Complainant is Inlingua Internationale Ltd. of Bern, Switzerland, represented by Schluep/Degen, Switzerland.
Respondent is Ricardo Quinones of California, United States of America.
The disputed domain name <inlingua-sa.com> is registered with Network Solutions, LLC.
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on March 23, 2009. On March 24, 2009, the Center transmitted by email to Network Solutions, LLC a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On March 24, 2009, Network Solutions, LLC transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that 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 March 27, 2009. 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” or “UDRP”), 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on March 30, 2009. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was April 19, 2009. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent's default on April 20, 2009.
The Center appointed Desmond J. Ryan as the sole panelist in this matter on May 1, 2009. 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.
Complainant is a corporation resident in Switzerland and is the owner of trademark registrations and applications consisting of, or including the word “inlingua” in 65 countries in relation to language services. Its registrations include registrations on the Principal Register in the United States of America dating from as early as 1971. Complainant conducts its operations through licensees or franchisees in many countries and, in the United States of America it has franchisees in 30 locations. It claims to have been in operation since the 1960's.
Nothing is known of Respondent save that his address is in Los Angeles, California, United States.
The domain name was created on May 5, 2008. The domain name resolves to a website which is a portal site offering links to websites offering translation and other language services not connected with Complainant.
On October 17, 2008, Complainant, through its attorneys, wrote to Respondent asserting its trademark rights and demanding deletion of the domain name. No reply was received.
Complainant contends that it has extensive trademark and reputation rights in the word “inlingua” and that the domain name is identical with its trademarks. The added letters “sa”, according to Complainant, merely indicate Saudi Arabia and do not affect the identity of the domain name.
Complainant asserts that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name and has not been authorised by it to use the domain name. Its use in providing links to language services providers other than Complainant create a likelihood of belief that the services offered are those of Complainant or its licensees and is highly confusing and in violation of Complainant's rights.
Complainant contends that its trademark had a wide reputation and its services were well-known at the time of creation of the domain name. Accordingly, it contends, Respondent must have been aware of Complainant's rights and reputation at the time of registering the domain name. Respondent ignored Complainant's attorney's letter of October 17, 2008 and continued nonetheless to use the domain name to attract users to his website. Complainant cites the decision in Rediff.com India Ltd v. REDIFFMOBILE.COM/c/o “Whois Identity Shield”, WIPO Case No. D2008-0806, in support of its contention that there is a great likelihood that:
“… actual or potential unwary visitors to the Respondent's web page that is resolved to the domain name dispute will believe that there is a connection, nexus, affiliation or association between the Respondent and the Complainant and that this is likely to have the effect of disrupting the business of the Complainant.”
Respondent did not reply to Complainant's contentions.
Complainant has clearly demonstrated by documentary evidence that it has rights in the trademark INLINGUA. The domain name differs from that trademark only by the addition of “-sa”. Whatever that addition may mean it is a minor and insignificant addition to the dominant, and first occurring, part of the domain name “inlingua” and its addition does not serve to distinguish the domain name from Complainant's trademark (see, for example, Internationale Inlingua Sprachschulen v. Stuart Calder, WIPO Case No. D2006-0938).
The Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant's trademark.
Complainant asserts that it has not authorised the use of the domain name by Respondent. There is no apparent basis upon which Respondent could claim any right or legitimate interest in the domain name. Here, the knowing use of the domain name for a portal site linking to traders unconnected to Complainant cannot constitute use in the bona fide offering of such services. Respondent had an opportunity to rebut Complainant's claim but did not do so. It is therefore appropriate for the Panel to assume that Respondent could not make such rebuttal, (Rule 14(b)).
The Panel finds that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interest in the disputed domain name.
Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Panel finds Respondent registered it in full knowledge of Complainant's mark and reputation and is using it in such a way as to be likely to attract Internet users to his website in the mistaken belief that it is connected to Complainant. The inevitable presumption is that such use is for commercial gain, as by collecting “click through” payments. This is a circumstance specifically identified in paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy as evidence of use and registration in bad faith.
Complainant has requested that the disputed domain name be cancelled.
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, <inlingua-sa.com> be cancelled.
Desmond J. Ryan
Dated: May 14, 2009