WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Etro S.p.a. v. INFO TECH
Case No. D2002-0579
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Etro S.p.a, an Italian corporation with offices at Via Spartaco 3, 20135 Milano, Italy. Represented in this proceeding by Avv. Carlo Mezzanotte and Avv. Paolo Pozzi of PERANNI MEZZANOTE & PARTNERS, of Milano, Italy. (Hereinafter the "Complainant").
The Respondent is INFO TECH, 638-11, Seo-gu, daegu 703-016, Republic of Korea.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
This dispute concerns the domain name <etromilano.com> (the "Domain Name").
The Registrar is Network Solutions, Inc., of 21355 Ridgetop Circle, Dulles, Virginia 20160, United States of America.
3. Procedural History
The WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") received the initial complaint by electronic mail on June 25, 2002, and in hard copy on June 21, 2002, and July 9, 2002, respectively. The Center on July 10, 2002, requested an amended complaint to take into account further information as to the Respondent. This deficiency in the Complaint was cured by an amended filing on July 10, and July 12, 2002. Between the date of the original and amended complaint (collectively the "Complaint") the Center had requested registrar verification as to the identity of the current registrant of the Domain Name, and undertaken certain related correspondence with the Complainant concerning the same. The Center ultimately determined that the Complaint met all the formal requirements of the ICANN Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy ("Policy"), and its Rules and Supplemental Rules, and on July 16, 2002, the Center notified the Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding. On August 6, 2002, the Center duly notified Respondentsí default under the Rules, receipt of which was confirmed on August 7, 2002. There was some subsequent e-mail traffic between the Center and the electronic addresses attributed to the Respondent and the Domain Name; in some of which electronic correspondence Respondent requested more time. On August 12, 2002, the Center transmitted a Notification that a panel would be appointed, and the file transmitted to the Panelist, but informed Respondent that the Panelist had discretion to accept a late-submission of a Response, if one was submitted. On August 12, 2002, the file was submitted to the undersigned. No further communications of any kind were received from the defaulting Respondent, and the Panelist here finds that the Panel was duly and properly constituted in accordance with the Rules and Supplemental Rules.
4. Factual Background
The Complainant is an Italian corporation with its principal place of business in Milan. The Complainant is a company in the fashion and design business and has long traded under the mark ETRO both in Italy and elsewhere, this mark derives from the name of the owner of Complainant, Mr. Etro, who is a well-known Italian fashion designer.
INFO TECH is a Korean entity business or business name which is the registrant or the Domain Name. As the Respondent has defaulted in this proceeding, there is very little further information concerning INFO TECH.
Complainant has registered the trademark "ETRO" in many jurisdictions and for several different classes of products. In particular, Complainant has four Korean registrations of "ETRO" in various forms and for various classes. Complainant also claims to have common law rights on the trademark "ETRO MILANO" deriving from the extensive use of this mark on its products and in connection with its business. Complainant submits extensive evidence of its products and catalogues with "ETRO MILANO" inscribed thereon.
Complainant apparently became aware of the Domain Name at the end of 2001 when it was registered in the name of an entity called "INFO". The evidence shows that in the February to late April 2002, at least, the Domain Name was linked and resolved to one or more Korean sites containing adult and pornographic material. Complainant hired Korean lawyers to try and locate the Domain Name owner and to serve warning letters on the same. Although the lawyers were unable to locate the ultimate owner, they did send a warning and demand letter to the technical contact of the Domain Name on April 22, 2002. When this panelist sought to visit the Domain Name site in mid August 2002, it resolved to a dead end.
