WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
The Procter & Gamble Company, P&G Hair Care, LLC v. Domain Admin
Case No. D2007-1040
1. The Parties
Complainant is The Procter & Gamble Company, P&G Hair Care, LLC, Cincinnati, Ohio, United States of America; represented internally.
Respondent is Domain Admin, Guangzhou, China.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <clairol-hair-products.com> is registered with Melbourne IT trading as Internet Names Worldwide.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on July 16, 2007. On July 19, 2007, the Center transmitted by email to Melbourne IT trading as Internet Names Worldwide a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain name at issue. On July 20, 2007, Melbourne IT trading as Internet Names Worldwide transmitted by email to the Center its verification response indicating that Respondent is listed as the registrar 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 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 16, 2007.
The Center appointed Alvaro Loureiro Oliveira as the sole panelist in this matter on September 18, 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 an Ohio corporation with its principal place of business in Cincinnati, Ohio, United States of America.
Complainant is one of the largest manufacturers and sellers of consumer goods worldwide, employing more than 130,000 people in almost 80 countries worldwide.
Amongst the consumer goods sold by Complainant throughout the world are the hair care products marked CLAIROL, resulting from the purchase of Clairol Incorporated in 2001.
Complainant owns over 350 registrations in over 90 countries for trademark CLAIROL for a large number of hair care products and appliances for hair care. Complainant provided copies – Annex C to the complaint – of a representative sample of the registrations obtained for this mark worldwide.
Complainant extensively reports the history of the CLAIROL trademark – in use since 1931 – and the sales figures the goods marked CLAIROL have produced in 2006 – including in China, the country where the Respondent is based.
Complainant reports to maintain several websites to provide customers with information about their CLAIROL products, providing printouts of these websites as Annex D to the complaint.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant contends that the domain name <clairol-hair-products.com> bears their famous trademark CLAIROL, associated with the words “hair” and “products”, in a clear attempt to create confusion and mislead the consumers of their goods.
The fact that these two words are considered generic and directly related to the Complainant’s core business under the referred mark only enhances this intention.
Complainant claims not to have any relationship with the Respondent or has never given the Respondent permission to use its mark or to apply it to any kind of domain name incorporating this mark
Complainant also states that the Respondent is not making a legitimate use of the referred domain name. On the contrary, they allege that the domain name is being used to offer information on other products on hair related issues, offering links to several websites on this matter, to which P&G affirms to have no affiliation, sponsorship or endorsement whatsoever. Annex H of the complaint brings a copy of the “links page” at the Respondent’s website, evidencing this allegation.
Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
The Policy, in its paragraph 4 (a), determines that three elements must be present and duly proven by a complainant to obtain relief. These elements are:
i. The subject domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights;
ii. Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect to the domain name; and
iii. Respondent’s domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
Regarding the first of the elements, the Panel understands that the Complainant presented competent proof to have rights on the mark CLAIROL, which is registered in over 90 countries where Complainant does business and consequently used regularly in those countries.
Further, the Panel finds that the subject domain name, <clairol-hair-products.com>, indeed reproduces the mark and, due to addition of the generic words “hair” and “products”, intentionally leads the consumers to confusion.
Hence, the Panel finds that the first of the elements is present in this dispute.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Panel understands that the expression “clairol” is undoubtedly linked to the Complainant, since it is not only registered as a mark in its name in more than 90 countries, but also is used for more than 70 years to identify “hair care products”.
Complainant has made out a prima facie case that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. The Respondent has not rebutted Complainant’s contentions.
Further, the Complainant provided enough evidence of the renown of their mark throughout the world, including in China, where the sales of the products marked CLAIROL generated a considerable sum. Hence, the Panel understands that the Respondent could not be unaware of the mark CLAIROL and its direct relation to the Complainant.
Thus, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
It is clear to the Panel that Respondent has registered the domain name <clairol-hair-products.com> with the purpose of taking advantage of the renown of Complainant’s mark.
Respondent is using the domain name to attract consumers in the hair care field, providing a series of links to several hair care related websites. In fact, apparently alerted by this Complaint, Respondent slightly changed the appearance of the website, which now lists car insurance, mortgage and college loans, besides the obvious hair care and cosmetic products mentions. However, the main links to shampoos, hair dryers and other goods similar to the ones sold by Complainant under trademark CLAIROL still remain.
The Panel understands that all evidence as above shows that Respondent obtained the registration and has been using the domain name in question in bad faith.
The Panel, hence, finds present the third element.
For all the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraph 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the domain name <clairol-hair-products.com> be transferred to Complainant.
Alvaro Loureiro Oliveira
Dated: October 04, 2007