The Complainant is Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd, Suwon-City, Republic of Korea, represented by You Me Patent & Law Firm, Republic of Korea.
The Respondent is Kutchery Road, Gujrat, Punjab, Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
The disputed domain name <samsungtv.com> is registered with Moniker Online Services, LLC.
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on September 22, 2008. On September 23, 2008, the Center transmitted by email to Moniker Online Services, LLC a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain name at issue. On September 23, 2008, Moniker Online Services, 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 September 25, 2008. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was October 15, 2008. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on October 16, 2008.
The Center appointed Flip Jan Claude Petillion as the sole panelist in this matter on November 3, 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.
The Complainant is Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd, a widely known organization internationally in the business of manufacturing and selling a variety of goods, ranging from consumer electronics such as refrigerators, TVs, and videos to electronic gadgets such as cellular phones, computers, and printers, and is a world leader in semiconductor technology.
The Complainant qualifies itself as one of the main companies of what it calls the “Samsung Group.” The Complainant owns numerous trademarks and domain names related to the corporate name “Samsung” (meaning “3 stars”) in many stylized formats, which was adopted in order to distinguish its business, products, and trade identity to its consumers.
The Complainant's name and mark has been registered in many countries including the US, the UK, China, and Hong Kong. The Complainant has produced the Samsung Group corporate identity and trademark registrations.
The Complainant has stated that it has over 124 offices in 56 countries worldwide.
The disputed domain name was registered by the Respondent on December 17, 1999.
In contrast with the statement of the Complainant, the domain name is effectively used.
It is used to direct Internet visitors to a landing page containing references and links to competing companies of the Complainant.
The Complainant argues the following:
- the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights;
- the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and
- the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's contentions.
The burden that the Complainant must meet under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy is to prove:
(i) that the disputed domain name 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 disputed domain name; and
(iii) that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant's trademark.
In contrast with the argument developed by the Complainant, the Panel is not of the opinion that the disputed domain name is identical to the trademark of the Complainant. This is because, while the domain name is composed of a name that is identical to the trademark of the Complainant, it also includes a term that is descriptive of certain of the Complainant's products (i.e. “tv”). In such a case, the domain name may well be confusingly similar, but not identical to the Complainant's trademark.
In the case at hand, the Panel is of the opinion that the disputed domain name <samsungtv.com> is indeed confusingly similar to the SAMSUNG trademark of the Complainant.
The Panel agrees with the Complainant that the disputed domain name will be easily recognized by Internet users as “Samsung” plus “tv” because SAMSUNG is a very famous mark. The mere addition of the sufffix “.tv” is not sufficient to distinguish the domain name from the Complainant's trademark. This is all the more so because the Complainant is in the TV manufacturing business.
As it is often impossible for a complainant to prove the negative fact that a respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, it is well accepted that a complainant must only show a prima facie case that there are no rights or legitimate interests on the part of the Respondent. The burden of proof will then shift to the respondent (see Croatia Airlines d.d. v. Modern Empire Internet Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2003-0455 and Belupo d.d. v. WACHEM d.o.o., WIPO Case No. D2004-0110).
The Panel is satisfied that the Complainant has proven a prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Respondent does not appear to be commonly known under the name which is used for the disputed domain name, and the use of the disputed domain name is not one for a bona fide offering of goods or services.
The Respondent is not affiliated with the Complainant in any way. The Complainant has not authorized the Respondent to use and register its trademark or to seek the registration of any domain name incorporating the said mark.
The Respondent did not file a response and, therefore, failed to refute the Complainant's prima facie showing on this matter.
The Panel finds that the disputed domain name has been registered and used in bad faith.
The trademark of the Complainant undoubtedly is a widely-known trademark internationally.
The Respondent most likely knew of and intended to target the trademark at the time of the registration of the disputed domain name.
The Respondent clearly wanted to take full advantage of the Complainant's mark SAMSUNG by registering the disputed domain name and linking it to a landing page, from which revenue is presumably derived.
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 <samsungtv.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Flip Jan Claude Petillion
Dated: November 4, 2008