The Complainant is Christian Dior Couture of Paris, France, represented by Cabinet Marc Sabatier, France.
The Respondent is Dior Interiors, Zion Segev of Natanya, Israel.
The disputed domain name <diors.net> (the “domain name”) is registered with Globe Hosting, Inc.
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on October 23, 2009. On October 23, 2009, the Center transmitted by email to Globe Hosting, Inc. a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain name. On November 17, 2009, Globe Hosting, Inc. transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details for the disputed domain name. The Center verified that the Complaint satisfied the formal requirements of 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 the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on November 18, 2009. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was December 8, 2009. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on December 9, 2009.
The Center appointed Clive Duncan Thorne as the sole panelist in this matter on December 15, 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.
In the absence of a Response, the relevant facts are set out in the Complaint. The Complainant, Christian Dior Couture owns and uses the trademarks DIOR and CHRISTIAN DIOR all over the world. In particular, the Complainant is the owner of the following trademarks:
(i). International trademark DIOR no. 313176 filed on May 13, 1966 in classes 14, 18, 23, 24, 25 and 26 to designate, inter alia, thread and textile.
(ii) International trademark DIOR no. 2R156609 filed on October 8, 1991 in classes 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24 25, 26, 28 and 34 to designate, inter alia, wicker work, cloth and thread.
(iii) Israel trademark DIOR no. 93768 filed on July 18, 1994 in class 25.
(iv) Israel trademark DIOR no. 93767 filed on July 18, 1994 in class 14.
(v) International trademark CHRISTIAN DIOR no. 171474 filed on September 12, 1953 in class 20, inter alia, to designate furniture.
Copies of the Certificates of Registration are set out in Annex 4 to the Complaint.
The Complainant is also the owner of several domain names incorporated the mark DIOR including <babydior.net>, <baby-dior.net> and <lah-dior.net>. Additionally a group company Parfums Christian Dior owns the domain name <dior.net>. A WhoIs search confirming this is exhibited at Annex 5 to the Complaint.
The Complainant makes, inter alia, armchairs and sofas using a particular design known as the Caned device. At Annex 6 to the Complaint are photographs of an interior decorated with the Caned device and a copy of the trademark CANED DEVICE which protects furniture, i.e. mirrors, armchairs and chairs. Also exhibited is an extract from an article which mentions that an institute of beauty Dior is presented in a luxury hotel in Paris (the Plaza Athenee) and this institute is decorated with the “Codes Dior”, i.e. mirrors decorated with the Caned device. Dior is known to be both a creator of designs, a fashion designer and creator of sets for home, sets of jewels and designer furniture.
The history of the dispute is that the Complainant in August 2009 sent several warning letters to the Respondent requesting the transfer of the domain name. It appears that this correspondence was not responded to. The correspondence is exhibited at Annex 8 to the Complaint.
The Complainant submits that the domain name <diors.net> is active and used by the Respondent. It exhibits, at Annex 9 to the Complaint, a copy of the Respondent's website offering furniture for sale.
In the absence of a Response, the Panel accepts the truth of the evidence submitted by the Complainant.
(i) The Complainant submits that the domain name is confusing similar to trademarks in which the Complainant has rights. The Complainant relies on the similarity of the domain name <diors.net> to the trademark DIOR.
(ii) The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name. The Complainant relies upon evidence that Dior Interiors has been deleted from the Israeli Companies Register. It also relies upon the fact that they would not have granted any licence, contract or other authorisation to the Respondent to authorise it to register and use the domain name <diors.net>.
(iii) The domain name is registered and is being used in bad faith. The Complainant relies upon the failure of the Respondent to respond to the demand letters. It also relies upon the fact that the domain name in dispute is <diors.net> but that the domain name is redirected towards the link “www.dior.hci.co.il”.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's contentions.
The Panel accepts on the basis of the evidence referred to in 4 above, that the Complainant has registered trademark rights in the mark DIOR. There is no evidence, however, before the Panel that the Complainant has rights in any mark containing the term “dior”. The issue therefore before the Panel is whether the domain name <diors.net> is confusingly similar to the mark DIOR.
The Complainant cites two previous panel decisions. The first, Harrods Limited v. Jamie Gordon, WIPO Case No. D2006-1063, as authority for the fact that a single letter added at the beginning of a domain name does not prevent the domain name from being similar. The second decision, Rolex Klatch U.S.A. v. Spider Klebs, Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2001-0398, is cited as authority that the incorporation of a trade mark in its entirety in the domain name is sufficient to establish that the domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the Complainant's registered mark. The Harrods Limited case, sopra, concerned the addition of the letter ‘h' before Harrods in the domain name <hharrods.com>.
In the Panel's view, it is necessary to consider each case on its own merits. In the present case, the letter ‘s' is added to the Complainant's well-established mark DIOR. In the Panel's view this does not detract from the fact that the essence of the mark, i.e. DIOR, has been taken for the purposes of the domain name. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Complainant has succeeded in proving this element.
The Complainant relies inter alia on the fact, that no licence, contract or other authorisation was granted to the Respondent to authorise it to register and use the domain name. In the circumstances and on the basis that there is no evidence to the contrary, the Panel accepts that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name and finds for the Complainant in respect of this element.
The Complainant relies upon the following to show that the domain name is registered and is being used in bad faith.
(i) The failure of the Respondent to respond to the correspondence from the Complainant.
(ii) The fact that since Christian Dior Couture is well-known all over the world, the Respondents must have known of the existence of the Complainant and its trademarks.
(iii) The fact that the domain name <diors.net> is active and redirected towards the link “www.dior.hci.co.il”, would create confusion in the minds of the public with the mark DIOR.
In summary, the Complainant submits that the Respondent has chosen to refer to the mark DIOR which is known all over the world and synonymous with luxury and quality to attract Internet users to its website, for commercial gain.
The Panel notes that, from the Annexes of the Complaint, it appears that at one time a company named “Dior Interiors, Ltd.” was, in fact, registered with the Companies Registry in Israel. The Panel also notes that, according to the Complainant's evidence, such listing appears to have been “erased”. If the Respondent had possessed any rights in the domain name, the Panel would have expected it to come forth with evidence to support its claim. On balance, and after considering all of the evidence on this, admittedly limited record, the Panel finds that the Respondent has registered and used the domain name in bad faith.
In the absence of evidence to the contrary, the Panel accepts the force of these submissions. In particular, it is persuaded by the fact that the domain name in dispute is directed towards the link “www.dior.hci.co.il”.
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 <diors.net> be transferred to the Complainant.
Dated: January 4, 2010