WIPO

 

WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

 

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Harrods Limited v. Mike Anderson Consultants

Case No. D2003-0813

 

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Harrods Limited of London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, represented by DLA Solicitors, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The Respondent is Mike Anderson Consultants of New York, United States of America.

 

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <harrodabishur.com> is registered with Tucows. Inc.

 

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on October 13, 2003. On October 14, 2003, the Center transmitted by email to Tucows a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain name at issue. On October 14, 2003, Tucows 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 October 23, 2003. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was November 12, 2003. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondentís default on November 14, 2003.

The Center appointed Anders Janson as the Sole Panelist in this matter on November 27, 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 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 and department stores in Hong Kong and Japan offer a selection of Harrods products.

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 website 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 has been established to be a very well known and famous mark.

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

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

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

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

- US Trademark 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 New York, USA who does not have any affiliation with the Complainant.

The disputed domain name <harrodabishur.com> was registered by the Respondent with Tucows Inc on May 4, 2003. The disputed domain name does not resolve to any website.

 

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 <harrodabishur.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 <harrodabishur.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 department store "Harrods" in Knightsbridge, London, which is well reputed and known worldwide. The Complainant further operates a number of on-line services, such as "www.harrods.com," and has satellite stores in several countries.

The only difference between the disputed domain name and the Complainants mark is the omission of an "s" and the addition of the word "abishur." The disputed domain name suggests that the Respondents website at "www.harrodabishur.com" are affiliated to the Complainant. The fact that any Internet user trying to access the website is notified that the system is unable to communicate to the system, the respondentís name wrongly suggests an affiliation with the Complainants well-known mark.

The Panel notes that the trademark HARRODS in its entirety is not included in the disputed domain name. However, the omission of merely an "s" from such a well known trademark does not diminish the similarity between the two words. The omission of an "s" in this context is in the Panels opinion to be considered as "typosquatting." The omission of the letter "s" from the well known trademark HARRODS is likely to create confusion with an Internet user due to its visual similarity. The addition of the word "abishur" does not alter the Panelís conclusion in this respect. The word "abishur," which to the Panelís knowledge is a biblical reference, is not distinctive in the disputed domain name, unlike the word "Harrod" which in turn is confusingly similar to the trademark "HARRODS." In a number of previous WIPO decisions it has been established that the addition of a generic or descriptive term, or word to a well known trademark does not reduce its similarity with the trademark. The Panel therefore concludes that it is established that HARRODS is a renowned, famous and recognizable trademark, and the disputed domain name <harrodabishur.com> is confusingly similar to the trademark 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 there is no obvious connection between the Respondent and the disputed domain name, the assertion from the Complainant that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests is enough to shift the burden of proof to the Respondent to demonstrate that such right and legitimate interest exists.

The Respondent has omitted to file a response. The disputed domain name does not resolve to any website and there are no information as to any possible use of the domain name or to suggest a legitimate right by the Respondent to use the name "Harrod." The Complainant has not licensed or otherwise permitted the Respondent to use its trademark.

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

The Panel shall finally consider the question of the disputed domain name having been registered and used in "bad faith."

The Complainant submits that the Respondent has not presented any reasons, evidence or arguments of a legitimate interest in using the disputed domain name. The trademark "Harrods" is very well known and of such high stature that The Panel finds that the Respondent could not have registered the domain name unknowingly of the Complainantís trademark 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 <harrodabishur.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

 


 

Anders Janson
Sole Panelist

Dated: December 11, 2003