WIPO

 

WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

 

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Harrods Limited v. Steve Bohn

Case No. D2003-0736

 

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Harrods Limited, London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, represented by DLA - Technology Media & Communications, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The Respondent is Steve Bohn, Dayton, Ohio, United States of America.

 

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <harrodsjewelry.com> is registered with Dotster, Inc.

 

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on September 17, 2003. On September 17, 2003, the Center transmitted by email to Dotster, Inc. a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain name at issue. On September 17, 2003, Dotster, Inc. transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details for the administrative, billing, and technical contact. The Center verified that the Complaint satisfied the formal requirements of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the "Policy"), the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the "Rules"), and the WIPO Supplemental Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the "Supplemental Rules").

In accordance with the Rules, paragraphs 2(a) and 4(a), the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on September 23, 2003. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was October 13, 2003. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondentís default on October 14, 2003.

The Center appointed Anders Janson as the sole panelist in this matter on October 23, 2003. The Panel finds that it was properly constituted. The Panel has submitted the Statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality and Independence, as required by the Center to ensure compliance with the Rules, paragraph 7.

 

4. Factual Background

The Complainant asserted, and provided evidence in support of, the following facts, which the Panel finds established:

The Complainant, Harrods Ltd, is a UK private company limited by shares, with its principal place of business located in London, England. The Complainant and its predecessors has operated the world-famous Harrods Department Store in London since 1849. The Harrods store serves approximately 35,000 customers each business day and is a well-known tourist attraction.

Further more, the Harrods Department store has been promoted internationally and has an international reputation reinforced by extensive overseas export and by an international mail order business that extends world wide. There are satellite stores at major international airports, such as Frankfurt, Kuala Lumpur, Lisbon and Vienna.

In conjunction with associated companies, the goodwill and reputation in the Harrods name has extended to products ranges that include Harrods, Estate, Harrods Bank and Harrods Casino Online.

The Complainant has been active on the Internet for some years, and has actively operated the Internet website "www.harrods.com" since February 14, 1999. The On-line store on said web-site provides a wide variety of goods and services, such as inter alia perfumes, childrenís toys, wine and food and accessories.

In previous WIPO-decisions, such as Harrods Limited v Walter Wieczorek, WIPO Case No. DTV2001-0024 and Harrods Limited v Vineet Singh, WIPO Case No. D2001-1162, the HARRODS mark to be a very-well known and famous mark.

The Complainant has used, registered or applied to register the marks HARRODS in many countries around the world for a variety of goods and services. The Complainantís trade mark portfolio includes the following registered trade marks.

- UK Trade Mark No. 1266810, registered May 10, 1986, for the mark HARRODS for various goods in class 16.

- UK Trade Mark No. 2245927, registered September 19, 2000, for the mark HARRODS, for services in Class 35, including the bringing together for the benefit of others, of a variety of goods through online media enabling customers to purchase goods which is normally available in a department store;

- Community Trade Mark No. 62414, registered April 1, 1996, for the mark HARRODS, for a wide variety of goods and services in Classes 1 to 42;

- US Trade mark No 1354693, registered August 13, 1985, for the mark HARRODS for services in Class 42, including retail mail order services of consumer goods;

- US Trade Mark No. 2115836, registered November 25, 1997, for the mark

HARRODS for goods in Class 25, including footwear, headgear and clothing for children, men and women

The Respondent is an individual with a stated address in Dayton, Ohio, USA and does not have any affiliation with the Complainant.

The disputed domain name <harrodsjewelry.com> was registered by the Respondent with Dotster Inc. on December 26, 2002. The disputed domain name is linked to a website, which is the homepage of "Harrodís Design Unlimited" which offers jewelry for sale.

The Panel has noted that the Respondent in an e-mail has asserted that further correspondence in the matter should be addressed to Ms. Harrod, and that Ms. Harrod is the owner and operator of the website. The Panel further notes that Notification of Complaint has been transferred to said address. However, the Panel has noted that the Respondent is the registrant, and also the administrative contact and technical contact as regard the disputed domain name.

