WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Germanwings GmbH v. Web Registration Service Dot Liban /Elias Skander
Case No. D2006-1124
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Germanwings GmbH, Köln, Germany, represented by Heisse Kursawe Eversheds, Germany.
The Respondent is Web Registration Service Dot Liban /Elias Skander, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain names <germamwings.com> and <germanwimgs.com> are registered with eNom, Inc.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on August 31, 2006. On September 6, 2006, the Center transmitted by email to eNom.inc, a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain names at issue. ENom. Inc, 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 September 15, 2006. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was October 5, 2006. The Response was filed with the Center on October 2, 2006.
The Center appointed Lynda J. Zadra-Symes as the Sole Panelist in this matter on October 20, 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.
On November 14, 2006, the Panel issued an order requesting additional information from Complainant. On November 20, 2006, Complainant responded to this order and submitted additional information.
4. Factual Background
The Complainant is a low-cost airline based in Germany. The Complainant is fully owned by a German company called Eurowings Luftverkerhrs AG, in which Deutsche Lufthansa AG has a holding of 49%. The Complaint is based on the trademark GERMANWINGS which the Complainant has used as a business name and in its Internet domain name <germanwings.com> since 2002. The Complainant also claims the benefit of a license from Deutsche Lufthansa AG, owner of the trademark GERMANWINGS which was registered on August 20, 2002, at the German Patent and Trademark Office for use in connection with goods and services including transport of persons and goods by motor vehicle, train, ship and aircraft and other transport related goods and services.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant contends that its company name, GERMANWINGS, which it has used in its day-to-day business since 2002, is very well-known and protected under German trademark law. Complainant further contends that Respondent’s domain names <germamwings.com> and <germanwimgs.com> are identical and confusingly similar to Complainant’s company name GERMANWINGS, that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names and that Respondent has registered and used the disputed domain names in bad faith.
Respondent contends that the term “German Wings” is too generic to be anyone’s trademark and is used by default to refer to flying. Respondent further contends that he registered the domain names “in good faith for a bona fide offering of services to promote the Respondent’s virtual mall”.
Respondent did not submit any evidence in support of his contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
In order to succeed in its claim, Complainant must demonstrate that all of the elements enumerated in Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy have been satisfied:
(i) the domain name in dispute is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights;
(ii) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests with respect to the domain name; and
(iii) the domain name has been registered and used in bad faith.
Paragraph 15(a) of the Rules instructs this Panel to decide a complaint “on the basis of the statements and documents submitted in accordance with the Policy, these Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable”.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The disputed domain names are virtually identical and confusingly similar to the Complainant’s protected company name and trademark. But for the typographical error of one letter in each of the domain names, the domain names are identical to Complainant’s protected company name and trademark.
Thus, the Panel finds that the domain names are confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Respondent is not an authorized licensee of Complainant, nor is he authorized to use Complainant’s GERMANWINGS name and trademark. The only interest of the Respondent in the domain names is their value as typographical errors in relation to the domain names associated with the Complainant’s company name “Germanwings” and website “www.germanwings.com”.
The Respondent is not commonly known by the names “germamwings” or “germanwimgs”.
Accordingly, based on the evidence, the Panel finds that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain names.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The domain names are merely misspellings of the Complainant’s well-known website domain name and company name GERMANWINGS. In registering the domain names, it is likely that the Respondent had actual knowledge of the Complainant’s well-known company name and website domain name <germanwings.com>. Respondent’s registration of the disputed domain names with the slight typographical errors appears to be deliberately intended to misdirect web traffic of individuals who inadvertently mistype either the word “german” or the word “wings” when entering Complainant’s company domain name.
The Respondent has previously been held to have been a “typosquatter”. See, The Sports Authority Michigan, Inc. v. Elias Skander d/b/a Web Registration Service,
FA021200135598 (Nat. Arb. Forum Jan. 7, 2003).
By registering the domain names incorporating misspellings of Complainant’s business name, domain name and trademark, Respondent is trading off the goodwill in Complainant’s protected business name, mark and domain name GERMANWINGS and <germanwings.com>.
Thus, the Panel finds that Respondent has registered and used the domain names in bad faith in accordance with paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.
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 be transferred to the Complainant.
Lynda J. Zadra-Symes
Dated: November 27, 2006