WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Compagnie Gervais Danone v. Roland Metzler
Case No. DBIZ2002-00196
1. The Parties
Complainant in this proceeding is Compagnie Gervais Danone, 150 Boulevard Hausmann, 75008 Paris, France.
Respondent is Mr. Roland Metzler, An der Reute 13, D-72519 Veringenstadt, Germany.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
This dispute concerns the domain name <prince.biz>
The Registrar with which the domain name is registered is Dotster Doster, Inc.
3. The Procedural History
The WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center ("the Center") received the STOP complaint on April 27, 2002 (electronic version), and May 3, 2002 (hardcopy). The notification of STOP complaint and commencement of administrative proceeding was sent on June 4, 2002. Respondent default was notified on June 25, 2002. The notification of the appointment of the Panel was sent on July 4, 2002. The file was transmitted to the Panelist on the same day.
4. The Factual Background and the Parties’ Contentions
A. The Trademark
The complaint is based on the "prince" trademark.
Complainant is the owner of the international trademark " prince" registration n° 2R1182040 and the international trademark "prince" registration n° R459590.
B. The complaint
In its complaint Complainant alleges that the disputed domain name is identical with its trademark.
Complainant alleges that Respondent has no right or legitimate interest in the domain name as Respondent does not use or own a trademark that is similar to "prince" nor does he carry on any business related to the "prince" name.
Complainant alleges that Respondent registered the domain name in bad faith as Respondent must have been aware of the famous "prince" trademark and was notified beforehand that the domain name in question was subject to an IP claim. Further, Respondent allegedly registered the domain name without any serious intention of using it for a bona fide offering of goods or services.
C. The Response
The respondent has not forwarded any response.
5. Discussion and Findings
a) Identical to a Trademark
There is no doubt that the domain name <prince.biz> is identical with Complainant trademarks, as the top level domain name .biz is not a distinguishing feature.
b) Respondents Rights or Legitimate Interests in the Domain Name
The Respondent defaulting in the present proceedings has not provided evidence of any circumstance giving rise to a right or legitimate interest in the domain name.
c) Domain Name Registered or Used in Bad Faith
Bad faith can be found even in a passive holding of a domain name, if all the circumstances of the case show a bad faith registration and use of the disputed domain name (see Telstra Corporation limited v. Nuclear Marshmallows, WIPO Case No. D2000-0003).
The registration of .biz top level domain names is open to individuals or companies which wish to conduct business or commercial activities in connection with the registered domain name.
In the present case, Respondent defaulted and did not allege any actual or future use of the disputed domain name that could be considered a bona fide use of said domain name.
Further, Respondent must have been aware that they were multiple intellectual property claims on the disputed domain name. Therefore, by registering the disputed domain name with no serious intent to use the said domain name, knowingly taking the risk of infringing on Complainant’s and third parties’ trademark rights, Respondent registered the domain name in bad faith.
In the light of the foregoing, the Panel decides that the domain name registered by Respondent is identical to the corresponding trademarks of Complainant, that Respondent has no rights to or legitimate interests in respect of this domain name and that the domain name in issue has been registered in bad faith by Respondent.
Accordingly the Panel requires that the registration of the domain name <prince.biz> be transferred to Complainant.
In accordance with Paragraph 14(l)(ii)(1) of STOP and 15(e)(i) of the STOP Rules, the Panel decides that no subsequent challenges under STOP against the disputed domain name shall be permitted.
Dated : July 18, 2002