WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
AIDA Cruises German Branch of Costa Crociere S.p.A. v. BEALO GROUP S.A.
Case No. D2006-1306
1. The Parties
The Complainant is AIDA Cruises German Branch of Costa Crociere S.p.A., Rostock, Germany, represented by Selting und Baldermann, Germany.
The Respondent is BEALO GROUP S.A., Geneva, Switzerland.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <aida2.org> is registered with OnlineNic, Inc. d/b/a China-Channel.com.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on October 10, 2006. On October 13, 2006, the Center transmitted by email to OnlineNic, Inc. d/b/a China-Channel.com a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain name at issue. On October 16, 2006, OnlineNic, Inc. d/b/a China-Channel.com 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 November 7, 2006. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was November 27, 2006. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on November 28, 2006.
The Center appointed Guillermo Carey as the sole panelist in this matter on December 7, 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
In accordance with the information provided in the Complaint, and as verified by the Registrar of the domain name, the Respondent is Bealo Group S.A., which registered the domain name <aida2.org> on February 8, 2005.
The Respondent is using the domain name <aida2.org> to provide a portal site directing Internet users to third party sites, which includes, among others, competitive services and products of those offered by the Complainant.
The Complainant is a cruise line, based in Rostock, Germany, which operates cruises in Europe, the United States of America, the Caribbean and Asia.
The Complainant is the owner of the German trademark 397 01 328 AIDA, registered on March 17, 2003. The trademark is registered for “travel arrangements, transport; accommodation of guests”. In addition, the Complainant owns the international trademarks 701 324 AIDA, 796 360 AIDA DAS CLUBSCHIFF, 872 409 AIDA and 851 069 AIDA CRUISES. These international trademarks designate Switzerland, which is the Respondent’s domicile of record.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that:
The disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the trademark 397 01 328 AIDA, taking into account that the domain name wholly incorporates the Complainant’s trademark. The Complainant states that additional numbers do not detract from the incorporated trademark.
The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect to the domain name. The Respondent has not obtained a right to use the prior registered trademark nor has obtained a license to use the trademark of the Complainant. The Respondent uses the Domain Name for commercial gain since the Respondent offers other companies services through the website. Furthermore, the Respondent provides links to websites of competitors of the Complainant.
The Respondent has registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith considering that the website provides sponsored links of various commercial companies. Many of these links divert Internet users to websites competing with Complainant’s activities (travel arrangements and cruise trips). Also, the Respondent evidences bad faith when it is unwilling to be contacted.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy states that the Complainant must prove each of the following:
(i) that the domain name registered by the Respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark in which the Complainant has rights; and
(ii) that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
(iii) that the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has provided undisputed evidence indicating their ownership of the trademark registrations No. 397 01 328 AIDA, as well as registrations regarding the following trademarks: AIDA DAS CLUBSCHIFF, CLUBSCHIFF AIDA and EC trademarks AIDA DAS CLUBSCHIFF, AIDA and AIDA CRUISES.
Given that (i) the disputed domain name is and sounds nearly identical to the Complainant’s registered trademark (AIDA), and (ii) the suffix “2” does not obviate the first impression on Internet users, taking into account that AIDA is a widely known travel cruises service mark, the confusion between the Respondent’s domain name and Complainant’s trademark and domain names is likely.
Finally, and as verified by this Panel, the domain name provides links to different tourism websites, contributing to further confuse Internet users.
Pursuant to the above, this Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s registered trademarks. Consequently, the Complainant has satisfied the requirements under paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
No evidence has been provided by the Respondent in order to demonstrate the existence of any kind of relationship between the Respondent and the Complainant, or that the Respondent is a licensee of the Complainant or it has authorized the use of its trademark by granting express permission. Moreover, the Respondent has not asserted any rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. This leads the Panel to presume that the Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests (see Pavillion Agency Inc. v. Greenhouse Agency Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2000-1221).
Complainant has alleged that the Respondent uses the <aida2.org> domain name to redirect Internet users to a website wholly unrelated to the Complainant’s mark, including services of competitors of the Complainant, presumably for referral fees. Using a domain name which is confusingly similar to a third party trademark in order to gain or increase internet traffic for profit is not a bona fide offering of goods or services pursuant to paragraph 4(c)(i) of the Policy, nor a legitimate noncommercial or fair use pursuant to paragraph 4(c)(iii).
Pursuant to the above, Complainant has fulfilled paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Based on the evidence, the Respondent uses a domain name which entirely incorporates the Complainant’s trademark, and provides sponsored links that diverts Internet users to websites which features products competing with the Complainant.
This Panel finds that the Respondent is using the domain name as an attempt to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to other websites or other on-line locations, by creating a likelihood of confusion.
Registering and using a domain name that entirely incorporates a third party’s registered trademark, as well as the content of the website, which offers, among others, cruise and travel accommodations, creates a likelihood of confusion among Internet users, whom will be misled into thinking that the domain name belongs to the Complainant.
Additionally, the Respondent appears to have been aware of Complainant’s rights in the mark. The fact that the website directs users to competing services, would indicate that the Respondent was probably aware of the Complainant’s AIDA mark.
The Panel also investigated and took special consideration to the precedents submitted by the Complainant, whereby the Respondent has been involved in at least four UDRP cases where trademark owners successfully asserted trademark rights against domain names registered by the Respondent.
Therefore, Complainant has fulfilled its burden in paragraph 4(a)(iii) 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 name <aida2.org> be transferred to the Complainant.
Dated: December 29, 2006