WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Steelcase Development Corporation v. Admin, Domain
Case No. D2005-1352
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Steelcase Development Corporation, Michigan, United States of America, represented by Pattishall, McAuliffe, Newbury, Hilliard & Geraldson, United States of America.
The Respondent is Admin, Domain, West Bay, Grand Cayman WB, KY, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <designtex.com> is registered with Dotster, Inc.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on December 28, 2005. On December 29, 2005, the Center transmitted by email to Dotster, Inc. a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain name at issue. On the same date, Dotster, Inc. transmitted by email to the Center its verification response. In response to a notification by the Center that the Complaint was administratively deficient, the Complainant filed an amendment to the Complaint on January 5, 2006. The Center verified that the Complaint and the amendment thereto 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 January 16, 2006. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was February 5, 2006. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on February 6, 2006.
The Center appointed Antonio Millé as the sole panelist in this matter on February 10, 2006. 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 trademark upon which the Complaint is based is DESIGNTEX.
The Complainant attached copies of its trademark registrations for the DESIGNTEX mark: United States (Registration # 1,674,292); European Community (Registration # 2,383,073); Australia (Registration # 555,956); Benelux (Registration # 529,273); France (Registration # 93/469,344); Germany (Registration #2,913,846); Portugal (Registration # 290,065 MNA); Spain (Registration # 1,750,467M8); Switzerland (Registration # 404,426); and United Kingdom (Registration # 1,459,413).
As per the Complaint, the Respondent uses the disputed Domain Name “to host a web page containing links to various commercial web sites which offer wallcoverings, upholstery, fabrics and related goods, including links to web sites offering the products of Designtex’s competitors”.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that :
(1) The <designtex.com> domain name registered by Respondent is identical to Complainant’s DESIGNTEX Mark.
(2) Complainant has not licensed or otherwise permitted Respondent to use the DESIGNTEX Mark or to apply for or use any domain name incorporating the mark.
(3) Respondent is not commonly known by the <designtex.com> domain name and has not acquired any trademark or service mark rights to that name.
(4) Respondent obtained the <designtex.com> domain name in order to intentionally attempt to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to Respondent’s web pages by creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainant’s trademark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of Respondent’s web site.
(5) Respondent uses the <designtex.com> domain name to host a web page containing links to various commercial web sites which offer wallcoverings, upholstery, fabrics and related goods, including links to web sites offering the products of Designtex’s competitors.
(6) The fact that Respondent provided the Registrar with incomplete information in its registration application constitutes strong evidence of bad faith registration and use.
(7) Complainant conducted an investigation of registered domain names which have the identical telephone number or email address as the Administrative Contact identified by Respondent. This investigation suggests that Respondent has also registered the following domain names, among others: <ebaytraining.com>; <holidayinnhotel.net>; <lamasil.com>; <ibmcom.com>; <ibmservices.com>; <quiltednorthen.com>; <searsdelivery.com>; <eckertphotos.com>; <mercedez.org>; <shirwinwilliams.com>; <dhljobs.com>. Respondent therefore has engaged in a pattern of registering domain names in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in the corresponding domain name.
(8) Respondent registered and uses <designtex.com> domain name to unlawfully divert and siphon off visitors seeking Complainant’s “www.dtex.com” web site. Respondent’s use of the <designtex.com> domain name for such purposes is neither a bona fide offering of goods or services nor a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain names, and is itself evidence of bad faith.
(9) The facts that (i) Complainant’s DESIGNTEX Mark has a strong reputation and is widely known throughout the world; (ii) Respondent had constructive and probable actual notice of Complainant’s rights in the DESIGNTEX Mark at the time it registered the <designtex.com> domain name; (iii) Respondent provided incomplete or false contact information for the <designtex.com> domain name; (iv) Respondent has a history of registering domain names which correspond to famous trademarks and service marks; (v) Respondent uses the <designtex.com> domain name to intentionally divert traffic away from Designtex’s “www.dtex.com” web site; (vi) Respondent uses the <designtex.com> domain name to host a web site containing links to various commercial web sites which offer the products of Designtex’s competitors, and (vii) it is not possible to conceive of any plausible or contemplated active use of the “www.designtex.com” domain name by Respondent that would not be illegitimate or unlawful, all constitute evidence of the registration and use of the domain names in bad faith in accordance with paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
The Policy sets out in paragraph 4(a) the cumulative elements that shall be proved by the Complainant in order to succeed in an administrative proceeding for abusive Domain Name registration. We will examine each one of these elements in the following points:
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The disputed Domain Name comprises only two elements: a) the expression “designtex”, which is identical to the Complainant’s registered trademark; and b) the particle “com”, which is an attribute of the gTLD “.com” and therefore a generic term without any value to differentiate the domain name from the identical trademark.
Therefore, the requirement of paragraph 4(a)(i) is met.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The expression “designtex” is not part of the corporate name of the entity which has registered the disputed Domain Name. The Respondent has not answered the Complaint and, therefore, it has not provided any evidence of a right or legitimate interest in respect of the use of the expression “designtex” as a Domain Name. The conclusion about the lack of rights or legitimate interests that comes from this fact is confirmed by the lack of allegation by the Respondent of the existence of any of the circumstances listed in paragraph 4 (c) of the Policy to demonstrate its rights or legitimate interest to use the Domain Name.
Given the lack of a Response from the Respondent and that the Complainant has established a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name, the Panel concludes that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name <designtex.com>. Therefore, the requirement of paragraph 4(a)(ii) is met.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Complainant based the Complaint in this point on the existence of the circumstance set out in paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy regarding the registration and use of the domain name in bad faith.
In the circumstances of this case, the use as a domain name of the Complainant’s trademark seems to be conduct which falls within the circumstance outlined by paragraph 4(b) of the Policy, in that the Respondent “intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to a web site or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship or affiliation, or endorsement of this web site or location or of a product or service on such web site or location.” This is reinforced by the fact, alleged and proved by the Complainant, not refuted by the Respondent and verified by the Panel, that the website linked to the Domain Name displays a list of hyperlinks that permits an Internet user to access a number of commercial web sites offering the same kind of products as those sold by the Complainant under the DESIGNTEX mark.
In light of these circumstances, and in the absence of any response from the Respondent concerning any legitimate reason that it could have for registering and using <designtex.com> as a domain name, the Panel cannot find any justification for the registration and use of a domain name that incorporates the Complainant’s trademark.
The use of false contact information by the Respondent is a further indication of bad faith. This circumstance was taken into account in decisions of previous UDRP panels:
The Respondent’s bad faith is further demonstrated by the false contact information he provided to the registrar with which the domain names are registered. See Oxygen Media, LLC v. Primary Source, WIPO Case No. D2000-0362 § 6A (finding bad faith, in part, because respondent provided false contact details to Register.com, Inc.; Wachovia Corporation v. Peter Carrington, WIPO Case No. D2002-0775.
The fact that the Respondent has also registered several other domain names which are similar to prominent trademarks and which are linked to websites of the same appearance and functionality as the one located at <designtex.com>, illustrates that the Respondent has engaged in a pattern of bad faith conduct, supporting a finding that the Respondent has acted in bad faith in this case. See National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, Inc., d/b/a Minor League Baseball v. John Zuccarini, WIPO Case No. D2002-1011.
Because of this, the Panel finds that the Respondent has registered and used the Domain Name < designtex.com > in bad faith. Therefore, the requirement of paragraph 4(a)(iii) is met.
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 <designtex.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Dated: February 23, 2006