WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Christian Dior Couture v. Private Whois for Christaindior.com/James D’Souza
Case No. D2007-0929
1. The Parties
Complainant is Christian Dior Couture of Paris, France, represented by Marc Sabatier, France.
Respondent is Private Whois for Christaindior.com/James D’Souza of Mumbai, India.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <christaindior.com> is registered with Lead Networks Domains Pvt. Ltd.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on June 25, 2007. On June 26, 2007, the Center transmitted by email to Lead Networks Domains Pvt. Ltd. a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain name at issue. Respondent named in the Complaint was Private Whois for Christaindior.com. On July5, 2007, Lead Networks Domains Pvt. Ltd. transmitted by email to the Center its verification response by email to the Center informing that Respondent originally specified in the Complaint was not the current registrant of the disputed domain name. In the same e-mail, Lead Networks Domains Pvt. Ltd. identified that the current registrant of the disputed domain name was James D’Souza and provided contact details. In response to a notification by the Center of a change in the registrant information, Complainant filed an amendment to the Complaint on July 20, 2007. 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on July 26, 2007. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was August 15, 2007. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on August 17, 2007.
The Center appointed Peter G. Nitter as the sole panelist in this matter on August 22, 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 has registered the CHRISTIAN DIOR trademark worldwide for several goods such as hand bags, leather goods, clothing, sunglasses, headgear, footwear, horological and chronometric instruments, printed matter, spectacles and smokers articles.
The CHRISTIAN DIOR trademark is also registered by Complainant in India which is also the domicile of Respondent with registration numbers 2824688 (registered on October 28, 1981) and 274428 (registered on August 20, 1971).
The disputed domain name was registered on November 10, 2005.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant argues that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainants CHRISTIAN DIOR trademark, the only difference being the inversion of the second letters “i” and “a” in the first name “Christian”.
Complainant further holds that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in, and that Respondent is not commonly known by, the disputed domain name.
Complainant asserts that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith by Respondent. According to Complainant, the website affiliated with the disputed domain name provides several links to other websites which sell handbags and shoes branded the CHRISTIAN DIOR mark. Complainant further argues that the owner of the disputed domain name is not clearly indicated in the WhoIs information of the concerned registrar, and that this also proves bad faith.
According to Complainant’s assertions, it was contacted by telephone on June 11, 2007 by certain Mr. Gignish, who offered to transfer the disputed domain name for a payment of USD 1,060. Mr. Gignish did, according to Complainant, not wish to send a written proposal because he feared that this would be used against him in a UDRP complaint. Complainant holds that this offer shows that the disputed domain name is being used in bad faith.
Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The domain name at issue is not identical to Complainant’s trademark, and the question is therefore whether there is a confusing similarity between the disputed domain name and Complainant’s trademark.
Previous Panel decisions under the UDRP have concluded that the generic top level domain denominator is irrelevant when determining whether a disputed domain name is confusingly similar to a protected trademark. Thus, the first issue only concerns the part of the disputed domain name which consists of “christaindior”.
The only difference between the contested domain name, and Complainant’s CHRISTIAN DIOR mark, is the fact that the order of letters “i” and “a” in the term “christian”, has been changed in the disputed domain name. The Panel considers this difference as minor.
The Panel finds that the domain name and the trademark both visually and phonetically will appear as similar, and that this leads the domain name at issue to be confusingly similar to Complainant’s trademark.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Respondent does not, according to Complainant’s contention, have any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, and is not commonly known by the domain name.
Respondent has not filed any Response arguing that it has rights to, or legitimate interests in, the disputed domain name. None of Complainant’s assertions have thus been contested by Respondent.
In the event that any such rights, connections or affiliations existed, it would generally be relatively easy for a respondent to substantiate this, while it is generally difficult for a complainant to prove the negative that Respondent has no such rights. For this reason, previous decisions under the UDRP have, in the event of a respondent’s default, found it sufficient for a complainant to make a prima facie showing of its assertion pursuant to Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy.
The Panel finds that the circumstances mentioned and evidenced by Complainant are sufficient to establish a prima facie showing that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name at issue.
As Respondent has not rebutted this by demonstrating any of the circumstances that constitute rights to, or legitimate interests in, the disputed domain name pursuant to Paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy, the Panel concludes that Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name at issue.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel has considered Complainant’s assertions and evidence with regard to Respondent’s registration and use of the domain name in bad faith. By not submitting a response, Respondent has failed to invoke any circumstances that could demonstrate that it did not register and use the domain name at issue in bad faith.
The Panel finds that Respondent’s registration of a domain name confusingly similar to the trademark of Complainant is an attempt to intentionally divert customers to its website for financial gain. The contested domain name was registered by Respondent on November 10, 2005. Complainant has used the trademark CHRISTIAN DIOR in India, in which Respondent has listed a contact address, at least since August 20, 1971 when the trademark was first registered in that country. Considering the widespread use and fame of Complainant’s trademark, including in the country where Respondent is domiciled, the Panel finds it inconceivable that Respondent, at the time of registration, was not familiar with Complainant’s trademark CHRISTIAN DIOR.
The fact that the website corresponding to the disputed domain name includes various links to other websites which purport to sell handbags and shoes branded with the CHRISTIAN DIOR trademark further indicates that Respondent is aware of Complainant’s trademark, and intends to take advantage of it for its own financial gain. This is further indicated by the fact that Respondent, represented by a person named “Mr. Gignish”, as indicated by Complainant, has made an offer to sell the domain name at issue to Complainant for value in excess of Respondent’s documented out-of-pocket costs.
Thus, the Panel finds that Respondent has registered and used the disputed domain name 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 <christaindior.com> be transferred to Complainant.
Peter G. Nitter
Dated: September 6, 2007