WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Casco Products AB v. Jozsef Pal
Case No. DBIZ2002-00179
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Casco Products AB, Box 11 538, 10061 Stockholm, Sweden.
The Respondent is Jozsef Pal, Alkotmany Str 41, 7100 Szekszard, Hungary.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed Domain Name is <casco.biz>.
The Registrar with which the Domain name is registered is BB Online UK Limited of the United Kingdom.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was originally received by WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") by email on April 27, 2002, and in hardcopy form on May 3, 2002, but it contained various formal defects, which needed to be rectified. The Center issued a STOP Complaint Deficiency Notification on June 17, 2002. The amended Complaint with the defects rectified was received by the Center on June 20, 2002.
The Center has verified that the Complaint satisfies the formal requirements of the Start-up Trademark Opposition Policy ("the STOP"), the Rules for Start-Up Trademark Opposition Policy ("STOP Rules") and the WIPO Supplemental Rules for Start-up Trademark Opposition Policy for .biz (" Supplemental STOP Rules") and that payment was properly made. The Administrative Panel ("the Panel") is satisfied that this is the case.
On June 21, 2002, the Center notified the Respondent of the Complaint in the usual manner and informed the Respondent inter alia that the last day for sending its Response to the Complainant and to the Center was July 11, 2002.
On July 10, 2002, the Response was received by the Center by email and on July 15, 2002, in hardcopy form.
The Panel was properly constituted. The undersigned Panelist submitted a Statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality and Independence.
No further submissions were received by the Center or the Panel.
4. Factual Background
The Complainant is Casco Products AB (formerly Casco Nobel AB) a Swedish company and a member of the Akzo Nobel Group. Its trading activity dates back to 1928. It is engaged internationally in the area of adhesives, resins and impregnated paper and polymers.
The Complainant is the proprietor of a large number of trade mark registrations and domain names of or including the word Casco.
The Complainant conducts business in Hungary and one of its trade mark registrations of CASCO (word) is a Hungarian registration dating back to 1998.
The Respondent, Jozsef Pal is based in Hungary and is, amongst other things, an insurance broker, specializing mainly in car insurance products. He registered the Domain Name on March 27, 2002.
5. Partiesí Contentions
The Complainant identifies itself as a member of the Akzo Nobel Group and relates that it trades internationally (including in Hungary) in the area of adhesives, resins and impregnated paper and polymers. It has done so for many decades and is the proprietor of a large number of trade marks and domain names of or including the word Casco.
Beyond that, the substance of the Complaint is remarkably brief. It reads as follows:-
"Casco Products and its affiliates and subsidiaries are commonly known by the name Casco also in such countries where no registration is at hand.
Casco Products has no knowledge of the respondent Jozsef Pal and his connection to the name Casco. Casco Products has not seen Mr Pal in the market and do not know the reasons behind his interest in the Casco biz domain name. He has not been active in the markets where Casco Products conducts its business.
It is the firm opinion of Casco Products that the domain name in Casco biz shall belong to Casco Products in order not to confuse the market."
The Respondent explains that the reason why he selected the name Casco for his domain name is simply that Casco is a generic name for a type of car insurance in Hungary and that the Domain Name was a suitable one given his Ďsecond jobí as a car insurance broker.
He has produced substantial evidence to support his contention that Casco is a generic description for a type of car insurance product in Hungary. The Respondent says that until he had received the Complaint he had never heard of the Complainant or its products. The name Casco (other than as the generic name for a type of car insurance product) was completely unknown to him.
6. Discussion and Findings
According to paragraph 4(a) of the STOP, the Complainant must prove that
(i) The Domain Name is identical to a trade mark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and
(ii) The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interest in respect of the Domain Name; and
(iii) The Domain Name has been registered or is being used in bad faith.
As can be seen from the previous section, the Complainant produces no evidence whatsoever to support either (ii) or (iii) above. In those circumstances, necessarily the Complaint is doomed to fail. The Complainant acknowledges that it knows nothing about the Respondent, nor the reason why he might have selected the Domain Name. The Panel cannot help but observe that the Complainant might have done better to have contacted the Respondent before launching this Complaint.
The Domain Name, comprising as it does the Complainantís trade mark and the domain name suffix, is identical to the Complainantís trade mark, the domain name suffix being ignored for these purposes.
Accordingly the Panel finds that the Domain Name is identical to a trade mark in which the Complainant has rights.
Respondentís Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Panel accepts the Respondentís evidence that he is a car insurance broker and that Casco is a generic term in Hungary for a type of car insurance product.
On that basis, while the Respondent may not have a right in respect of the Domain Name, he certainly has a legitimate interest in it.
In light of the above, clearly there can be no question of any bad faith claim in respect of the Domain Name and it is noteworthy that notwithstanding the requirement under the Policy that a Complainant must prove bad faith registration or use of the Domain Name, the Complainant makes no express allegation to that effect. All it says is:-
"Casco Products has no knowledge of the respondent Jozsef Pal and his connection to the name Casco. Casco Products has not seen Mr. Pal in the market and do not know the reasons behind his interest in the <casco biz> domain name. He has not been active in the markets where Casco Products conducts its business."
The Panel finds that the Complainant has failed to prove that the Domain Name has been registered or is being used in bad faith.
The Complaint is dismissed.
Dated: August 5, 2002