WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Christian Dior Couture Company v. Chris Bateman
Case No. D2007-0849
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Christian Dior Couture Company, Paris, France, represented by Cabinet Marc Sabatier, of France.
The Respondent is Chris Bateman, Dearborn Heights, Michigan, of the United States of America.
2. The Domain Names and Registrars
The disputed domain names <cdior.com> <diior.com> and <diorr.com> (the “disputed domain names”) are registered with the following Registrars: the domain name <cdior.com> is registered with “Zigzagnames.com LLC”, the domain name <diorr.com> is registered with “Burnsidedomains.com LLC” and the domain name <diior.com> is registered with “Domainsareforever.com LLC”.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on June 11, 2007.
On June 13, 2007, the Center transmitted by email to “Zigzagnames.com LLC”, “Burnsidedomains.com LLC” and “Domainsareforever.com LLC” a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain names at issue. These e-mail messages (sent to the e-mail addresses indicated on ICANN’s accredited Registrar’s list) bounced back. The Center subsequently sent the registrar verification request to the entity “Manage.SnapNames.com” referred to in the whois as “Registration Service Provided By:”. The Center also contacted ICANN for confirmation of the Registrars’ identity and contact details. On June 29, 2007, the Center received a registrar verification response from an individual at “Manage.SnapNames.com”, indicating that it was the “person to contact for those three registrars” and confirming that Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details. On July 5, 2007, ICANN confirmed the contact details of the three above registrars and that the individual from “Manage.SnapNames.com” is listed as the “primary contact” for “Zigzagnames.com LLC”, “Burnsidedomains.com LLC” and “Domainsareforever.net LLC”.
On July 11, 2007, the Center advised Complainant that the correct Registrar is not “Manage.SnapNames.com” as indicated in the Complaint and pointed out the names of the correct Registrars. On July 16, 2007, Complainant filed an Amended Complaint correcting the same.
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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on July 20, 2007. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was August 9, 2007. The Response was filed with the Center on August 10, 2007.
The Center appointed Clive L. Elliott as the sole panelist in this matter on August 29, 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
Complainant trades under the name Christian Dior Couture. It is very well known for its goods sold under the trademarks DIOR and CHRISTIAN DIOR COUTURE. The trademarks DIOR and CHRISTIAN DIOR are used, known and registered all over the world.
The disputed domain names were created on October 31, 2006. The status and business of Respondent is unclear.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant asserts that the disputed domain names are nearly identical to the trademarks containing the word DIOR registered by Complainant all over the world. These trademarks designate several goods and namely, leather goods, clothing, headgear, footwear, spectacles, smoker’s articles and the like.
Complainant asserts that the disputed domain names are nearly identical to the trademark DIOR and very similar to the trademark CHRISTIAN DIOR and that Respondent has just added the letter C, which is the initial of the word CHRISTIAN or added a letter: I or R to the trademark.
Complainant contends that Respondent has no trademark right to “cdior” or “diior” or “diorr” or “dior” or other intellectual property rights and Respondent is not commonly known under the disputed domain names.
It is submitted that as the company Christian Dior Couture is very well-known all over the world and that Respondent must have known of Complainant’s existence and the existence of its trademarks and that when the disputed domain names were registered, they were registered in bad faith.
Complainant asserts that the disputed domain names are active: on the website “www.cdior.com”, the trademarks DIOR and CHRISTIAN DIOR are associated to the words: fashion, clothing and handbags. This website has links which send net surfers towards other websites which sell counterfeit goods branded CHRISTIAN DIOR. Complainant further asserts that on this website, appears the statement: “Cdior.com for Christian Dior and everything else”. The two other domain names connect to search engines, in French, relating to beauty, health, shopping.
Finally, Complainant asserts that these three websites inform the net surfer that they are for sale. Complainant states that one of its employees asked Respondent what the price was for <cdior.com> and in response Respondent proposed the sale of the domain name for a price of USD 7,500.
Respondent states that Complainant contacted him on April 3, 2007, asking him if the domain name <cdior.com> was for sale. Respondent states that he said that it was and gave them a price. He states that it was unknown until a complaint was filed that the person inquiring about the domain name was an attorney for a company claiming they hold a trademark to the name.
