WIPO

 

WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

 

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Socit des Bains de Mer et du Cercle des trangers Monaco v. None

Case No. D2007-1102

 

1. The Parties

Complainant is Socit des Bains de Mer et du Cercle des trangers Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco, represented by De Gaulle Fleurance & Associs, France.

Respondent is None, Barcelona, Spain.

 

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <princemonacocasino.com> is registered with Go Daddy Software.

 

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on July 26, 2007. On August 1, 2007, the Center transmitted by email to Go Daddy Software a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain name at issue. On August 1, 2007, Go Daddy Software transmitted by email to the Center its verification response indicating that the Respondent listed in the initial Complaint was not the same as the Registrant of record. On August 23, 2007, the Center issued a Complaint Deficiency Notification requesting amendment of the Complaint. On August 23, 2007, Complainant filed a first Amended Complaint listing the correct Respondent information. On August 29, 2007, Complaint filed a second Amended Complaint. The Center verified that the first and second Amended 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 31, 2007. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was September 20, 2007. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on September 21, 2007.

On September 25, 2007, the Respondent emailed the Center indicating that he had no interest in the domain name, was willing to transfer it or delete it, but was unable to perform the technical procedures to effect the transfer. No agreement was reached between the parties.

The Center appointed Lynda J. Zadra-Symes as the sole panelist in this matter on October 25, 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 been operating the Casino de Monte Carlo in Monaco for more than 140 years. The casino has become famous worldwide as one of the most significant symbols of the Principaut de Monaco. It attracts a clientele that comes from numerous European and non-European countries.

Complainant is the founder and manager of the Casino de Monte Carlo in Monaco and is the only company permitted to organize games and gambling in Monaco. The casino is frequently referred to and designated by the mark CASINO DE MONACO. In the public’s mind, Monte Carlo and Monaco are synonymous. They are located on a tiny piece of land, are part of the same city, and there is no visible difference between them that distinguishes them from each other.

Complainant has registered several trademarks, including the international word mark CASINO DE MONACO which was registered on December 19, 2002, and United States Trademark Registration No. 3031006 which was registered on December 20, 2005.

 

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s trademarks, that Respondent lacks any rights or legitimate interest in the domain name, and that Respondent has registered and used the domain name in bad faith.

B. Respondent

Respondent did not formally reply to Complainant’s contentions. Respondent did, however, submit the email discussed above indicating that he had no interest in the domain name and was willing to transfer it to Complainant.

 

6. Discussion and Findings

In order to succeed in its claim, Complainant must demonstrate that all of the elements enumerated in paragraph 4(a) of the Policy have been satisfied:

(i) the domain name in dispute is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and

(ii) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests with respect to the domain name; and

(iii) the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

Paragraph 15(a) of the Rules instructs this Panel to 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”.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The disputed domain name <princemonacocasino.com> is confusingly similar to Complainant’s trademarks because the word combination “Prince Monaco Casino” incorporates the two dominant parts “Casino” and “Monaco” from Complainant’s trademarks. The inversion of the words “Casino” and “Monaco” in the domain name does not avoid confusing similarity. The addition of the word “prince” in the disputed domain name does not avoid confusing similarity either. Complainant is located in the Principality of Monaco, a constitutional monarchy headed by the Sovereign Prince, who is linked to the Casino of Monaco.

The Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s trademarks.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

Respondent is not affiliated or related to Complainant in any way, nor is Respondent licensed by Complainant or otherwise authorized to use Complainant’s trademarks or derivations thereof.

Respondent is not generally known by the domain name and has not acquired any trademark or service mark rights in that name or mark.

Respondent is an individual residing in Spain, who has no link with the Principality of Monaco and has not received any license or authorization from the authorities of the Principality of Monaco to operate a casino in Monaco.

Respondent has not made a bona fide legitimate use of the disputed domain name because it is used to redirect Internet users to other online casinos which do not have any relationship with Complainant or with Monaco.

Such use is misleading and deceptive because it creates an association between online casino’s and Complainant’s famous land-based Casino. This is not a bona fide use of the domain name.

In light of the foregoing, the Panel finds that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests with regard to the domain name.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy states circumstances which, if found, shall be evidence of the registration and use of the domain name in bad faith:

(i) circumstances indicating that Respondent has registered or acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the Complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of the Complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of the documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or

(ii) Respondent has registered the domain name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that Respondent has engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or

(iii) Respondent has registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or

(iv) by using the domain name, Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to Respondent’s 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 Respondent’s website or location of a product or service on Respondent’s website or location.

It should be noted that the circumstances of bad faith are not limited to the above.

Respondent is a professional in the gambling business. Indeed, at the domain name <montecarlocasinoroyale.com>, Respondent operates a website which redirects Internet users to different online casinos to play online casino games. Respondent previously directed Internet users who accessed the disputed domain name to different online casinos. Because Internet users would mistakenly access Respondent’s site at the domain name when seeking Complainant’s site or goods and services sold under Complainant’s marks, and because Respondent will then profit from the misdirection of these users, Respondent’s use of the domain name is in bad faith.

The Panel finds that the domain name was registered and used in bad faith within the meaning of paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.

 

7. Decision

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 <princemonacocasino.com> be transferred to the Complainant.


Lynda J. Zadra-Symes
Sole Panelist

Dated: November 15, 2007