The Complainant is Groupe ROC-ECLERC of France, represented by Tmark Conseils, France.
The Respondent is Forsyte Corporation of Bahamas.
The disputed domain name <roc-eclerc.com> is registered with Abdomainations.ca Inc.
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on October 2, 2008. On October 6, 2008, the Center transmitted by email to Abdomainations.ca Inc. a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain name at issue. On October 14, 2008, Abdomainations.ca Inc. transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details. In response to a notification by the Center that the Complaint was administratively deficient, the Complainant filed an amendment to the Complaint on October 16, 2008. The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amendment to 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 October 17, 2008. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was November 6, 2008. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on November 11, 2008.
The Center appointed Dawn Osborne as the sole panelist in this matter on November 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.
The Complainant is the owner of the trade mark ROC-ECLERC for goods and services in relation to funerals in France and the European Community and has been trading in these goods since 1985.
The Respondent, based in Bahamas registered the Domain Name on May 22, 2008 and has used the domain name to point to links offering similar goods but which are not connected to the Complainant. The Respondent has not responded to the Complaint.
The Complainant's contentions can be summarised as follows:
The Complainant is the owner of several French or Community trade marks for the words, ROC-ECLERC for funeral parlour goods and services. The Complainant's corporate name is Group Roc Eclerc and they have the domain name <groupe-roc-eclerc.com> both registered in 2005. An affiliate of the Complainant is the owner of <roceclerc.com>.
The Respondent registered the Domain Name on May 22, 2008. The Domain Name is identical to the Complainant's trade marks for the purposes of the Policy (no account being taken of the generic top level domain “.com” for this purpose).
Furthermore, the Domain Name is very similar to the corporate name, Groupe ROC ECLERC and the domain name, <groupe-roc-eclerc.com>, “groupe” being a non-distinctive word for a legal entity.
The Respondent does not have any registered trade marks for ROC-ECLERC, is not commonly known by this name; the Respondent's corporate name is “Forsyte Corporation” and is therefore completely distinguishable from ROC ECLERC. A search conducted by the Complainant on the Google website of the words, “ROC*ECLERC+FORSYTE” revealed no reference to the use of the expression “Roc-Eclerc” in relation to the Respondent, which further corroborates the fact that the Respondent has no legitimate interest in the Domain Name.
The Respondent registered and used the Domain Name in bad faith. The choice of ”Roc-Eclerc” cannot be done randomly in so far as the expression is both meaningless and original. The Complainant has traded in funeral parlour goods and services since 1985. The website contains commercial links, that direct consumers to competing commercial websites that provide similar goods and services to the Complainant. Thus, the Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to the website connected to the Domain Name by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant's ROC ECLERC name and trade mark. This Domain Name is likely to cause confusion amongst members of the public where it will be assumed that the Domain Name is in some way connected with the Complainant, when it is not.
Finally, the Respondent has previously been ordered to transfer other domain names under the Policy in other decisions showing a pattern of registering and using domain names in bad faith.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's contentions.
According to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainant must prove that:
- The Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trade mark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and
- The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
- The Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Domain Name consists of the Complainant's ROC-ECLERC registered mark and the generic “.com” top level domain. As such the Domain Name is identical to a trade mark in which the Complainant has rights for the purpose of the Policy.
The Respondent has not filed a Response, does not appear to have any trade marks associated with “Roc-Eclerc”, is not commonly known by this name and does not have any consent from the Complainant to use this name. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name.
Paragraph 4 (b) of the Rules sets out non-exclusive criteria which shall be evidence of the registration and use of a domain name in bad faith including circumstances where, by using the domain name, the Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its 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 its web site or location or of a product or service on its web site or location.
It does appear that the Respondent has attempted to attract and cause confusion amongst Internet users between the Complainants' marks and goods and the links on the site attached to the Domain Name for commercial gain. The Panel notes that the Respondent has been found to have registered and used domain names in bad faith in other UDRP decisions and, therefore appears to be commonly engaged in the activities of registering domain names containing the trade marks of third parties for profit.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Domain Name has been registered and used in bad faith.
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, <roc-eclerc.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Dated: December 4, 2008