 

5. Partiesí Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant contends that:

- the disputed domain name is identical and confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and

- the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and

- the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith; and

- the disputed domain name <harrodsjewelry.com> should be transferred to the Complainant.

B. Respondent

The Respondent did not reply to the Complainantís contentions other than assert that another person is the owner and operator of the domain name.

 

6. Discussion and Findings

Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy directs that the Complainant must prove each of the following:

(i) that the disputed domain name registered by the Respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and

(ii) that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and

(iii) that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The domain name at issue is <harrodsjewelry.com>. Complainant is the holder of a number of registered trademarks of the mark HARRODS, inter alia in the UK and in the USA. The Complainantís main place of business is the world known department store Harrods, in Knightsbridge, London. The Complainant further operates a number of on-line services, such as <harrods.com>, and has satellite stores in several countries.

The only difference between the Complainantís HARRODíS trade mark and the Respondentís domain name is the addition of the word "jewelry". Considering the Harrods department store and the products and services provided therein, the disputed domain name suggests an affiliation between HARRODíS and the disputed domain name. When an Internet user enters <harrodsjewelry.com>, the user is connected to the homepage of "Harrodís Designs Unlimited". The Complainant contends the webpage conveys to Internet users that it is sponsored, endorsed or affiliated with the Complainant. The disputed domain name suggests a false sense of origin or sponsorship for any associated products, goods and services.

The Panel notes that the whole trade mark HARRODS is included in the disputed domain name. In a number of previous WIPO-disputes it has been established that the addition of a generic or descriptive term to the trade mark in the disputed domain name does not reduce its similarity with the trade mark. The Panel considers it established that HARRODS is a renowned, famous and recognizable trademark, and the disputed domain name <harrodsjewelry.com> is confusingly similar to the trade mark owned by the Complainant. The Panel therefore holds that the Complainant has established element (i) of the Policyís paragraph 4(a).

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Respondent has not filed a Response in accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5. In those circumstances, when Respondent clearly has no obvious connection with the disputed domain name, the mere assertion from the Complainant that the Respondent has no right or legitimate interest is enough to shift the burden of proof to the Respondent to demonstrate that such right and legitimate interest exists.

The Respondent has claimed that a Ms. Sharon Harrods is the proprietor of the domain name. No argument has been made by the Respondent nor Ms. Harrods which in any way demonstrates a legitimate use of the domain name. There is no information on the website to suggest a legitimate right by the Respondent to use the name "Harrods". The Complainant has not licensed or otherwise permitted the Respondent to use its trademark.

The disputed domain name was transferred to the Complainant in a previous WIPO-case, (Harrods Limited v. AB Kohler & Co., WIPO Case No. D2001-0544). Registration of a domain name in itself does not establish rights or legitimate interests for purposes of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.

In conclusion, the Respondent has not presented any evidence of rights or legitimate interests in using the disputed domain name and has no obvious connection to it. The Panel therefore holds that the Complainant has established element (ii) of the Policyís paragraph 4(a).

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

Finally the Panel has to consider the question of the disputed domain name having been registered and used in "bad faith."

The Complainant submits that the Respondent has not been commonly known by the name "Harrods". The Respondent, who is the Registrant, is commonly known as Steve Bohn. The panel finds this fact established.

The Respondent has not presented any reasons, evidence or arguments of a legitimate interest in using the disputed domain name. The Panel finds that the fame of the trademark is such that the Respondent could not have registered the domain name unknowingly of the Complainantís trade mark and cannot use the domain name without infringing the Complainantís mark.

Considering all of the above, the Panel concludes that the Complainant has proven that the Respondent was acting in bad faith pursuant to paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.

 

7. Decision

For all the foregoing reasons, in accordance with Paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the domain name <harrodsjewelry.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

 


 

Anders Janson
Sole Panelist

Dated: November 7, 2003