WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Missoni S.p.A. v. Caribbean Online International Ltd.
Case No. D2007-0885
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Missoni S.p.A, Sumirago, Italy, represented by Dr. Modiano & Associati S.p.A., Italy.
The Respondent is Caribbean Online International Ltd., Nassau, Bahamas.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <missonikorea.com> is registered with Capitoldomains, LLC.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on June 15, 2007. On June 18, 2007, the Center transmitted by email to Capitoldomains, LLC a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain name at issue. On June 19, 2007, Capitoldomains, 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 June 26, 2007. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was July 16, 2007. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on July 19, 2007.
The Center appointed Anders Janson as the sole panelist in this matter on July 26, 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 is a corporation organized and existing under the laws of Italy. The Complainant is a global company in the fashion field, whose goods are marketed and promoted throughout the world.
The Complainant has asserted that the trademark and the family name MISSONI (name of the designer Mr. Ottavio Missoni) has been extensively used by the Complainant for many years. The first filing for MISSONI was made in Italy and dates back to 1969 and the first registration in the Republic of Korea dates back to July 29, 1987. The Complainant is the owner of a numerous of national, international and community trademarks comprising the name Missoni. Among the registrations put forward in the Complaint can be mentioned:
- Community registration nr 001164987, dated October 2, 2000.
- Republic of Korea registration nr 179974, dated September 27, 1989.
The Complainant has furthermore asserted that it is the owner of several country code and generic top level domain names. Domain names put forward in the Complaint are amongst others:
<missoni.it>, registered January 25, 1999,
<missoni.com>, registered September 20, 2002,
<missoni.co.uk>, registered December 17, 2002,
<missoni.net>, registered January 16, 2003,
<missoni.eu>, registered July 6, 2006.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that
- The disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or a service mark in which the Complainant has rights;
- The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name;
- The disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith; and
- That the disputed domain name <missonikorea.com> should be transferred to the Complainant.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The domain name concerned by this dispute is <missonikorea.com>. The Complainant has shown that it is the owner of several registrations of the trademark MISSONI. The Panel finds that the Complainant has established that the family name MISSONI is a well-recognized and world famous trademark and that the trademark is distinctive.
The disputed domain name contains the Complainant’s mark MISSONI in its entirety, with the added suffix “korea” and the generic and functional top level domain name “.com”.
In determining whether a domain name and a trademark are identical or confusingly similar, the gTLDs and ccTLDs that constitute the suffix shall be disregarded. Accordingly, the question is whether the addition of the suffix “korea” makes the disputed domain name dissimilar to the Complainant’s registered trademarks or not. In earlier cases regarding the combination of a trademark with a geographical name Panelist have stated that such combination is common practice for many domain names (Red Bull GmbH v. Tony Marinelli, WIPO Case No. D2001-0522) and does not exclude confusing similarity.
Additionally, the Panel finds that visitors of the website to which the domain name <missonikorea.com> resolves would expect information about the Complainant since the reference “Korea” will be understood as a geographical reference to the Complainant and its activities located in the republic of Korea. The Panel is satisfied that the domain name <missonikorea.com> is confusingly similar to trademarks in which the Complainant has rights.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Respondent has not filed a response. In these circumstances, when the Respondent does not have an obvious connection with the disputed domain name, the Complainant has made a prima facie case that the Respondent has no right or legitimate interests in the domain name the burden of proof shifts to the Respondent to demonstrate that such rights and legitimate interests exist. The Respondent has not demonstrated or argued that he used or prepared to use the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services or that any other rights or legitimate interests exist. Registration of a domain name in itself does not establish rights or legitimate interests for purposes of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
In conclusion, the Respondent has not presented any evidence of rights or legitimate interests in using the disputed domain name and has no obvious connection to it. The Panel therefore holds that the Complainant has established element (ii) of the Policy’s paragraph 4(a).
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy states four (non-exclusive) circumstances which, if found to be present, are deemed to provide evidence of bad faith in registering and using the domain name. Paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy states that a circumstance indicating bad faith is using a domain to intentionally attempt to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to your website or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of your website or location or of a product or service on your website or location.
Based on the evidence provided by the Complainant, the Panel finds it established that the website of the disputed domain name consists of a hyperlink collection where products and services of different kinds are marketed. The domain name, through these links, diverts Internet users to websites promoting and offering products and services of third parties, some in direct competition with the Complainant. It must therefore be held for certain that the Respondent, by these actions, is trying to mislead consumers in order to attract them to other websites making them believe that the websites behind those links are associated or recommended by the Complainant. Furthermore the Respondent must, according to this Panel, have been aware of the trademark MISSONI due to the Complainants market presence in the Republic of Korea and throughout the world.
The Panel finds, with reference to the above-mentioned and the proof provided by the Complainant, that the Respondent has registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith, hence having intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to websites, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s mark as to the source. The Panel therefore concludes that the Complainant has proven that the Respondent is in bad faith pursuant 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, <missonikorea.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Dated: August 9, 2007