WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Kurt Geiger Limited v. Beroca Holdings B.V.I. Limited
Case No. D2007-0195
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Kurt Geiger Limited, Borough, London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, represented by D. Young & Co., United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The Respondent is Beroca Holdings B.V.I. Limited, London United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <kurtgeiger.mobi> (“the Disputed Domain Name”) is registered with EuroDNS S.A.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on February 9, 2007. On February 14, 2007, the Center transmitted by email to EuroDNS S.A. a request for registrar verification in connection with the Disputed Domain name. On February 23, 2007, EuroDNS S.A. 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 February 26, 2007. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was March 18, 2007. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on March 20, 2007.
The Center appointed Michael D. Cover as the sole panelist in this matter on April 3, 2007. 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 Respondent has not submitted a Response. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(e), in the absence of exceptional circumstances, the Panel has decided this dispute based upon the facts set out in the Complaint, subject to what is set out below on the Panel’s independent research.
The Complainant is Kurt Geiger Limited. It was established in 1969 but changed its name to the current style in 1993 (see Annex KG3 to the Complaint). The Complainant operates a website at “www.kurtgeiger.com”. It sells excellent quality footwear.
The Complainant is the owner of a number of UK, (European) Community and US registered trademarks, which consist of or include the words “Kurt Geiger”. These are registered between them for a range of goods and services that include leather goods, shoes and jewellery and accessories and advertising and retail services. The earliest of these registered trademarks, which is registered in the United Kingdom, was filed in 1978.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant submits that it is the owner of the registered trademarks set out in the factual background above. It also submits that it owns the domain name <kurtgeiger.com> and that the company name is registered as Kurt Geiger Limited since 1989. The Complainant submits that it enjoys a reputation for manufacturing and retailing excellent quality footwear.
The Complainant submits that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Disputed Domain Name, as it has not been able find any use by the Respondent of the Disputed Domain Name in connection with a bona fide commercial business and that the Respondent has no legitimate commercial reason for registering and using the domain name.
As to the Disputed Domain Name being registered and being used in bad faith, the Complainant submits that the Respondent has registered the Disputed Domain Name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting or otherwise transferring the Disputed Domain Name to the Complainant or a competitor of the Complainant. The Complainant points in this regard to the registration by the Respondent of domain names incorporating the names of several of what it calls “well-known” high street company names. These include <selfridges.mobi>, <riverisland.mobi>, <frenchconnection.mobi> and <jdsports.mobi>. These all appear to have been registered on the same day, that is September 26, 2006, which is also the same date as the registration of the Disputed Domain Name.
The Complainant request that the Disputed Domain Name be transferred to it.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
In order to succeed, the Complainant has to show according to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy that:
(i) the Disputed Domain Name 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 in respect of the domain name; and
(iii) the Disputed Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel finds that the Disputed Domain is identical and confusingly similar to the registered trademarks held by the Complainant. These registered trademarks include registrations of the words KURT GEIGER on their own and with limited added matter, such as the initials “KG”.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
As the Respondent has not filed a Response, it has not taken advantage of the opportunity to seek to establish that it has used or made preparations to use the Disputed Domain Name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services, that it has been commonly known by the Disputed Domain Name or that it is making legitimate non-commercial or fair use of the Disputed Domain Name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue.
In fact, one of the documents in the file points in the opposite direction. This is part of the WHOIS search, which is a printout, which shows links from the “<kurtgeiger.mobi> Domain Name Parking Page” to various other sites which show shoes. These include, by way of example, one which offers “Church Shoes at Herring’s”.
The Panel is competent independently to visit the Internet in a default proceeding such as this case, to perform certain limited independent research when reaching its decision- see Société des Produits Nestlé SA v. Telmex Management Services, WIPO Case No. D2002-0070. The Panel notes that <kurtgeiger.mobi> resolves to a domain name parking page, which includes links to various sites offering shoes, including one offering the Complainant’s Kurt Geiger Shoes. This points again in the opposite direction of the Respondent having rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Disputed Domain Name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy sets out a non-exhaustive list of the requirements under this head.
Passive holding of a domain may constitute registration and use in bad faith- see Telstra Corporation Limited v. Nuclear Marshmallows, WIPO Case No. D2000-0003, but each case has to be considered on its facts. These, in this case, include the fact that the Respondent has not filed a Response and that in the Panel’s view there is no conceivable good faith use for the Disputed Domain Name other than in relation to the Complainant.
The Panel finds in the circumstances that the Disputed Domain Name in all likelihood has been registered and used in bad faith.
As set out above, when the Panel considered rights and legitimate interests, the Disputed Domain Name does appear to be used to be used to divert users to other sites in this same business area as the Complainant. The Panel also notes the large number of other domains that appear to have been registered from the retail area on the same day as the Disputed Domain Name indicating what is now generally known as “taster” activity, involving typosquatting. This adds additional weight to the Panel’s finding in this case that the Disputed Domain has been registered and is being 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 Disputed Domain Name, <kurtgeiger.mobi> be transferred to the Complainant.
Michael D. Cover
Dated: April 17, 2007