5. Partiesí Contentions
Complainant contends that the Domain Name is identical to its common law trade or business mark "ETRO MILANO", and in any event confusingly similar to Complainantís registered trademarks "ETRO". Complainant maintains that Respondent has no rights in connection with these marks and that Complainant has in fact, never granted any license or permission for anyone to register domain names incorporating its trademark. Complainant further contends that the Domain Name is being used primarily for the purpose of disrupting Complainantís business. In particular, the use of its marks in a domain name that is linked to pornography tarnishes the good reputation of ETRO, and unlawfully trades on its goodwill. Complainant cites and submits a number of WIPO case precedents in connection with this contention including, MatchNet Plc v. MAC Trading, WIPO Case No. D2002-0205 and CCA Industries, Inc., v. Bobby R. Dailey, WIPO Case No. D2000-0148. Complainant also asserts that Respondent was making use of the Domain Name for financial gain given that the pornographic sites to which it resolves were commercial and offered erotic material upon payment of a fee. All of the foregoing, Complainant maintains, demonstrates abundant bad faith in the registration and use of the Domain Name.
As indicated above, Respondent has defaulted in this proceeding. Respondentís late e-mails to the Center of 7 and 8 August 2002 contain no substantive defenses and appear geared to create delay and confusion. The Panelist is entitled to draw appropriate inferences from Respondentís failure to respond, together with the evidence here presented.
6. Discussion and Findings
The Policy, in its paragraph 4 (a), provides that the Complainant must prove each of the following:
i. The Respondentís Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trade or service mark in which Complainant has rights, and
ii. The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name; and
iii. The Domain Name has been registered and used in bad faith
i. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Domain Name includes Complainantís widely registered trademark "ETRO". The addition of the word "MILANO" does not operate to differentiate the Domain Name from this registered trademark. MILANO is, of course, the Italian name of Milan, which is Complainantís headquarters and is widely known as one of the worldís major centers of fashion and design. Thus, the Domain Name is, as a minimum, confusingly similar to the much registered mark of Complainant. See, e.g., Louis Vuitton Malletier v. Somsak Sooksripanich, WIPO Case No. D2000-0866; Lancôme Parfums et Beauté et Cie. v. Lily, WIPO Case No. D2001-0724. The Domain Name is furthermore identical to the unregistered marks, which figure on much of the material and catalogues produced by the Complainant.
ii. Respondentsí Rights or Legitimate Interests in the Domain Name
There is no indication, evidence or inference that Respondent has any legitimate rights or interest in the Domain Name; indeed all inferences, and the evidence and assertions of Complainant, are to the contrary.
iii. Registration and Use in Bad Faith
The evidence of bad faith registration and use is strong. It is not plausible that Respondent registered the Domain Name without knowledge of its association with Complainantís marks and worldwide fashion business, both of which extend to Korea. The use of the mark "ETRO" in combination with "MILANO" makes it doubly obvious that the Domain Name was not chosen or registered by chance, but with the idea of trading on Complainantís marks and goodwill.
The subsequent linking of the Domain Name with adult or pornographic sites established for profit is an abundantly sufficient show of bad faith use. See e.g. Nokia Corp. v. Nokiagirls.com a.k.a. IBCC, WIPO Case No. D2000-0102 (also submitted by Complainant). Indeed, the registration and use of a disputed domain name in order to divert web traffic to Respondentís web site for a profit is a violation of paragraph 4 (b) (iv) of the Policy. See Pepsico, Inc. v. Diabetes Home Care, Inc., and DHC Services, WIPO Case No. D2001-0174 (and other cases cited therein). The fact that the Domain Name is apparently currently inactive and not linked to adult sites does not cure Respondentís bad faith registration and use. See American Online Inc. v. East Coast Exotics, WIPO Case No. D2001-0661.
For all the foregoing reasons the Panel determines that :
a. The Domain Name <etromilano.com> is confusingly similar to Complainantís registered trademarks and identical to its business marks;
b. The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name; and
c. The Domain Name <etromilano.com>" has been registered and is being used in bad faith
Therefore, the remedy requested by Complainant is granted, and Respondent is required to transfer the Domain Name <etromilano.com> to Complainant, Etro S.p.a.
Dated: August 20, 2002
1. The Panel is aware of and (after reaching
its decision here) reviewed the case of Etro S.p.a. v. Messrs. Mark O' Flynn,
Luciano Carbonetti PGC srl, WIPO Case No D2000-1289,
in which the domain name