WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Christian Dior Couture v. Zbigniew Czapiga
Case No. D2007-0780
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Christian Dior Couture, Paris, France, represented by Cabinet Marc Sabatier, of France.
The Respondent is Zbigniew Czapiga, Zdziarzec, Poland.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <diorline.com> (hereinafter “Domain Name”) is registered with Tucows.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on May 29, 2007. On May 31, 2007, the Center transmitted by email to Tucows a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On May 31, 2007, Tucows 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 June 12, 2007. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was July 2, 2007. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on July 5, 2007.
The Center appointed Anna Carabelli as the sole panelist in this matter on July 17, 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.
The Panel independently determined and agrees with the assessment of the Center that the Complaint formally complies with the requirements of the Policy, the Rules and the Supplemental Rules.
4. Factual Background
The Complainant has submitted copy of the international registration certificate for the trademark DIOR, No. 811 074 which was registered on June 24, 2003 and is based on the French trademark registration of February 12, 2003, No. 03 3 209 310. This DIOR trademark is registered in classes 35, 38 and 42 which refer to advertising, communication and design.
The Complainant has also submitted a list of about 2,000 DIOR trademarks registered worldwide.
The Complainant and its registered trademarks are well-known in the world as they have been used for decades in connection with a wide variety of products as it has been held by previous WIPO UDRP decisions (Parfums Christian Dior v. QTR Corporation, WIPO Case No. D2000-0023; Christian Dior Couture S.A. v. Domain Administrative Jeffbhav, WIPO Case No. D2002-0493; Christian Dior Couture v. Alex Roché, WIPO Case No. DTV2007-0004).
The Respondent registered the Domain Name on January 12, 2007. The Domain Name leads to a web page displaying the name “Digital Image Online ®” and a few icons written in Polish that do not give access to any service or information. The notice “under construction” also appears at the bottom of the web page.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that:
- The Complainant holds several trademarks registered all over the world and, in particular, the International Registration No. 811 074 of the trademark DIOR, which is registered in classes 35, 38 and 42.
- The Complainant is very well-known for its goods sold under the trademark DIOR and CHRISTIAN DIOR COUTURE all over the world.
- The Domain Name is nearly identical to the Complainant’s trademark DIOR and very similar to its trademark CHRISTIAN DIOR and the word “line” added to the Domain Name is not distinctive and actually may increase the confusion with the Complainant’s trademark.
With respect to the Respondent the Complainant further contends that:
- The Respondent has no rights whatsoever on the trademark DIOR as it is not commonly known under the Domain Name <diorline.com>.
- The Domain Name was registered in bad faith, as it is not possible that the Respondent did not know the existence of the Complainant and its trademarks, given the Complainant’s notoriety.
- The Respondent’s website includes the words “Digital Image Online” and, consequently, the Respondent should have chosen the domain name <dioline.com> instead of <diorline.com>. The fact that the Respondent adopted the Domain Name shows the Respondent’s intention to piggyback on the Complainant’s fame.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel finds that the Complainant has established rights in the trademark DIOR, by submitting the International registration certificate of such trademark.
The Panel agrees that DIOR is a well-known trademark and is firmly associated with the Complainant worldwide.
The Domain Name consists of Complainant’s trademark to which the general term “line” is added. The Panel agrees with the principle established by numerous prior UDRP decisions, that when a domain name contains in full a complainant’s registered mark, that is sufficient to establish confusing similarity. The addition of the generic word “line” is not capable to sufficiently differentiate the Domain Name from the Complainant’s trademark. On the contrary, the word “line” may actually increase the likelihood of confusion between the Domain Name and the Complainant’s trademark as it may be read by Internet users as referring to a line of Dior products.
In the light of the above, the Panel finds that the Complainant has met the requirement of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy sets out in particular but without limitation three circumstances which, if proved by the Respondent, shall be evidence of the Respondent’s rights to or legitimate interests in the domain name for the purpose of paragraph 4(a)(ii), namely:
(i) before any notice of the dispute to the Respondent, the Respondent’s use of, or demonstrable preparation to use, the domain name or a name corresponding to the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods and services; or
(ii) the Respondent (as an individual, business, or other organization) has been commonly known by the domain name, even if Respondent has acquired no trademark or service mark rights; or
(iii) the Respondent is making a legitimate non-commercial or fair use of the domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue.
The Complainant has established prima facie that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name under paragraph 4(c) of the Policy. According to a consistent line of WIPO UDRP decisions, in such a case the burden of proof shifts to the respondent to rebut the evidence (see among others Carolina Herrera, Ltd. v. Alberto Rincon Garcia, WIPO Case No. D2002-0806; International Hospitality Management – IHM S.p.A. v. Enrico Callegari Ecostudio, WIPO Case No. D2002-0683). As a consequence, the Respondent’s failure to rebut the Complaint’s allegations, allows the Panel to infer, taking into consideration the circumstances of this case, that the Respondent has no such rights or legitimate interests.
Consequently, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interest in the Domain Name under paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel finds that the Domain Name has been registered in bad faith.
As established in section 6.A. above, the Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark. Moreover, the Complainant and its trademark DIOR are well-known world wide. For these reasons, the Panel considers that the Respondent was aware or should have known of the Complainant’s trademarks when he registered the Domain Name.
Further, the Panel finds that the Domain Name is being used in bad faith.
The Domain Name directs to a one-page website which apparently does not give access to any service or information while it appears to be still under construction. Considering that the Domain Name does not appear to resolve to an active website, and the absence of information from the respondent regarding actual or contemplated use, this raises issues of potential passive use in bad faith.
According to Telstra Corporation Ltd. v. Nuclear Marshmallows, WIPO Case No. D2000-0003, which was followed by several consistent WIPO UDRP decisions, “the concept of a domain name ‘being used in bad faith’ is not limited to positive action; inaction is within the concept. That is to say, it is possible, under certain circumstances, for inactivity by the Respondent to amount to the domain name being used in bad faith”. In the present case, while there is some material appearing at the disputed Domain Name, including an “Under Construction” message, none of the links appear to be functional, and the site gives the impression that it is not being actively maintained.
However, this may be, the Panel finds that the Respondent’s passive holding of the Domain Name meets the requirement of paragraph 4(a)(iii) that the Domain Name “is being used in bad faith” by the Respondent based on the following circumstances:
(i) The Complainant’s trademark is well-known worldwide;
(ii) The Respondent’s website includes the words “Digital Image Online” followed by the ® symbol and the Respondent could, presumably, have reasonably chosen the domain name <dioline.com> or a similar equivalent that did not contain the DIOR mark in its entirety. The fact that the Respondent adopted the Domain Name <diorline> and then included on its website the words “Digital Image Online”, particularly in the absence of any evidence of the Respondent’s rights in a “dio” mark strikes the Panel as something of an obvious pretext. See, e.g., National Hockey League v. Daniel Krusz, WIPO Case No. D2001-0234. The circumstances suggest to the Panel that the Respondent’s likely intention is to call to Internet user’s mind the Complainant’s trademark DIOR in order to take undue advantage of the high renown of the same;
(iii) there is no evidence whatsoever in front of the Panel of any current or contemplated good faith use of the Domain Name by the Respondent.
Furthermore, the Panel finds that it is difficult to conceive of any plausible active use of the Domain Name by the Respondent that would not be illegitimate, such as being a passing off, an infringement of consumer protection legislation or an infringement of the Complainant’s rights under trademark law.
In view of all the foregoing, the Panel finds that the Complainant has established the element of bad faith according to 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 <diorline.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Dated: July 31, 2007