WIPO

 

WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

 

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Socit Nationale des Chemins de fer Franais SNCF v. Click Cons. Ltd.

Case No. D2007-0621

 

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Socit Nationale des Chemins de fer Franais - SNCF, Paris, France, represented by Jalenques, Lecasble & Associs, France.

The Respondent is Click Cons. Ltd., Nassau, Bahamas.

 

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <coraillunea.com> is registered with BelgiumDomains, LLC.

 

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on April 24, 2007. On April 27, 2007, the Center transmitted by email to BelgiumDomains, LLC a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain name at issue. On April 27, 2007, BelgiumDomains, LLC 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 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 May 7, 2007. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was May7,2007. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on May 29, 2007.

The Center appointed Adam Samuel as the sole panelist in this matter on June11,2007. 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 Complainant owns French trademark registration n 1604340 for CORAIL, filed on June 23, 1988. This mark was renewed on May 29, 1998 and is in force and valid. The Complainant is the proprietor of the UK trademark CORAIL n 1326307, filed on November 9, 1987 and renewed on November 9, 1994 and November 9, 2004. The Complainant is also the owner of the French mark CORAIL n 936.333 filed on September 2, 1975, renewed on August 29, 1985 under n 1321499, August 14, 1995 and on July 4, 2005. Finally, the Complainant owns the French registered mark CORAIL (stylized) n 023185099, filed on September 24, 2002.

CORAIL is the name of a train and related transport and travel services used by the Complainant to organize railway transportation of passengers, mainly in France. The “Corail” train is one of the most popular trains in France, like “Thalys” or “Eurostar”.

The Complainant is also the proprietor of the Community Trade Mark LUNEA (stylized), registered on September 26, 2005. This mark designates “Railway vehicles (class 12)” and “Transport of passengers and goods by rail; storage of goods, reservation and issuing of seats and couchettes for rail transport; escorting of travelers; rail tourism and travel agencies (class 39)”.

 

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant’s arguments are set out here. The Complainant uses the two marks CORAIL LUNA to designate a night train in France. The commercial use of the marks CORAIL and LUNA started in 2004 in connection with the rail transportation of passengers by night train, and related travel services such as booking seats, discount requirements and the transport of bicycles.

The domain name <coraillunea.com> is identical to the marks CORAIL and LUNA, joined together. It reflects the way in which these marks are used by the Complainant, together. The domain name <coraillunea.com> is confusingly similar to the earlier marks CORAIL and LUNA, in which the Complainant has rights. The likelihood of confusion is enhanced by the fact that the Complainant uses the marks together within the same appellation “corail luna”, to designate the specific services mentioned above.

The Complainant is the French railway. It has developed online-booking services for seats and spaces in trains over the years, on its own and in partnership with major hotel and car rental companies. One of these partners is the ACCOR Group. According to the agreement between the Complainant and ACCOR, travelers may book simultaneously a room and a train ticket, through the service “Train + hotel” proposed by many travel agencies throughout the world. 1000 hotels and more than 250 destinations can be reached by this offer. One of the main travel agencies able to propose and sell the “Train + hotel” service actually belongs to the Complainant.

The Complainant contends that the Respondent is neither related to the Complainant nor to the Complainant’s partners. It has not received any permission to use the marks CORAIL or “LUNA”, alone or in association with each other. Furthermore, the Respondent is not commonly known by the domain name in issue. It is located in the Bahamas.

In registering the domain name at issue <coraillunea.com>, the Respondent is attempting to jeopardize the aforesaid activity and partnership between the Complainant and Accor.

The Complainant further contends that the domain name at issue leads to a parking page with several links leading to hotels, namely “Hotel Corail Paris”, located nearby the Paris train station “Gare de Lyon”, and the Madagascar Hotel, “Le Corail Noir Nosy Be”. A third link leads to the web site, “cybevasion”, through which hotel bookings and other tourism services are offered.

The Respondent is benefiting from the Complainant’s and travel agency activity resulting from its partnerships with hotel companies like ACCOR, in order to direct Internet users to web sites offering hotel accommodation.

The Respondent is misleading the public by letting it believe that the hotel accommodation and travel services available through the parking web site “www.coraillunea.com” are organized by the Complainant, owner of the marks LUNA and CORAIL.

None of the web sites that can be reached by clicking on the links shown in the parking page “www.coraillunea.com” belongs to companies related, directly or indirectly, to the Complainant or its partners. The hotels in question are not members of the ACCOR Group of companies, and the company “cybevasion” is a travel agency that competes with the Complainant’s online travel agency “www.sncf-voyages.com”.

The Respondent is using a confusingly similar domain name to appropriate the goodwill of the Complainant and direct customers of the Complainant to competitors’ websites in order to generate revenue.

The Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract for commercial gain internet users to the Respondent’s web site 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 the Respondent’s web site or location or of a product or service on the Respondent’s web site or location.

B. Respondent

The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.

 

6. Discussion and Findings

Under the Policy, the Complainant must prove that:

(i) the domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which it has rights; and

(ii) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and

(iii) the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The domain name in issue consists of two words, “corail” and “luna” and the standard suffix “.com”. The Complainant has valid registered trademarks for both of these words. Neither possesses an independent meaning in either French or English.

If the domain name in dispute was either <corail.com> or <lunea.com>, there would be no serious argument that it was confusingly similar to a trademark in which the Complainant had rights. The use of one trademark followed by another where neither word possesses an independent meaning would seem to result in a domain name that is confusingly similar with both trademarks.

In addition, a reasonable person aware of the Complainant’s promotion of its night train services using both words together who encountered the disputed domain name would probably assume that it was associated with the Complainant and its marks.

For these reasons, the Panel concludes that the domain name is confusingly similar to both trademarks of the Complainant referred to above.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Respondent is not called “Corailluna” or anything similar and does not appear to trade under that name. There is no evidence that the Complainant has authorized the Respondent to use any of its trademarks or that the Respondent has ever asserted any rights or legitimate interest in the domain name. For these reasons, and in view of the absence of a Response, the Panel concludes that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interest in respect of the domain name.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The disputed domain name currently resolves to a webpage containing a search engine and a number of sponsored links. While it is not possible to view the website to which, according to the Complainant, the domain name in issue previously resolved, the Complainant has produced a statement of Alain Saragoussi who states that he viewed the website concerned. His statement contains a printout of the home page of the domain name in issue as he saw it. This page provided links to a variety of other websites including the Hotel Corail in Paris through which one could book rooms there. This hotel has no connection with the Complainant. Through other links on the home page, Mr. Saragoussi states that he found more websites offering hotels and other tourist facilities.

The Complainant has produced advertising material showing that it provides train journeys at night under the name “Corail luna”. It has a commercial relationship with major hotel companies including the ACCOR Group through which customers book train tickets and hotel reservations at the same time.

The Respondent appears to have registered the domain in issue and, in so doing used the Complainant’s trademarks, associations and reputation in the tourist industry, in order to attract internet users to the website to which the disputed domain name resolves. The Respondent seems to have hoped then to earn revenue from businesses in the tourist industry to whose websites customers could gain access through the disputed domain name. The Respondent probably intended to charge a “click-through” fee with respect to customers who clicked through its website to those of providers of tourist services. Otherwise, it is difficult to see why the Respondent registered the domain name in dispute.

The domain name combines the Complainant’s trade marks and the name of its night train service in a distinctive way. Presumably, the name was selected to attract people looking for the Complainant’s services in the tourism area. The Respondent was then presumably hoping to divert customers to websites that market products and services offered by the Complainant’s competitors. The fact that the Respondent was using the domain name in issue to divert customers to competitors of the Complainant is itself evidence of bad faith.

As the Panel said, in Banca di Roma S.p.A. v. Unasi Inc. a/k/a Domaincar, WIPO Case No.D2006-0068:

“The Respondent is linking the disputed domain name to a portal site offering sponsored links. There, Internet users have access to a variety of goods and services, among them websites of the Complainant’s competitors. As described by the panelist in Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu v. Henry Chan, WIPO Case No.D2003-0584, such websites offer a revenue program which pays domain name owners (in the particular case) “50% of all revenues generated from searches, popunders, popups, and exit popups” in respect of users directed to its website through the participants domain name.

“This leads the Panel to the conclusion that the Respondent registered the domain name at issue to divert Internet users seeking information about the Complainant’s products to a portal site offering sponsored links and to share in revenues obtained from the diverted traffic. Even if internet users would realize that the Respondent’s website is not connected with the trademark owner, the Respondent is liable to profit from their initial confusion, since they may still be tempted to click on sponsored links. In many previous UDRP decisions, in some of them the Respondent was involved as a Respondent party as well, such exploitation of trademarks to obtain click-through commissions from the diversion of internet users was held of use in bad faith … In the absence of any reply of the Respondent, the Panel can make a reasonable inference that the Respondent’s website generates revenue for the Respondent in that manner.”

Registering a domain name in order to use someone else’s trademarks, associations and reputation to attract internet users to a website in order to make money is itself bad faith. Doing this in order to divert customers looking for the Complainant’s products and services to a website through which they can purchase products or services of the Complainant’s competitors is even more evidence of this. For all these reasons, the Panel concludes that the Respondent has both registered and used the domain name in issue in bad faith.

 

7. Decision

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 <coraillunea.com> be transferred to the Complainant.


Adam Samuel
Sole Panelist

Dated: June 25, 2007