WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Supermarchés Match v. Virtual Services Corporation
Case No. D2007-1075
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Supermarchés Match, La Madeleine, France, represented by Herbert Smith LLP, France.
The Respondent is Virtual Services Corporation, Charlestown, Saint Kitts and Nevis.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <supermarchematch.com> is registered with Name.net LLC.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on July 20, 2007, naming “Protected Domain Services” as Respondent. On July 20, 2007, the Center transmitted by email to Name.net LLC a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain name at issue. On August 10, 2007, after three reminders, Name.net LLC transmitted by email to the Center its verification response, indicating that “Protected Domain Services” is not the current registrant of the Domain Name. The Registrar identified the Respondent Virtual Services Corporation as the current registrant, providing the contact details for the administrative and technical contact.
In response to a notification by the Center conveying inter alia the registrant information and contact details provided by the Registrar, the Complainant filed an amendment to the Complaint on August 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 the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on August 30, 2007. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was September 19, 2007. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on September 24, 2007.
The Center appointed Simon Minahan as the sole panelist in this matter on October 17, 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 incorporated in France and operates 155 supermarkets under the SUPERMARCHES MATCH trademark in the north and east of France. It, and its predecessors, have traded by reference to the name Supermarchés Match and variants thereof since 1988. As part of its undertaking it also markets its stores and conducts a variety of promotional activities on the Internet via the domain names <supermarchesmatch.fr> (registered 1998), <supermarchesmatch.com> (1999) and <supermarchesmatch.be> (registered 2001).
In addition it has been the holder of the trademark SUPERMARCHES MATCH registered in France since February 2002.
The <supermarchematch.com> domain name resolves to a website which advertises various products and services, including the offering of games, similar to those marketed by Supermarchés Match, and reproduces the SUPERMARCHES MATCH trademark. The website also offers sponsored links seemingly allowing the Respondent to earn revenues from it.
The domain name <supermarchematch.com> was created first on August 21, 2006.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The factual and substantive contentions of the Complainant are set out below under Discussion and Findings. The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is liable to be transferred to it under the Rules and the Policy.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name <supermarchematch.com> is confusingly similar to its trademark and websites. It argues that the minor variation between its trademark and the domain name by the omission of the letter “s” does nothing to distinguish the two or remove confusion. On the contrary, it contends the disputed domain name is an example of “typosquatting” designed to be confusing and profit by confusion. It points out that numerous panel decisions have accepted these propositions with respect to instances of “typosquatting”: eg Deutsche Bank AG v. New York TV Tickets Inc., WIPO Case No. D2001-1314 and Playboy Enterprises v. Movie Name Company, WIPO Case No. D2001-1201 and Pfizer Inc. v. BargainName.com WIPO Case No. D2005-0299.
The Panel accepts these contentions and endorses the previous panel decisions cited. It finds the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s mark.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The fact that the Complainant contends the Respondent has not been authorized to use the Complainant’s mark constitutes in the circumstances of this case a prima facie showing by the Complainant of absence of rights or legitimate interest in the disputed domain name on the part of the Respondent: Casio Keisanki Kabushiki Kaisha (Casio Computer Co., Ltd.) v. Jongchan Kim, WIPO Case No. D2003-0400. That showing is uncontroverted and accordingly accepted by the Panel.
Additionally the Respondent’s name – Virtual Services Corporation – has no inherent relationship to the disputed domain name. Further its commercial activities conducted on the website to which the disputed domain name resolves, especially the advertisement of a variety of products and services akin to those offered by the Complainant on its websites without any indication that the Complainant is not associated with the offerings, is further evidence that the Respondent has no legitimate interest or rights in the disputed domain name: (Oki Data Americas Inc. v. ASD Inc., WIPO Case No. D2001-0903).
Accordingly the Panel finds the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Pursuant to paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy: “[T]he following circumstances ….shall be evidence of the registration and use of a domain name in bad faith . . . by using the domain name, [to]. intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to…[a] website or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of your website or location or a product or service on your website or location.”
The facts and circumstances outlined above are evidence of precisely this kind of conduct, namely, this is an obvious instance of “typosquatting” where the Respondent has deliberately selected a domain name which is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s mark with a view to attracting traffic to a website and seeking to profit commercially from that ruse. As previous panel decisions have found, the initial interest confusion – notwithstanding it may be quickly dispelled on perusing the website linked to it – is sufficient to warrant a finding of bad faith use and registration: eg: National Football League Properties, Inc. and Chargers Football Company v. One Sex Entertainment Co., a/k/a chargergirls.net, WIPO Case No. D2000-0118.
The Panel finds that the 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: <supermarchematch.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Dated: October 31, 2007