WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Time Inc. v. Imulator Invest AB
Case No. DBIZ2002-00215
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Time Inc.1271 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020, United States of America, represented by Claire Shelley, Domain Network Ltd, Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3WD, United Kingdom.
The Respondent is Imulator Invest AB, Box 10139, 12128 Stockholm-Globen, Sweden, represented by Lars Perhad, Advocatfirman Cederquist KB, Box 1670, 11196 Stockholm, Sweden.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The Domain Name at issue is <people.biz>. The Registrar is Domaininfo AB, William Gibsonväg 1, 43376 Jonsered, Sweden.
3. Procedural History
The STOP Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") by e-mail on April 28, 2002, and a hardcopy was received on May 2, 2002. On May 7, 2002, the Center acknowledged receipt of the Complaint.
The Center verified that the Complaint satisfies the Start-Up Trademark Opposition Policy for .biz ("STOP Policy") the Rules for Start-Up Trademark Opposition Policy for .biz ("STOP Rules") and the WIPO Supplemental Rules for Start-Up Trademark Opposition Policy for .biz ("WIPO Supplemental STOP Rules") and that payment was properly made. The Panel is satisfied this is the case.
On May 28, 2002, the Center notified the STOP Complaint and the Administrative Proceeding commenced. The Center received on June 12, 2002, a Response by e-mail, and on June 17, 2002, a hard copy of that Response. On June 14, 2002, the Center acknowledged receipt of the Response.
On July 16, 2002, the Center notified the Parties that an Administrative Panel, composed of a single member, Dr. Gerd F. Kunze, had been appointed and that the Panelist had duly submitted a Statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality and Independence to the Center.
No further submissions were received by the Center or the Panel. The date scheduled for issuance of the Panelís decision is July 30, 2002.
4. Factual Background
The Complainant is the editor of the "PEOPLE magazine", which was launched in 1974, and in February 1995 established the <people.com> website, an on-line magazine, which recently was distinguished as the most visited single magazine brand online. Since 1974, PEOPLE magazine has been a leading magazine in the United States and is internationally distributed. It has over 2 million subscriptions and a readership beyond 30 million.
The Complainant is the owner of the Canadian trademark registration No. 199584 of 1974, for periodicals in class 1, corresponding to international class 16, for the word PEOPLE (it has submitted copy of the registration certificate). It is also the registered owner of a number of trademarks in the United States, combining the word PEOPLE with other words, such as PEOPLE WEEKLY (registered in class 41 in December 1998), PEOPLE PROFILES (registered in class 16 in December 1999), TEEN PEOPLE (registered in class 16 in November 1999; under this name another magazine is being published since 1998), and PEOPLE.COM (registered in class 42 in December 2001).
The Complainant is also the registered owner of the domain name <people.com> leading to the homepage of the on-line magazine <people.com> and of the domain name <people.info> and of a number of other domain names, including the word "people".
The Respondent registered the domain name <people.biz>. It submits that it intends to use that domain name.
5. Partiesí Contentions
The Complainant submits that (1) the domain name <people.biz> is identical to a trademark or service mark, in which the Complainant has rights; (2) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; (3) the domain name was registered or is being used in bad faith.
The Respondent submits that it has rights and legitimate interests in respect of the domain name and that the domain name was not registered and is not being used in bad faith.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 4(a) of the STOP Policy lists three elements that the Complainant must prove to merit a finding that the domain name of the Respondent be transferred to the Complainant:
1) the domain name is identical to a trademark or service mark ("mark") in which the Complainant has rights; and
2) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
3) the domain name has been registered or is being used in bad faith.
1) Identical to a mark in which the Complainant has rights
The domain name <people.biz> is identical to the registered trademark "PEOPLE" in which the Complainant has rights in Canada. The Complainant has also submitted evidence for the Panelist to believe that the Complainant has rights in the unregistered trademark PEOPLE for magazines in the United States, however in view of the Canadian trademark registration this question need not be considered in more detail.
