WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Alstom v. Cameron Jackson
Case No. D2007-1022
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Alstom, Levallois Perret, France, represented by Cabinet Dreyfus & Associés, France.
The Respondent is Cameron Jackson, Rosebery, New South Wales, Australia.
2. The Domain Names and Registrar
The disputed domain names <alstom-belgium.info>, <alstom-china.info>, <alstom-europe.info>, <alstom-fiji.info>, <alstom-france.info>, <alstom-global.info>, <alstom-honduras.info>, <alstom-newzealand.info>, <alstom-perth.info>, <alstoms.info>, <alstom-switzerland.info> are registered with Directi Internet Solutions d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.Com, 330 Linkway Estate, Link Road, Near Shakti Ford Showroom, Malad (West), Maharashtra, Mumbai, India.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on July 12, 2007. On July 17, 2007, the Center transmitted by email to Directi Internet Solutions d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.Com a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain names at issue. On July 19, 2007, Directi Internet Solutions d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.Com transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that 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 Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on August 3, 2007. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was August 23, 2007. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on September 25, 2007.
On September 25, 2007, the Center contacted the Registrar to determine the current location of its principal office. On September 26, 2007, the Center received a response from the Registrar, certifying that the location of its principal office is as shown in Section 2, above.
The Center appointed M. Scott Donahey as the sole panelist in this matter on October 11, 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 is a French company involved in power generation and retail transport around the world. Complainant supplies more than 25% of the world’s installed power generation capacity and has an 18% market share in retail transportation worldwide. Complaint, Annex 4. Complainant also built the world’s largest luxury cruise liner, the Queen Mary II. Complainant employs 69,000 people in 70 countries, including Australia, where Respondent gives his address. Complainant is currently developing the “tram of the future” in Melbourne, Australia. Complaint, Annex 17. Complainant has branch offices in Australia and New Zealand.
Complainant is the owner of numerous registered trademarks for the mark ALSTOM, including in Australia, the United States of America, the People’s Republic of China, Russia, and Poland. Complaint, Annex 5. Complainant has registered the domain name <alstom.com>, which resolves to various websites providing information about Complainant’s services. Complaint, Annex 6.
Respondent registered the domain names at issue during the period May 6, 2007 through June 24, 2007. Complaint, Annex 1.
By letters dated May 15, 2007, and June 12, 2007, Complainant demanded that Respondent transfer the disputed domain names to Complainant on the basis of Complainant’s trademark rights in the mark ALSTOM. Complaint, Annex 7. The letters required a receipt, and were delivered to Respondent’s address and signed for, reputedly by Respondent. Complaint, Annex 8. On May 17, 2007, Respondent replied by email to the first letter, and offered to transfer the domain name <alstom-china.info>, registered by Respondent on May 6, 2007, to Complaint for US$ 1,000, indicating that Complainant would save US$500 by not initiating a WIPO UDRP proceeding. Respondent indicated that it intended to use some of the domain names for “hydroelectric information purposes.” Complaint, Annex 9. On June 4, 2007, Respondent sent Complainant an email, indicating that he had registered four more of the domain names at issue. Id.
On June 28, 2007, Respondent telephoned the complainant and sought to negotiate a price for the domain names at issue. At that time, Respondent notified Complainant that he had registered the balance of the domain names at issue. Complaint, Annex 10.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant contends (1) that the domain name <alstoms.info> is identical to and that the other domain names at issue are confusingly similar to Complainant’s service mark ALSTOM, (2) that Respondent is not affiliated in any way with Complainant and that Complainant has not authorized Respondent to use its trademarks, nor to register domain names containing them, and (3) that Respondent has registered and is using the domain names at issue in bad faith.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 15(a) of the Rules instructs the Panel as to the principles the Panel is to use in determining the dispute: “A Panel shall decide a complaint on the basis of the statements and documents submitted in accordance with the Policy, these Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable.”
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy directs that the complainant must prove each of the following:
(1) that the domain name registered by the respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights; and,
(2) that the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and,
(3) that the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The panel finds that the domain names at issue are confusingly similar to Complainant’s registered mark ALSTOM. Halcyon Yarn, Inc. v. Henry Chan, WIPO Case No. D2004-0336 (addition of plural will not prevent a finding of confusing similarity); AT&T Corp. v. WorldclassMedia.com, WIPO Case No. D2000-0553 (addition of geographic indicator to mark will not prevent a finding of confusing similarity).
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The consensus view of WIPO panelists concerning the burden of establishing no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name is as follows:
While the overall burden of proof rests with the complainant, panels have recognized that this could result in the often impossible task of proving a negative, requiring information that is often primarily within the knowledge of the respondent. Therefore a complainant is required to make out an initial prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests. Once such prima facie case is made, respondent carries the burden of demonstrating rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. If the respondent fails to do so, a complainant is deemed to have satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the UDRP.
WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Section 2.1.
In the present case the Complainant alleges that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name and Respondent has failed to assert any such rights. Accordingly, the Panel finds that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name at issue.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
It is apparent that Respondent, a resident of Australia, was aware of Complainant’s mark before he registered the first of the domain names at issue. See Complaint, Annex 17, press releases dated August 29 2006 and November 15 2006 concerning Complainant’s work in Australia. Moreover, Respondent’s statement made shortly after registering the first of the domain names at issue that he intended to use the domain name for “hydroelectric information purposes” shows that he was well aware of one of Complainant’s core businesses. And all of the remaining domain names were registered after Complainant contacted Respondent and asserted its trademarks. The Panel finds that the registration of the domain names at issue was done in bad faith.
Respondent sought from Complainant US$1,000 for the first of the domain names at issue shortly after it was registered. The only basis Respondent gave for seeking this amount was that it was US$ 500 less than what Complainant would have to pay to file a UDRP action with WIPO. Complaint, Annex 9. All of the other domain names were registered after Complainant asserted its trademarks. Respondent continued to attempt to negotiate a sale. The Panel finds that the domain names at issue were registered and were being used in bad faith. Policy, ¶ 4(b)(i); World Wrestling Federation v. Bosman, WIPO Case No. D1999-0001.
Finally, the present case involves trademarks not only well known in Australia, where Respondent resides, but around the world. Respondent sought payment for the first domain name far in excess of what he paid to register it. Respondent registered the additional domain names at issue only after Complainant had asserted its trademark rights against Respondent. Respondent refused to transfer the domain names at issue to Complainant and attempted to negotiate a sale to complainant of the domain names at issue. Respondent failed to respond to the Complaint. Under all of these facts and circumstances, the Panel also finds bad faith registration and use under the rubric of Telstra Corp. Ltd v. Nuclear Marshmallows, WIPO Case No. D2000-0003.
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, <alstom-belgium.info>, <alstom-china.info>, <alstom-europe.info>, <alstom-fiji.info>, <alstom-france.info>, <alstom-global.info>, <alstom-honduras.info>, <alstom-newzealand.info>, <alstom-perth.info>, <alstoms.info>, <alstom-switzerland.info> be transferred to the Complainant.
M. Scott Donahey
Dated: October 25, 2007