Respondent states that he never approached Complainant and never attempted to sell or represent the sale of goods on the sites in question.
Respondent asserts that the disputed domain names are merely valuable domain names because of their short length. He states that the names he holds have nothing to do with Complainant but that the websites with the domain names have always been posted as “a Compact Disk reference site and Digital Imaging sites”.
He contends that he has not violated any Internet protocols in any way and would never approach someone to sell a name that he thought would be a trademark infringement.
He further contends that Complainant does not have a right to the disputed domain names and that he is free to use abbreviations and has not misrepresented the names in any way. Finally, he contends that he is making a legitimate non-commercial or fair use of the disputed domain names, without intent for commercial gain misleadingly to divert consumers or to tarnish the trademarks or service marks at issue, seeing that Complainant has no claim to the names anyway.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy requires that the Complainant must prove each of the following:
- The domain names registered by the Respondent are identical or confusingly similar to the trademarks in which the Complainant has rights; and
- The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain names; and
- The domain names have been registered and are being used in bad faith.
Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy sets out four illustrative circumstances that, if proved, constitute evidence of bad faith as required by paragraph 4(a)(iii) referred to above.
Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy sets out three illustrative circumstances that, if proved, constitute evidence of a right or legitimate interest as described in paragraph 4(a)(ii) referred to above.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
It is clear from the evidence that DIOR and CHRISTIAN DIOR are trademarks in which the Complainant has rights. Complainant has traded extensively throughout the world and has registered or applied for registration of the DIOR and CHRISTIAN DIOR trademarks in a number of countries. There is clear support for the assertion that DIOR and CHRISTIAN DIOR have substantial recognition and reputation internationally.
The disputed domain names are clearly a combination of the DIOR element with other letters. They are, on their face, confusingly similar to the trademark DIOR as used and registered by Complainant in the course of its business. This seems to be a clear-cut case of “typo-squatting”.
On this basis it is found the trademark DIOR is a protectable trademark to which the disputed domain names are confusingly similar and that this ground is made out.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
It is difficult to understand why Respondent chose the disputed domain names other than as a reference to DIOR and thus the Complainant and its goods. Nor can it be envisaged that DIOR has any meaning other than as an indication of origin of the Complainant’s products.
Respondent asserts that the disputed domain names are merely valuable domain names because of their short length, that they have always been posted as “a Compact Disk reference site and Digital Imaging sites”, and that the names he holds have nothing to do with the Complainant. Likewise he argues that he would never approach someone to sell a name that he thought would be a trademark infringement. However, given the obvious connection between the disputed domain names and Complainant and its DIOR trademark and in light of the demonstrated use of the domain names, these assertions have little merit.
Given the substantial exposure, registration and use of the trademark DIOR the Panel finds that there is no indication that Respondent has any rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain names. The links to at the websites with the domain names to other websites, which sell counterfeit goods branded CHRISTIAN DIOR and the statement: “Cdior.com for Christian Dior and everything else” confirm that the disputed domain names are being used for improper purposes or at least purposes inconsistent with a legitimate interest or right.
As such it is found that this ground is made out.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Given the substantial reputation and the undoubted goodwill in the trademark DIOR and for the reasons given above it is difficult to see how Respondent can claim to have registered and used the disputed domain names in good faith. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the domain names were registered and are being used in bad faith as defined in paragraph 4(b) of the Policy.
It is thus found that this ground is made out.
Therefore, and in consideration to the Complaint’s compliance with the formal requirements for this domain dispute proceeding, to the factual evidence and legal contentions that were submitted, to the confirmation of the presence of each of the elements contemplated in paragraph 4(a)(i), (ii), and (iii) of the Policy, and on the basis of the statements and documents submitted and in accordance with the Policy, the Rules and other applicable rules and principles of law, as directed by paragraph 15(a) of the Rules, it is found:
(1) that the disputed domain names are confusingly similar to Complainant’s DIOR trademark.
(2) that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain names; and
(3) that the disputed domain names have been registered and are being used in bad faith by Respondent.
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 <cdior.com>, <diior.com> and <diorr.com> be transferred to Complainant.
Clive L. Elliott
Dated: September 12, 2007