WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Veolia Environment v. Domain Drop S.A.
Case No. D2006-1029
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Veolia Environment of Paris France, represented by Cabinet Gide Loyrette Nouel.
The Respondent is Domain Drop S.A. of Charlestown, West Indies, St. Kitts & Nevis.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The domain name at issue is <veoliatransporation.com> registered with DomainDoorman, LLC.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the Center) on August 11, 2006, (via email – whereas a hardcopy of the Complaint was received on August 15, 2006).
On August 21, 2006, the Center transmitted to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain name at issue.
On August 22, 2006, the Registrar 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.
In response to a notification by the Center that the Complaint was administratively deficient, the Complainant filed an amended version of the Complaint on September 1, 2006, (via email, whereas a hard copy was received on September 5, 2006).
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 6, 2006.
In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for the Response was September 26, 2006. The Respondent did not submit any response.
Accordingly, on September 28, 2006, the Center sent a Notification of Respondent Default to the parties.
The Center appointed Mayer Gabay as the sole panelist in this matter on October 16, 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
On the basis of the documents submitted by the Complainant, the following facts can be established:
This case concerns the Domain Name, <veoliatransporation.com> (hereinafter the Domain Name).
The Registrar of the Domain Name is DomainDoorman, LLC (the “Registrar”).
The Respondent is Domain Drop S.A., of the West Indies, St. Kitts & Nevis (the “Respondent”).
The Respondent had not submitted a Response to the Complaint or a request to extend the deadline for submission of a Response.
The Complainant is a well-known provider of environmental services and has been active for many years around the world. One of Complainant’s principle divisions, VEOLIA TRANSPORTATION, is a major passenger-transport operator, active in around 25 countries.
The Complainant holds a VEOLIA TRANSPORTATION trademark registered in Benelux on December 13, 2005. The Complainant also holds a VEOLIA trademark as well as many variation thereof: VEOLIA ENVIRONEMENT, VEOLIA ENVIRONMENT, VEOLIA WATER, VEOLIA WATER SYSTEMS, INSTITUT VEOLIA ENVIRONMENT (both as word only and semi figurative trademarks).
Since April 8, 2003, the Complainant has been making considerable efforts to promote the name “VEOLIA”, and on November 3, 2005 publicly announced its new branding scheme which included promotion of the name “VEOLIA TRANSPORTATION”.
The Domain Name was registered on May 15, 2006. It appears that the initial registrar of the Domain Name was an entity called DOMIBOT. The Complainant sent DOMIBOT a letter demanding, inter alia, that DOMIBOT withdraw registration of the Domain Name. It appears that at some date thereafter the Domain Name was transferred to the Respondent who is currently its registered owner.
The Domain Name in dispute conjoins the Complainant’s name, “VEOLIA”, with an apparent misspelling of the word “TRANSPORTATION” (dropping one letter and arriving at “transporation”) and creates a name which is nearly identical to the Complainant’s “VEOLIA TRANSPORTATION” trademark.
While the Respondent has not submitted a Response, it is found that there are sufficient grounds to rule for the Complaint, based upon factual and legal findings that have been established to the satisfaction of this Panel.
5. Parties’ Contentions
5.1 The Complainant alleges that:
(1) The Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to the trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights.
The domain name <veoliatransporation.com> reproduces the VEOLIA trademark and is nearly identical to the VEOLIA TRANSPORTATION trademark.
(2) The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name.
The Respondent has not used, is not using, nor shown any intent to use the Domain Name or a name corresponding to the Domain Names in connection with a bona fide offering of goods and services. The Domain Name leads to a search website with sponsored links for other websites.
(3) The Domain Name was registered in bad faith.
The date of registration followed the establishment of the Complainant’s marks, and the transfer of the Domain Name to the Respondent on August 22, 2006, i.e., after DOMIBOT had a received (1) a formal notice letter and (ii) the initial Complaint dated August 10, 2006 are both evidence of bad faith.
(4) The Domain Name is being used in bad faith.
The Domain Name leads to a page containing a search engine and links for commercial advertisements. The assumption is that the Respondent is exploiting the Complainant’s marks to obtain click-through commissions from the diversion of Internet users.
