WIPO

 

WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

 

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Easyjet Group IP Licensing Limited v. Stuart Snell

Case No. D2003-0862

 

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Easyjet Group IP Licensing Limited, London of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, represented by Addleshaw Goddard, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The Respondent is Stuart Snell, Guildford, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

 

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <easyjets.com> is registered with Melbourne IT trading as Internet Name Worldwide.

 

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on October 30, 2003. 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 November 4, 2003. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was November 24, 2003. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondentís default on November 25, 2003.

The Center appointed George R. F. Souter as the Sole Panelist in this matter on December 4, 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 is a member of a group of associated companies, including easyJet Airline Company Limited. Since November 2000, the Complainant has acted as the central holder and administrator of the intellectual property rights owned by the group, and its trademarks, which includes the trademark EASYJET. In particular, by an agreement dated November 5, 2000, easyJet Airline Company Limited assigned all its trademarks, and applications and registrations thereof (together with all goodwill therein) to the Complainant. The Complainant has show the Panel details of a number of trademark registrations in a number of countries, including Benelux, France, Germany, United Kingdom and the United States of America, either in the name of the Complainant or in the name of easyJet Airline Company Limited pending registration of the change of owner to the Complainant.

The trademark "EASYJET" is used in connection with the operation of a "no frills" airline and offers low cost flights to customers. It has a high advertising profile, circa £82 million having been expended to date, and has been voted one of the UKís "superbrands" by the British Superbrands Council in the years 2001, 2002 and 2003.

The Complainant has drawn to the Panelís attention, a number of previous decisions under the Policy in which its trademark rights have been acknowledged, namely, Easyjet Airline Company Limited v. Andrew Steggles, WIPO Case No. D2000-0024; Easyjet Airline Company Limited v. Mahmoud Panjahshashi, WIPO Case No. D2000-0384, Easyjet Airline Company Limited v. Marie Claire (& Unknown), WIPO Case No. D2000-1504, and EasyGroup IP Licensing Limited v. Amjad Kausar, WIPO Case No. D2003-0012.

The Complainant has drawn the Panelís attention to the operation of the website at issue, and demonstrated that it can be used to divert potential customers to two well-known on-line travel portals, to the potential detriment of the Complainantís business.

 

5. Partiesí Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant contends that the domain name at issue is confusingly similar to the complainantís well known EASYJET mark, that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name, and that the domain name was registered and used in bad faith.

B. Respondent

The Respondent did not reply to the Complainantís contentions.

 

6. Discussion and Findings

Paragraph 4(a) of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy lists three tests which a complainant must satisfy in order to succeed:

(i) the domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights; and

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

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

(i) Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Panel finds that the Complainant has protectable trademark rights to EASYJET.

The domain name at issue only differs from the trademark by the addition of a terminal "s" and by the subsequent designation ".com." In Porto Chico Stores, Inc. v. Octavio Zambon, WIPO Case No. D2000-1270, the Panel decided that "Neither the suffix Ďsí nor the suffix Ď.comí can detract from the overall impression of the dominant party of the name in each case, namely the trademark." The Panel in this case agrees, and, accordingly, finds that the Complainant has satisfied the first test.

(ii) Rights or Legitimate Interests

The respondent has not taken the opportunity accorded to him under these proceedings of justifying its adoption of the domain name. There appear to be no circumstances attached to the respondentís name or address which might lead to any suspicion of legitimate interest. In these circumstances, the Panel decides that the Complainant, whose Complaint was transmitted to the respondent under this procedure, has satisfied the second test.

(iii) Registered and Used in Bad Faith

In Nokia Corporation v. Nokiagirls.com a.k.a IBCC, WIPO Case No. D2000-0102, the panel found that "[t]he trademark NOKIA is currently enjoying such fame internationally that it cannot reasonably be argued that respondent Ö could have been unaware of the trademark rights vested therein when registering the domain name." The Panel in the present case finds that the Respondent, who gives a United Kingdom address, cannot reasonably be argued to have been unaware of the trademark rights vested in EASJET when registering the domain name. It follows that the Panel finds, as did the Panel in the Nokia Corporation v. Nokiagirls.com a.k.a IBCC case cited above, this finding sufficient to decide that the domain name at issue was registered in bad faith.

The third test, however, is a dual test, and requires that the domain name at issue is also used in bad faith. The potential use of the Respondentís website, together with the reasonable presumption that Respondent may have entered into commercial agreements whereby he benefits financially from visitors to his site who "click" on different portals (cf. Nokia Corporation v. Nokiagirls.com a.k.a IBCC, WIPO Case No. D2000-0102), is sufficient, in the Panelís view, to decide that the domain name at issue has also been used in bad faith.

 

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 <easyjets.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

 


 

George R. F. Souter
Sole Panelist

Dated: December 18, 2003