WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
ACCOR, Société anonyme v. Impact Publishers
Case No. D2001-0658
1. The Parties
The Complainant is ACCOR, Société anonyme, of 2 rue de Mare Neuve, Evry 91000, France. The Respondent is Impact Publishers, Schout BIJ Nachtweg 43, WILLEMSTAD, Netherlands Antilles.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The domain name in issue is <coraliahotels.com>. The Registrar is Network Solutions, Inc.
3. Procedural History
3.1 The Complaint was dated May 16, 2001, and received by the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on May 16, 2001. An amended Complaint dated May 26, 2001, was received by the Center on May 29, 2001, correcting deficiencies in the original Complaint that were communicated to the Complainant by the Center on May 25, 2001. Nothing turns on these amendments so far as this Panel is concerned.
3.2 No response to the Complaint has been filed. Notice of the proceedings was served on the Respondent in accordance with the rules applicable to the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy ("the Policy"). Notification of Respondent Default was served on June 21, 2001. A Panel was constituted on July 17, 2001, with a single panelist, Nick Gardner. A statement of acceptance and declaration of impartiality and independence has been filed by the Panelist.
3.3 The date scheduled for the Panel to render its decision was July 18, 2001.
3.4 On July 18, 2001, the Panel issued a procedural order requesting that the Complainant file a Supplement to its Complaint detailing further information relating to its business and evidence of its use of the trademark CORALIA in its business, such Supplement to be filed before July 27, 2001. The Complainant did not meet this deadline due to a filing error and at the Complainant’s request the Panel extended this time limit to August 10, 2001, with the time limit for the Respondent to file its Response being August 24, 2001. The date scheduled for the Panel to render its decision was ordered to be September 7, 2001.
3.5 The Complainant filed a Supplement to its complaint on August 7, 2001, to which the Respondent has not filed any Response.
3.6 The Complainant is represented by Cabinet Wagret, Conseil en Propriété Industrielle, European Patent Attorneys of 19 rue de Milan, 75009 PARIS, France. The Respondent is not represented in this proceeding.
4. Factual Background
4.1 The Complainant relies on the trademark CORALIA which is registered in many countries, evidence of which is provided in Annex 3 to the Complaint. In the majority of the territories where CORALIA is registered it appears as though a mark has been registered in class 42. The Complainant has filed documentation in French outlining further details of an international trade mark registration which the Complainant applied for on December 8, 1993. As far as the panel can tell, the international application was successful and the Complainant appears to have trademarks registered in numerous countries worldwide in class 42 for hotel and restaurant services.
4.2 The Respondent’s registration of the <coraliahotels.com> domain name occurred on January 8, 2000.
4.3 With effect from February 2001, representatives of the Complainant endeavored to contact the Respondent. These approaches did not result in any response from the Respondent.
4.4 On February 26, 2001, the Complainant, through its attorneys, sent a letter to the Respondent demanding immediate cessation of the use of the CORALIA mark together with abandonment of the domain name in dispute. This letter included details of the CORALIA Benelux trade mark registrations currently in force in the Netherlands and registered in respect of (amongst other goods and services) hotel and restaurant services.
4.5 No response was received to this letter.
4.6 On July 18, 2001, the panel issued a procedural order noting that the Complainant had not provided the Panel with any information about its business, or how the trademarks are used in its business. The Complainant was requested to file a Supplement to its Complaint detailing such information by July 27, 2001, which was later extended to August 10, 2001. The Supplement to the Complaint was filed on August 7, 2001.
4.7 The Complainant has not filed any Response or other information with the Panel.
5. The Claimant’s Contentions
5.1 These are set out at length in the Complaint but may be summarized as follows:
- The domain name <coraliahotels.com> is identical, or at a minimum, confusingly similar to the Complainant's name and marks.
- The Complainant owns more than 80 trademark registrations around the world relating to hotel services for the word mark CORALIA and the mark is used in relation to hotels throughout the world in its normal course of business.
- The Respondent has no legitimate reason to register or maintain the domain name <coraliahotels.com> and has failed to articulate any rights in or legitimate reason for registering the domain name.
- The domain name <coraliahotels.com> is unrelated to the Respondent and if it tried to associate "Coralia" with hotel services, it would infringe the Complainant’s worldwide trademark rights.
6. The Respondent’s Contentions
6.1 The Respondent has not provided any submissions to this Panel.
7. Discussion and Findings
7.1 The Panel has reviewed the Complaint and the documents annexed to the Complaint. In the light of this material this Panel finds as set out below.
7.2 This Panel does not find there are any exceptional circumstances within paragraph 5(e) of the ICANN Rules applicable to the Policy so as to prevent this Panel determining the Complaint, notwithstanding the failure of the Respondent to lodge a Response. Details of these proceedings have been served in accordance with the relevant requirements, namely in compliance with Rule 2(a) of the ICANN Rules.
7.3 The domain name <coraliahotels.com> is confusingly similar to the Complainant's registered trademarks. The evidence establishes widespread use by the Complainant of the trademark CORALIA in relation to hotels.
7.4 The Panel does not believe, absent any explanation from the Respondent, that the domain name <coraliahotels.com> can have been chosen for any other reason than because of its association with the Complainant’s business, which trades on a substantial scale under the name ‘coralia’ in relation to hotels. ‘Coralia’ is not a word that (so far as the Panel is aware) has any other meaning or significance.
7.5 The Respondent’s use of the name has been to place it on a "holding" web site, shown as "under construction".
7.6 There is no evidence to show that the Respondent had any legitimate basis to register the domain name or any intent to use it in any manner unconnected with the Complainant's business. Absent such evidence the Panel concludes that the Complainant is correct and that the name was registered in bad faith in that it was registered either with the intention of reselling it to the Complainant or of blocking the Complainant’s own use of the name in the anticipation of eliciting payment from the Complainant.
8.1 In the light of the above findings, the Panel’s decision is as set out below.
8.2 The domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant's trademarks (see paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy).
8.3 The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name (see paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy).
8.4 The domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith (see paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy).
8.5 This Panel directs that the domain name be transferred to the Complainant.
Dated: September 7, 2001