WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Christian Dior Couture v. Chanel Perfume/Whois Privacy Protection Service Inc.
Case No. D2007-0876
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Christian Dior Couture, Paris, France, represented by Cabinet Marc Sabatier, France.
The Respondents are:
i) Whois Privacy Protection Service Inc., Whois Agent, Bellevue, Washington, United States of America;
ii) Chanel Perfume, Shanghai, China;
(hereinafter jointly and severally referred to as the “Respondent”).
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <christandior.com> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with eNom.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on June 14, 2007. The filed Complaint named Whois Privacy Protection Service Inc. as the Respondent, attaching a print out of the applicable “Whois” information dated June 12, 2007 indicating that entity as the listed registrant for the Domain Name. On June 15, 2007, the Center transmitted by email to eNom a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On June 15, 2007, eNom transmitted by email to the Center its verification response indicating Chanel Perfume as the listed registrant for the Domain Name, and providing contact details. In response to a notification by the Center that the registrant information had changed, the Complainant filed an amendment to the Complaint on June 26, 2007, adding Chanel Perfume as Respondent. The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amendment to 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 July 5, 2007. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was July 25, 2007. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on July 27, 2007.
The Center appointed Alfred Meijboom as the sole panelist in this matter on August 10, 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 asserted and provided evidence in support of the following facts.
The Complainant uses the name CHRISTIAN DIOR all over the world and is very well known for its goods sold under the CHRISTIAN DIOR trademarks. The Complainant holds a large number of trademark registrations for CHRISTAIN DIOR in many jurisdictions, including registrations in the United States (reg. no. 543994 and 954404) and in China (reg. no. 382730, 263988, 76225, 257145, 76223 and 76224) covering hand bags, leather wares and sunglasses.
The Domain Name was registered on September 9, 2002. A printout of June 12, 2007 shows that the Domain Name initially led to a website displaying several links to sites that offer CHRISTIAN DIOR branded handbags, sunglasses and clothes. At the moment Complainant filed its Complaint the Domain Name led to a blank page.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant contends that the CHRISTIAN DIOR trademarks and the Domain Name <christandior.com> are very similar, since the only difference is that in the Domain Name the second “i” in “Christian” has been left out.
Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant further contends that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name, since it has no trademark rights and is not commonly known by the Domain Name.
Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Since the Complainant CHRISTIAN DIOR COUTURE is well known all over the world, it is not possible that the Respondent did not know of its existence and the existence of its trademarks when registering the Domain Name. That constitutes bad faith.
The Domain Name is used in bad faith because the website linked to other sites that offer CHRISTAIN DIOR branded handbags, sunglasses and clothes. Furthermore, the Respondent’s bad faith is shown by the fact that the Respondent’s true identity is veiled by a privacy service Whois Privacy Protection Service Inc. and when the privacy service withdrew a clearly false identity appeared.
The Complainant requests the Panel to issue a decision that the Domain Name be transferred to the Complainant.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
According to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the requested remedy can be granted if the Complainant asserts and proves each of the following:
i. that the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or a service mark 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.
Proper Parties Respondent
The Respondent Whois Privacy Protection Service Inc., provides privacy services, and was listed as the registrant of the Domain Name in the Whois register prior to the filing of the Complaint. Following the filing of the Complaint, the registrar notified the Center that the registrant of the Domain Name was Chanel Perfume. In similar cases panels have found that both the privacy service provider and the registrant communicated to the Center by the registrar in response to the request to verify the registrant, are proper parties respondent (see e.g. MySpace, Inc. v. Patrick F. Billy/Domains by Proxy, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2007-0633 and (Ohio Savings Bank v. 1&1 Internet, Inc. and David Rosenbaum, WIPO Case D2006-0881). Accordingly, the Panel finds that both Whois Privacy Protection Service Inc. and Chanel Perfume are proper parties respondent, and in this decision they are referred to jointly and severally as the “Respondent”.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has several international trademark registrations for CHRISTIAN DIOR, including registrations in the United States of America (reg. no. 543994 and 954404) and in China (reg. no. 382730, 263988, 76225, 257145, 76223 and 76224) covering hand bags, leather wares and sunglasses. Consequently, the Panelist finds that the Complainant has rights in the CHRISTIAN DIOR trademark.
For the purpose of assessing whether the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to the CHRISTIAN DIOR trademark in which the Complainant has rights, the “.com” suffix is disregarded, it being a necessary component. Thus, the only difference between the CHRISTIAN DIOR trademark and the Domain Name is that the second “i” in “Christian” has been left out. It is obvious that the Domain Name is an intentional misspelling of the Complainant’s trademark. The Panelist considers the Domain Name <christandior.com>, confusingly similar to the Complainant’s CHRISTIAN DIOR trademark.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
According to paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, the Complainant should prove that the Respondent has no right or legitimate interest in the Domain Name. According to the consensus view among panels, this condition is met if the Complainant makes a prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests, and the Respondent fails to show one of the three circumstances mentioned in paragraph 4(c) of the Policy.
The Complainant contends that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name. The Complainant has not authorized the Respondent to register the Domain Name, nor could the Panel establish any indications that the Respondent was previously known under the Domain Name or is using the Domain Name for bona fide offering of goods or services, or for non-commercial or fair use. For these reasons, the Panelist finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panelist considers that the CHRISTIAN DIOR trademark has a reputation and is well-known throughout the world of fashion. Before the Domain Name resolves to a blank page, it resolves to a website displaying several links to sites that offered CHRISTIAN DIOR branded handbags, sunglasses and clothes. In accordance with ACCOR v. Tigertail Partners, WIPO Case No. D2002-0625 the Panel finds it is reasonable to conclude that the Domain Name, which clearly is an intentional misspelling of the CHRISTIAN DIOR trademark, must have been registered by someone who was familiar with the CHRISTIAN DIOR trademark. Therefore the Panel finds that the Domain Name was registered in bad faith.
The Complainant must also prove that the Domain Name is being used in bad faith.
At the moment the Domain Name leads to a blank page and thus one could argue that the Domain Name is not being used. However, in previous decisions UDRP panels have found that under certain circumstances non use of a disputed domain name may nevertheless constitute use in bad faith under the Policy e.g. Telstra Corporation Limited v. Nuclear Marshmallows, WIPO Case No. D2000-0003 and Ladbroke Group Plc v. Sonoma International LDC, WIPO Case No. D2002-0131.
The Panel takes the following circumstances into account. When registering the Domain Name the Respondent intentionally misspelled the Complainant’s trademark to attract users who wanted to visit the Complainant’s domain name, but may make a typographic error. Until recently, the Domain Name resolves to a website displaying several links to sites that offer CHRISTIAN DIOR branded handbags, sunglasses and clothes By using the confusingly similar Domain Name in this way, the Respondent tried to redirect Internet users to his website, generating traffic for his own commercial purposes. In light of paragraph 4(b) of the Policy, the Panel finds that the Domain Name was used in bad faith. The fact that the Domain Name currently leads to a blank page does not make a difference under the circumstances, since the webpage may revert at the Respondent’s will at any time. Taking the totality of the evidence before the Panel into consideration, the Panelist concludes that the Respondent’s holding of the Domain Name sufficiently satisfies the requirement of paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy that the Domain Name “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 Domain Name <christandior.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Dated: August 24, 2007