(5) The Complainant claims that it has legitimate rights to the VEOLIA and VEOLIA TRANSPORTATION names. The Complainant notes that the “veolia” name is very distinctive and has been acknowledged as such (referring to WIPO Case No. D2004-0104, Veolia Environment v. Cambridge Capital Investment Ltd.).
5.2 The Respondent
No Response was submitted by the Respondent to the Center.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 4 (a) of the Policy directs that Complainant must prove each of the following:-
(i) the domain name at issue is identical or confusingly similar to Complainant’s trademark, and
(ii) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interest in respect of the domain name, and
(iii) the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy sets out, by way of example, four circumstances, each of which, if proven shall be evidence of the registration and use of the domain name in bad faith for the purpose of paragraph 4 (a)(iii) above.
6.1 Identical or confusingly similar - Paragraph 4(a) (i) of the Policy.
The Domain Name <veoliatransporation.com> is clearly confusingly similar to the Complainant’s names VEOLIA and VEOLIA TRANSPORTATION.
We accept the contention that the omission of the letter “t” in the word “TRANSPORTATION” would generally cause confusion with a name of the same two words “veolia” and “TRANSPORTATION”. In the present case, the removal of the “t” does not change the substance of the domain name or remove the similarity or confusion with VEOLIA TRANSPORTATION. A reasonable person using the Internet may believe that <www.veoliatransporation.com> is linked to the Complainant.
The Complainant legally benefits from the “VEOLIA” and “VEOLIA TRANSPORTATION” names which, along with a number of related names, are also registered trademarks. These names have been in use prior to the registration of the Respondent’s Domain Name.
The Domain Name which includes the famous “VEOLIA” mark plus the term “TRANSPORATION” is clearly derivative and an obvious attempt to make use of the mark “VEOLIA” to which the Respondent has no rights.
6.2 Rights or legitimate interests – Paragraph 4(a) (ii) of the Policy
The Complainant has not licensed or permitted in any manner Respondent’s use of VEOLIA and/or VEOLIA TRANSPORTATION trade names and registered marks.
Further and in light of the failure of the Respondent to respond to the Complaint, we can conclude that the Respondent has no substantive and legitimate connection to the Domain Name and/or the Complainant.
By his failure to respond to the Complaint, the Respondent has not indicated any legitimate right or claim to the name whatsoever.
In view of the above, it can be concluded that the goal of the Respondent’s registration was to intentionally attract Internet users interested in the Complainant for the Respondent’s own commercial gain.
Having received no response from the Respondent, the Panel notes that the Respondent has not provided evidence of the kind specified in Paragraph 4 (c) of the Policy, or of any other circumstances giving rise to rights or legitimate interests in the domain name at issue.
6.3 Bad faith – Paragraph 4 (a) (iii)
Paragraph 4 (b) (iv) of the Policy establishes that there is evidence of bad faith if the disputed domain name is registered under circumstances indicating that the registration was done as an “attempt to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to your website or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of your website or location or of a product or service on your website or location.”
The Respondent’s Domain Name was registered after the Complainant’s marks had already enjoyed wide use for an extended period.
As discussed in 6.1 above, the Respondent’s Domain Name is almost identical and confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademarks.
By misdirecting the consumer, the Respondent distracts and delays the consumer from his pursuit of the service being offered by the Complainant. Furthermore, the Respondent confuses the consumer with the possibility that there is a connection between the Domain Name and the Complainant’s business.
The obvious negative impact of the Domain Name to the Complainant’s business is a further indication of bad faith on the part of the Respondent. The Respondent’s activities have the obvious potential for a number of negative effects on the Complainant’s business disrupting the business of the Complainant, and attracting Internet users by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s mark.
In light of the above, the Panel finds that the Domain Name was registered and used in bad faith.
6.4 In summary, the Panel finds that the Domain Name <veoliatransporation.com> at issue is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s names “VEOLIA” and “VEOLIA TRANSPORTATION”, that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name and that the Domain Name has been registered and used in bad faith.
For all the foregoing reasons, in accordance with Paragraph 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the Domain Name <veoliatransporation.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Dated: October 30, 2006