WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
La Francaise des Jeux v. Jimmy Lomeli
Case No. D2007-1276
1. The Parties
The Complainant is La Francaise des Jeux, Boulogne-Billancourt, France, represented by Inlex Conseil, France.
The Respondent is Jimmy Lomeli, Montrose, Null 91020, United States of America.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <francaisedesjeuxloto.com> is registered with Stargate Holdings Corp., Naperville, Illinois, United States of America.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on August 28, 2007. On August 31, 2007, the Center transmitted to Stargate Holdings Corp. by email a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain name at issue. On September 7, 2007, Stargate Holdings Corp. transmitted to the Center by email its verification response confirming that the 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on September 11, 2007. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was October 1, 2007. Upon request of the Complainant to allow settlement options to be explored, the proceedings were suspended between September 20, 2007 and December 20, 2007. The proceedings were re-instituted at the Complainant’s request on December 21, 2007. The Respondent did not submit any response to the Complaint. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on January 3, 2008.
The Center appointed Theda König Horowicz as the sole panelist in this matter on January 10, 2008. 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 the French State Lottery which creates, develops and markets lottery and sports-betting games throughout France and in the French overseas departments and territories.
For several years now, the Complainant holds numerous trademark registrations for LA FRANCAISE DES JEUX and LOTO in France and the European Union. It also holds many domain names containing both marks which are redirected to its official website “www.fdjeux.com”.
The domain name at issue was registered in the name of the Respondent on February 22, 2006. It was first linked to a parking website in French which proposed commercial links in relation with games and casino games.
The Complainant sent a warning letter to the Respondent on July 24, 2006. The redirection of the domain name at issue stopped shortly thereafter, but the Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s warning letter. The domain name at issue has been inactive since then. Despite the sending of a second warning letter on September 8, 2006 which also remained unanswered, the domain name at issue was renewed by the Respondent for one year in February 2007.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Identical or Confusingly similar
The Complainant alleges that the domain name at issue is confusingly similar to its famous LA FRANCAISE DES JEUX and LOTO trademarks, domain names and Company name.
Rights or legitimate interests
The Complainant states that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name at issue. In this context, the Complainant invokes that its trademarks LA FRANCAISE DES JEUX and LOTO are well-known in France and enjoy a great reputation worldwide via the Internet; the Respondent intended to gain profit from the Complainant’s trademarks and reputation with a mala fide intention. The Respondent is neither active under both marks nor authorized by the Complainant to use them.
Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Complainant contends that the domain name at issue was registered and is being used in bad faith, as the Respondent never replied to the Complainant’s warning letters. The Respondent first used the domain name at issue by offering numerous commercial links in French relating to websites directly competing with the Complainant, and stopped exploiting the domain name in question once he received the warning letters.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy directs the Complainant to prove each of the following:
(i) 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
(ii) that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
(iii) that the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel finds that the Complainant has established rights in the marks LA FRANCAISE DES JEUX and LOTO deriving from its trademark registrations and use of these names for many years. The domain name at issue fully incorporates both FRANCAISE DES JEUX and LOTO.
The Panel thus concludes that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to trademarks in which the Complainant has rights. The first condition of Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy is established.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Respondent initially directed the domain name in contention to a webpage offering sponsored links to commercial websites of third parties active in the Complainant’s field of business, that is in betting games and casino games.
Use of the domain name in connection with such sponsored links is not a bona fide offering of goods or services giving rise to rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. Previous panels have found that the operation of sponsored link services of this type designed to divert Internet users to other commercial sites by the use of domain names identical or similar to a complainant’s trademark, do not confer a legitimate right to or interest in a domain name (see for example MBI, Inc. v. Moniker Privacy Services/Nevis Domains LLC, WIPO Case No. D2006-0550; Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu v. Henry Chan, WIPO Case No. D2003-0584; Minka Lighting, Inc. d/b/a Minka Group v. Lee Wongi, WIPO Case No. D2004-0984; Bridgestone Corporation v. Horoshiy, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2004-0795.
In addition, there is no evidence before the Panel to suggest that the Respondent is either commonly known by the domain name or making a legitimate or non commercial use of the domain name. Further, the Respondent has not disputed the fact that he is not authorized to make use of the Complainant’s marks LA FRANCAISE DES JEUX and LOTO.
Under the circumstances, the Panel finds that the Complainant has established a prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the contested domain name. The second condition of Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy is therefore fulfilled.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The record shows that the Complainant is active and well-known in France as well as around the world via the Internet in the field of games in particular lottery games. The domain name in dispute combines two famous trademarks owned by the Complainant.
It is therefore very unlikely that the Respondent was unaware of the Complainant’s business and trademarks LA FRANCAISE DES JEUX and LOTO when he registered the domain name at issue.
In addition, the evidence indicates that the Respondent used the domain name in question to advertise sponsored links relating to games and casino games, which are extremely close to the Complainant’s business; the webpage was in French which is the language of the Complainant. The Respondent has not disputed the Complainant’s contention that such use is generating revenue for the benefit of the Respondent.
The fact that the Respondent stopped using the domain name at issue upon receipt of a warning letter sent to him by the Complainant and the fact the Respondent renewed the domain name despite the Complainant’s intervention is also a sign bad faith.
The Panel is therefore of the view that the Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to the website linked to the domain name at issue, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s trademark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the Respondent’s website (Paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy).
Considering the above, the Panel concludes that the Respondent registered and is using the domain name at issue in bad faith. The third condition of Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy is thus established.
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, <francaisedesjeuxloto.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Theda König Horowicz
Dated: January 28, 2008