WIPO

WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

GA Modefine SA v. Yonghui Huang

Case No. D2008-0355

1. The Parties

The Complainant is GA Modefine SA, Mendrisio, Switzerland, represented by Studio Rapisardi S.A., Switzerland.

The Respondent is Yonghui Huang, Guangzhou, China.

2. The Domain Names and Registrar

The disputed domain names <.com> [xn--8ftt75cdqy.com] and <.net> [xn--8ftt75cdqy.net] are registered with Web Commerce Communications Limited dba WebNIC.cc.

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the Center) on March 7, 2008. On March 10, 2008, the Center transmitted by email to Web Commerce Communications Limited dba WebNIC.cc a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain names at issue. On March 11, 2008, Web Commerce Communications Limited dba WebNIC.cc 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 March 17, 2008. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was April 6, 2008. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondents default on April 7, 2008.

The Center appointed Chiang Ling Li as the sole panelist in this matter on April 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 states that it is the owner of several trademarks on which the Complaint is based, in particular, ARMANI, GIORGIO ARMANI, EMPORIO ARMANI, (ARMANI in Chinese), ΰ (GIORGIO ARMANI in Chinese), and Ӣװ (EMPORIO ARMANI in Chinese) (hereinafter collectively referred to as the Armani Trademarks).

The Respondent registered the domain names <.com> and <.net> on December 15, 2005 (the Disputed Domain Names).

The Complainant states that the Respondent used the Disputed Domain Names to automatically redirect users to the website located at www.al-sette.com which is used for offering various apparel products to consumers.

5. Parties Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant states that the Disputed Domain Names <.com> and

<.net> should be transferred to the Complainant.

The Complainant contends that this should be done so because, within the meaning of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Disputed Domain Names are identical to the Complainants trademark (ARMANI in Chinese) and constitute the dominant part of the Complainants Armani Trademarks; the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Disputed Domain Names; and the Disputed Domain Names have been registered and are being used in bad faith.

To support the first ground, the Complainant relies on its Armani Trademarks which are registered and used on goods and services, such as clothes, glasses, perfumes, jewellery, confectionery, pubs, restaurants and hotels in many classes including 3, 9, 11, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 30, 31, 34, 35, 41, 42, 43, 44 and 45 with registrations in Europe, United States of America, Canada and many international registrations at the WIPO, as well as registrations in other jurisdictions, including China.

The Complainant stresses that the notoriety of its Armani Trademarks are proved by several articles which constantly appear throughout the world on fashion magazines and in major newspapers, and are confirmed by a number of prior decisions rendered by previous UDRP panels. Further, the Complainant contends that it is unanimously recognized that the Armani Trademarks are well-known all over the world, and that by virtue of long-term use and continuous promotion by the Complainant, the Armani Trademarks have become well-known marks in China.

Regarding the second ground, the Complainant states that the Respondent, Yonghui Huang, has not been commonly known (as an individual, business or other organization) by the Disputed Domain Names, and that the Respondent has not received any license or consent, express or implied, to use the Armani Trademarks in a domain name or in any other manner. In addition, the Respondent has not acquired any legitimate rights in the domain names or any name corresponding to the domain names.

Finally, the Complainant states that the Disputed Domain Names are automatically diverted to a website at www.al-sette.com which is owned by an entity named Al-sette International Group for offering various apparel products to consumers. The Complainant contends that the fact that the Respondent used the Disputed Domain Names to automatically redirect users to another website offering competing products is evidence of bad faith.

B. Respondent

The Respondent did not reply to the Complainants contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

For the Complainant to succeed, it must prove, within the meaning of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, that:

(i) the Disputed Domain Names are identical or confusingly similar to the trademarks or service marks in which the Complainant has rights; and

(ii) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Disputed Domain Names; and

(iii) the Disputed Domain Names have been registered and are being used in bad faith.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

Upon consideration of the evidence submitted by the Complainant, the Panel is satisfied that the Complainant owns trademark rights in the Armani Trademarks, in particular, the Panel notes that the Complainant has obtained an international registration for the trademark and has also registered the same trademark in China.

It is well-established that in considering whether a domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a registered trademark, the top-level domain name (for example, .com and .net) should be disregarded. See The Forward Association, Inc., v. Enterprises Unlimited, NAF Case No. FA95491. Accordingly, the Disputed Domain Names are identical to the Complainants trademark and constitute the dominant part of the Complainants Armani Trademarks.

The Panel is satisfied that the Disputed Domain Names are identical to the trademark

which is owned by the Complainant.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

is commonly recognized as the Chinese transliteration of the Complainants trademark ARMANI, which is a widely-known trademark of the Complainant. It is not a descriptive term in which the Respondent might have legimate interests. See GA MODEFINE SA., Giorgio Armani S.p.A. v. Ahmad Haqqi, WIPO Case No. D2007-0834.

The Complainant obtained both an international registration and a registration in China for the trademark on April 6, 2007 which was prior to the date of registration of the Disputed Domain Names.

Furthermore, the Respondent has not submitted any evidence in accordance with paragraph 4(c) of the Policy to demonstrate his rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Names. A search on the official website of the China Trademark Office indicated that the Respondent had not applied for registration and/or registered any trademarks identical and/or similar to ᡱ. There is also no evidence which suggests that the Respondent is in any way related to the Complainant or has obtained authorization from the Complainant to use the term ᡱ.

Based on the record and in the absence of any submission from the Respondent, the Panel concludes that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Names.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The Complainant states that the Armani Trademarks are well-known all over the world. In addition, the Panel is informed that the notoriety of the Armani Trademarks and the rights of the Complainant have been confirmed by several previous UDRP decisions.

The Panel notes that the Disputed Domain Names redirect Internet users to the website located at www.al-sette.com which is the website of an entity named Al-sette International Group. The website is used for promoting various apparel products to potential consumers. The business of the entity, Al-sette International Group, is therefore identical to the Complainants core business. By using the Disputed Domain Names, confusion to potential consumers regarding the origin of goods is possible. Therefore, these seem to be bad faith registration and use of the Disputed Domain Names. See Above All Advertising Inc. v. Belize Domain Whois Service Lt, WIPO Case No. D2007-0775.

The Panel further observes that the same Respondent had on December 12, 2007 applied to register two Chinese domain names <.˾> [armani.company] and

<.> [armani.website], (i.e. 3 days before the date of registration of the Domain Names in this matter). The Panel also notes that in the recent case of GA MODEFINE S.A. v. Huang Yonghui, CIETAC Case No. CND-2007000205, the panel ordered that the two domain names <.˾> and <.> be transferred back to the Complainant.

The Panel therefore finds that the Respondent both registered and used the Disputed Domain Names in bad faith.

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 names, <.com> [xn--8ftt75cdqy.com] and <.net> [xn--8ftt75cdqy.net] be transferred to the Complainant.


Chiang Ling Li
Sole Panelist

Dated: April 24, 2008