WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited v. Maria Stephen
Case No. D2006-0152
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited, Berkshire, United Kingdom.
The Respondent is Maria Stephen, Vienan, Georgia; Crawfordsville, Indiana; Marlboro, Maryland, United States of America.
2. The Domain Names and Registrars
The disputed domain names <rollsroycepromo.net>, and <rollsroycepromotions.com> are registered with Melbourne IT trading as Internet Names Worldwide.
The disputed domain name <rollsroycepromotions.org> is registered with eNom.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on February 3, 2006. On February 6, 2006, the Center transmitted by email to Melbourne IT trading as Internet Names Worldwide a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain name <rollsroycepromotions.com>. On February 7, 2006, Melbourne IT trading as Internet Names Worldwide 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 and technical contact. An Amended Complaint was filed with the Center on February 10, 2006. On February 14, 2006, the Center transmitted by email to Melbourne IT trading as Internet Names Worldwide a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain name <rollsroycepromo.net>. On February 15, 2006, Melbourne IT trading as Internet Names Worldwide 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 and technical contact. On February 14, 2006, the Center transmitted by email to eNom a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain name <rollsroycepromotions.org>. On February 14, 2006, eNom transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details. The Center verified that the Complaint, together with the Amended 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 Amended Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on February 23, 2006. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was March 15, 2006. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on March 17, 2006.
The Center appointed Gunnar Karnell as the Sole Panelist in this matter on March 28, 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 Complaint is based on the United Kingdom trademark registration No. 291969 for ROLLS-ROYCE, as well as on the United States trademark registration No. 325,195 for ROLLS-ROYCE, in 1907 and 1935, respectively, both assigned to the Complainant as recorded. The Respondent’s domain names were all registered in the period August 23, 2005 – September 1, 2005.
The Complainant has requested that all three disputed domain names be transferred to the Complainant.
5. Parties’ Contentions
For some hundred years, the Complainant and its predecessors-in-title to the ROLLS-ROYCE trademark have used it all over the world in connection with goods and services. The trademark is one of the most famous and prestigious automobile brands in the world.
In 2005, the Complainant was made aware that fraudulent, unsolicited e-mails were sent from various e-mail addresses, indicating various contact names under the heading “ROLLS ROYCE 100th ANNIVERSARY EXTRAVAGANZA” or similar titles. They were claimed to be sent by the Complainant. They were not authorized by the Complainant, who received numerous inquiries about their authenticity. The pattern of use is manifested by the use of e-mail addresses, such as the following, with false and untraceable contact details in the domain name registrations:
firstname.lastname@example.org, is used in what is well known as “scam” e-mails, the present ones purportedly from the Complainant, but with a non-existent United Kingdom address, informing the recipient that it won £1,000,000 in the course of a promotional campaign and requiring it to reply with personal data; money to be handed out only after payment of some “transfer fee” for a, hence, non-existent award, defrauding those who pay and leaving them in danger of having their personal data used for illegal purposes, such as identity theft.
“email@example.com” and “firstname.lastname@example.org” are used as e-mail-addresses in the whois details for these domain names. Mail Exchange records (under the code “MX”, as typically used in technical entries for domains) have been set up in the zone files of the domain names, so that e-mails can be sent using the e-mail endings “@rollsroycepromo.net” and “@rollsroycepromotions.org”.
The reference to Rolls-Royce and to a “promotion”, in line with the theme of the unsolicited, fraudulent e-mails mentioned hereinabove, as well as the registration of all three domain names in the same period, according to Whois details, shows that the domain names were all registered and used for the same purpose and the same activities.
The distinctive portions of all three domain names are (apart from the missing hyphen) identical to the Complainant’s ROLLS-ROYCE trademark. The addition of a generic term, such as “promo” and “promotions” to a well known trademark is insufficient to avoid confusion. The endings “.com”, “.net” and “.org” are all generic top level domain endings of no importance for the similarity test under paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy. The domain names are confusingly similar to the ROLLS-ROYCE trademark.
The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of its domain names. It is not a licensee of the Complainant’s marks, nor has it been authorized in any other way to use them. It has made no legitimate non-commercial or fair use of the domain names.
The Respondent’s registration and use of its domain names as presented hereinabove correspond to the criteria for bad faith mentioned in paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy. Also, the use of the Complainant’s trademark in the disputed domain names, as e-mail-addresses for the distribution of unsolicited and fraudulent e-mails, notwithstanding the non-similarity and rights/legitimate interest tests under paragraphs 4(a)(i) and (2) of the Policy, means that the domain names have been registered and used in bad faith. Registration and use in bad faith is also evidenced by the provision of false information in applying for the domain names.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
The factual foundation of the Complainant’s contentions, as presented in great detail by the Complainant, well supporting its claim by written evidence, entitles the Panel to deal summarily with the case.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
All three domain names are confusingly similar to the Complainant’s registered trademark, for reasons given by the Complainant.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant has supplied evidence that it has not licensed or otherwise authorized the Respondent to use its trademark. Further, the Respondent does not appear to be commonly known by the domain names or to be making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain names.
The Complainant has established a prima facie case of lack of rights and legitimate interests and there has been no rebuttal from the Respondent. There is no evidence in the case file that gives reason to believe that the Respondent has or has had any rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain names.
The Panel concludes that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Given the reputation of the Complainant worldwide, and the Respondent’s use of the domain names, it is unlikely that the Respondent was unaware of the Complainant and its trademark when it registered the domain names.
The Complainant has provided evidence that the Respondent has used the domain names to send fraudulent, unsolicited e-mails in the name of the Complainant. The Respondent has not replied to any of the assertions or evidence in the Complaint.
Based on the evidence in the case file, the Panel finds that the contested domain names have been registered and used in bad faith.
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 names, <rollsroycepromotions.com>, <rollsroycepromotions.org> and <rollsroycepromo.net> be transferred to the Complainant.
Dated: April 2, 2006