to Respondent at the address 1250 Hallandale Blvd 502, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33009, USA, using "DHL service", but this letter was returned like the others.

On April 14, 2000, Complainant sent another formal notice to Respondent at its administrative contact's address : P.O. Box 24216, Tel Aviv, il 61241 Israel, without any success.

On May 19, 2000, Complainant accessed Respondent's site "lafrancaisedesjeux.com" which had merely one page and only authorised one to send an e-mail message to "sales@lafrancaisedesjeux.com". Respondent apparently never answered Complainant's e-mail.

According to Complainant, on June 16, 2000, Respondent was also owner of the web site "www. visiotex.com", whose home page was similar to "lafrancaisedesjeux.com", i.e. having merely one page with a similar lay out, allowing the surfer only to send an e-mail to sales@visiotex.com (see Complainant's file exhibit exhibit 19).

From the file submitted by WIPO to the Administrative Panel, it appears that on August August 18, 2000, while trying to retrieve the URL "http://www.lafrancaisedesjeux.com", the following error message was encountered "unable to determine IP address from host name for www.lafrancaisedesjeux.com".

The disputed URL is thus no longer used as a website.


5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

According to Paragraph 4(b) (i) of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy, approved by ICANN on October 24, 1999 (hereinafter referred to as "the Policy"), Complainant requests a transfer in its favour of the Domain Name since it cumulatively meets the conditions listed under Paragraph 4 (a) of the Policy.

Complainant contends that the Domain Name is identical to the Complainant's registered trademarks.

Respondent cannot demonstrate or establish any legitimate interest in the Domain

Name, as it has simply reproduced Complainant's registered name and trademarks, while only public or mixed companies – such as the Complainant, which partly belongs to the French State – can affix to their name the term "Français" (meaning "French"). Moreover, Respondent does not seem to have an address in France which might have authorised it to use the term "French". Complainant does not submit any evidence to support these contentions.

The Domain Name has been registered and used in bad faith since Respondent could not be unaware of the confusion it has created by registering the Domain Name. Respondent has registered the Domain Name only with the intention of appropriating the Complainant's reputation. Respondent's Domain Name home page - which is no longer accessible - only allowed one to send an e-mail to an address which suggested the Domain Name's holder had something to to sellsale, which is seriously harmful for Complainant, whose trademarks are known throughout France.

B. Respondent

No response was submitted.


6. Discussion and Findings

Pursuant to paragraph 15(a) of the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (hereinafter referred to as "the Rules"), the Administrative Panel shall issue its decision on the basis of the statements and documents submitted in accordance with the Policy, these Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable.

Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy provides that a Complainant must cumulatively establish each of the following three conditions to successfully challenge a registered domain name:

(1) that the domain name registered by the Respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and

(2) that the Respondent has no legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and

(3) that the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

On October 23, 2000, the Administrative Panel also tried without success to open Respondent's URL "http://www.lafrancaisedesjeux.com". An error message repeatedly appeared. The Administrative Panel has also visited the site "http://www.visiotex.com", whose layout evidently had been changed in comparison to the home page filed by Complainant.

Respondent has thus apparently waived any use of Complainant's trademarks on the Internet.

Considering that such waiver occurred after Complainant's formal notice sent by mail on May 19, 2000, the Administrative Panel considers that Respondent has implicitly recognised Complainant's rights in the disputed Domain Name. As a result, the Administrative Panel shall require that the registration of the Domain Name "lafrancaisedesjeux.com" be transferred to Complainant. However, for the sake of completeness, the Administrative Panel shall briefly examine whether the conditions specified under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy are satisfied here.

- Identity or Confusing Similarity

La "Française des Jeux" are French trademarks of Complainant. Complainant holds also several domains names using all or part of its trademarks, i.e. : "francaise-des-jeux.fr", "francaise-des-jeux.com" and "lfdj.com".

In view of the above, the Administrative Panel finds that the domain name "lafrancaisedesjeux.com" - with exception of the top-level domain name, which is irrelevant here - is obviously identical to Complainant’s trademark.

- Respondent’s rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name

Complainant has not licensed or otherwise permitted Respondent to use any of its trademarks or to apply for any domain name incorporating any of those marks.

By not submitting a response, Respondent has failed to invoke any circumstances which could demonstrate, pursuant to paragraph 4 (c ) of the Policy, any rights or legitimate interest in the Domain Name.

To the contrary, it appears clearly that in tempore suspecto that Respondent has waived any use of the Domain Name as a website.

The Administrative Panel therefore finds that Respondent has no right or legitimate interest in the Domain Name.

- Registration and Use in Bad Faith

Several facts must be taken into consideration :

1) When registering the Domain Name, Respondent could not have been unaware of the fact that it chose a name which is identical or confusingly similar to the Complainant's in France famous trademarks;

2) Respondent limited the scope of the Domain Name to indirect sale of undefined products by incorporating Complainants' trademarks in what was virtually the only item appearing in the disputed website, i.e. : sales@lafrancaisedesjeux.com ;

3) Respondent has never answered Complainant's formal notices and letters, but has deleted both the web site "http://www.lafrancaisedesjeux.com" and the e-mail address "sales@lafrancaisedesjeux.com";

In consideration of the above facts, the Administrative Panel finds that when using the Domain Name, Respondent had intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to his website "http://www.lafrancaisedesjeux.com".

In view of the foregoing, and pursuant to Paragraph 4 (b) of the Policy, the Administrative Panel finds that Respondent registered and used the Domain Name in bad faith.

Consequently, the Administrative Panel considers that the three cumulative conditions provided under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy are met in this case.


7. Decision

In light of the foregoing, the Administrative Panel decides that the domain name "lafrancaisedesjeux. com" must be transferred to Complainant in accordance with the ICANN rules.





Benoit Van Asbroeck
Sole Panelist

Dated: 1/11/November 1, 2000