2) Legitimate rights or interests in respect of the domain name
The Respondent has no connection or affiliation with the Complainant, who has not consented to the Respondent's use of the domain name, and it is not commonly known under that domain name.
The Respondent submits, however, that it intends to use the domain name for a new business venture relating to personnel recruiting services that is to be launched in cooperation with another company which has been active in that field for many years, named "People Personal AB". The Respondent has submitted evidence that this company was registered in the Swedish Company Register ("Aktiebolagsregistret") in 1985 under the name PP PEOPLE PERSONALUTHYRNING AB, and was renamed PEOPLE PERSONAL I STOCKHOLM AB in 1999. Even if the term PEOPLE is not used alone, it is the main distinctive part of the company name, since "personal" refers to the activity of the company, and "Stockholm" to the place where it is located (in the same manner as "PEOPLE" is the main distinctive part of the "PEOPLE magazine"). At present that company has registered several domain names combining the word "people" with the words "personal", and "care", such as <peoplepersonal.se>, <peoplepersonal.com>, <peoplepersonal.nu> and <peoplecare.nu>), and is using some of them for its business. Furthermore, the Respondent explains the relationship between the two companies by the fact that the owner of the Respondent is Staffan Bruzelius, who has a long standing experience in the personal-recruiting field, whilst the owner of People Personal AB is his brother Christer Bruzelius (as evidenced by the copy of the company register), who for many years has also been active in the personnel recruiting field. In that context it may be mentioned that even the Complainant refers to the longstanding experience of Staffan Bruzelius in the field of personnel recruiting, when referring to his earlier relationship with the Kelly Services Group, a U.S. company and leading global provider of staffing services. Finally, the Respondent claims to have been licensed by People Personal AB to use the part "PEOPLE" of the company name for the intended business venture as well as for the registration of a domain name and use of a website address. The Representative of the Respondent has also submitted a power of attorney issued by that company, signed by Christer Bruzelius, which means that all submissions of the Respondent are sustained by that company. The Panelist has therefore no reason not to accept that the Respondent has been authorized to use the word "people".
The Respondent also submits not to have known the PEOPLE magazine. Be it as it may, it is not decisive whether the Respondent knew that magazine. "People" is a word of common language in which the Complainant has no monopoly right. In view of the Respondentís submissions, supported by evidence, that it intends to use the domain name <people.biz> for an unrelated activity in the personnel recruiting field and that it has been authorized to use that domain name by a company active in that field, which for many years has been using a company name including the word "people" as distinctive part of its company name, the Panelist tends to accept that the Respondent has legitimate interests in the use of the domain name <people.biz>. At least the Complainant has failed to prove that the Respondent has no legitimate interests in that domain name.
3) Registration or use in bad faith
Under the Policy, the Complainant must prove that the Respondent has registered or is using the domain name in bad faith. However, since the STOP proceeding has come into effect shortly after registration, the Respondent has not been able to use the domain name. The focus is therefore on bad faith registration, not on bad faith use of the domain name. Such proof cannot in the present case be given by simply referring to the registered trademark PEOPLE of the Complainant.
As said before, the Respondent has submitted evidence that it intends to use domain name for a purpose that relates it to an established and registered business in the personnel-recruiting field that includes the word "PEOPLE" as distinctive part of the company name. Therefore, prima facie the Respondent did not register and does not intend to use that domain name under any of the conditions listed in the Policy as indication of registration or use of the domain name in bad faith with reference to the Complainantís trademark rights in the term "People". Since the Complainant did not submit any concrete facts or evidence for bad faith registration by the Respondent (it only referred to the fact that, informed about the likelihood of being challenged under one or several ICANN-approved dispute resolution mechanisms, the Respondent did not cancel its registration), the Panelist concludes that the Complainant has failed to prove that the Respondent registered the domain name <People.biz> in bad faith.
The Panel decides that the Complainant has failed to prove that the Respondent has no legitimate interests in respect of the domain name <people.biz> and has registered it in bad faith.
The Panelist therefore rejects the request to transfer the domain name <people.biz> to the Complainant.
Dr. Gerd F. Kunze
Dated: July 26, 2002