WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Alfa Laval AB, Alfa Laval Corporate AB v. Wan-Fu China, Ltd.
Case No. D2007-1837
1. The Parties
The Complainants are Alfa Laval AB and Alfa Laval Corporate AB, Lund, Sweden, represented by Advokatbyrån Gulliksson AB, Sweden.
The Respondent is Wan-Fu China, Ltd., Nassau, Bahamas.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <alfalavla.com> is registered with DomainDoorman, LLC.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on December 11, 2007. On December 13, 2007, the Center transmitted by email to DomainDoorman, LLC a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain name at issue. On December 13, 2007, DomainDoorman, LLC transmitted by email to the Center 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 December 24, 2007. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was January 13, 2008. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on January 14, 2008.
The Center appointed Debrett G. Lyons as the sole panelist in this matter on January 24, 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
Alfa Laval AB is the holding company of the Alfa Laval Group. Alfa Laval Corporate AB is one of 119 companies in that group (together, “the Complainant”). The Complainant is a global supplier of centrifugal separators, heat exchangers, fluid handling equipment and other types of engineered products.
The Complainant is a long established Sweden company. The trade mark ALFA LAVAL has been in use since 1883 and is now used globally and registered in many countries.
The Respondent registered the disputed domain name on October 1, 2007.
The Complainant petitions the Panel to order that <alfalavla.com> be transferred to Alfa Laval Corporate AB.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant is the owner of many registrations for the trade mark ALFA LAVAL, the oldest dating back to 1897. The Complainant has not supplied copies of any registration certificates, but has provided extracts from trade mark search engines or from the web sites of the regulatory bodies responsible for the trade mark.
The Complainant submits that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the trade mark ALFA LAVAL, being a misspelling of the trade mark and a simple inversion of the final two letters of the trade mark. The Complainant posits that Internet users looking for the web site of the Complainant might through typographical error arrive at the web site of the Respondent instead.
The Complainant alleges that there is no evidence of the Respondent’s use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the domain name or a name corresponding to the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. The Respondent is not commonly known by the domain name and the Complainant has found nothing to indicate that the Respondent is making a legitimate non-commercial or fair use of the domain name.
The Complainant argues that the Respondent’s conduct is a typical example of so-called “typosquatting”. It argues that the domain name has been both registered and used in bad faith by the Respondent. In particular, the Complainant submits that the repute of the Complainant’s trade mark makes it more probable than not that the Respondent had knowledge of it prior to registering a misspelling of the trade mark as a domain name. The Complainant refers the Panel to the prior decision under the Policy in the case of Red Bull GmbH v. Harold Gutch, WIPO Case No. D2000-0766, in which the panel said “it is highly unlikely that the Respondent has selected the domain name without having knowledge of the Complaint’s use of his marks. He must not only have had the Complaint’s marks in mind when he registered the domain names but he must also have been aware of the deception and confusion that would inevitably follow if he uses the domain”. The Complainant argues that the disputed domain name has been used in bad faith since the domain name leads Internet users to a site unconnected with the Complainant with links to other sites. This practice has been determined to constitute bad faith use says the Complainant, who cites Network Solutions, LLC v. Philippine, Inc./ KerryWeb Enterprises, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2007-0109 and Deutsche Telekom AG v. WWW Enterprise, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2005-1136, the panel in that latter case stating that “it is now a well known practice to display on a web page or search engine various links to other commercial websites, every link activated by an Internet user enables the host of the search engine to collect financial remuneration proportional to the number of connections. Previous panels have established that this practice constitutes bad faith use”.
The Complainant alleges that the Respondent has repeatedly engaged in the practice of typosquatting and refers the Panel by way of example to the case of Comerica Incorporated v. Wan-Fu China Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2007-0590, in which the panel held that the Respondent’s practice of diverting users to the complainant’s competitors was a plain attempt to “mislead consumers by diverting Internet traffic away from the Complainant’s websites for its own commercial gain”.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
It is the responsibility of the Panel to consider whether the requirements of the Policy have been met, regardless of the fact the Respondent failed to submit a reply. According to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainant must prove that:
(i) the domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trade mark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and
(ii) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
(iii) the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
Having considered the Complainant’s case and the available evidence, the Panel finds the following:
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel has no hesitation in finding that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to a trade mark in which the Complainant has rights.
Absent contest by the Respondent, the Panel accepts that the registered trade marks are valid and subsisting. The Complainant therefore has rights in the trade mark.
For the purpose of comparison of the domain name with the mark, the gTLD, “.com”, can be ignored as trivial and so there only remains the comparison of “alfalavla” with the trade mark ALFA LAVAL. The mere inversion of the final two letters is not enough to avoid confusion.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Complainant has met the first requirement of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
There is no suggestion that the Respondent is known by the disputed domain name.
There is no suggestion that the Respondent has made demonstrable preparations to use the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services.
There is no suggestion that the Respondent is making legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name.
The Complainant has established a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. The Panel finds that the Respondent has not discharged the burden of proof which fell to it: See Do The Hustle, LLC v. Tropic Web, WIPO Case D2000-0624 .
The Panel therefore finds that the Complainant has satisfied what was required of it under Paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy sets out the circumstances which shall be evidence of the registration and use of a domain name in bad faith. These sets of circumstances are not exhaustive and other instances of bad faith might be in evidence however what is noteworthy about paragraphs 4(b)(i) – (iv) is that they are all cases of both registration and use in bad faith. Other times, there will be evidence of use in bad faith or registration in bad faith and the panelist will need to find both since the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy are conjunctive.
It is therefore logical to first test the facts against these given circumstances.
Paragraph 4(b)(iv) states:
by using the domain name, you have intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to your web site 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 web site or location or of a product or service on your web site or location.
The Panel is of the view that the use of the disputed domain name falls squarely within paragraph (iv) above. In the absence of evidence of any contrary intention, the inference can be drawn that the intention of the web site was to intercept Internet users and misdirect them to a site for commercial gain.
Furthermore, the Panel finds, separately, registration and use in bad faith for the reasons put forward by the Complainant, namely, that on the balance of the evidence, there is every likelihood that the Respondent knew the Complainant’s business and its trade mark before it registered the disputed domain name and then used the name in bad faith by creating a corresponding portal style web site carrying a host of third party commercial links.
Finally, numerous prior UDRP cases have help that the practice of typosquatting is further evidence of bad faith registration and use (see, for example, Microsoft Corporation v. Microsof.com aka Tarek Ahmed, WIPO Case D2000-0548; Deutsche Bank Aktiengesellschaft v. New York TV Tickets Inc., WIPO Case No. D2001-1314).
The Panel therefore finds that the Complainant has satisfied Paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.
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 <alfalavla.com> be transferred to Alfa Laval Corporate AB in accordance with the Complainant’s request.
Debrett G. Lyons
Date: February 7, 2008