WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center


Associazione Radio Maria v. Lu Lan

Case No. D2010-0103

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Associazione Radio Maria of Villa Erba (Como), Italy, represented by Perani Pozzi Tavella, Italy.

The Respondent is Lu Lan of Shangai, People's Republic of China.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <radiomaria920mexico.com> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with Above.com, Inc.

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on January 22, 2010. On January 22, 2010, the Center transmitted by email to Above.com, Inc a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On January 27, 2010, Above.com, Inc. 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” 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 January 27, 2010. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was February 16, 2010. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on February 17, 2010.

The Center appointed Ian Lowe as the sole panelist in this matter on March 1, 2010. 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 is a global radio network operating in over 45 countries in more than a dozen languages. It was formed in 1987 to expand the evangelical scale of the Catholic parish radio station “Radio Maria”, originally set up in 1983. The Complainant is the proprietor of numerous trademark registrations comprising RADIO MARIA, including in particular Community trademark registration number 003471562, RADIO MARIA, registered as of October 29, 2003 in classes 9, 16 and 38; International trademark registration number 600288, RADIO MARIA, registered on May 17, 1993 in class 38; and Mexican trademark, RADIO MARIA, number 498282 registered as of July 24, 1995.

The Complainant broadcasts through its website at “www.radiomaria.org” and also through “www.radiomariamexico.org”. The frequency of the Complainant's AM radio broadcasts in Mexico is 920.

The Domain Name was registered on November 5, 2009. At the date of the Complaint the Domain Name resolved to a web page that featured links to a number of other websites featuring various services of a non-religious nature, including satellite phones, hotels, travel and on-line dating.

5. Parties' Contentions

A. Complainant

A summary of the Complainant's submissions is as follows:

a) The Domain Name is almost identical to the Complainant's trademark RADIO MARIA. It differs only by the addition of the geographical indication “Mexico” and the number 920;

b) The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name. Lu Lan has nothing to do with Associazione Radio Maria and has never been authorized or licensed by the Complainant to use the Domain Name. Lu Lan is not commonly known as “RadioMaria920Mexico”;

c) The Respondent is not making any fair or noncommercial use of the Domain Name or using it for making bona fide offerings.

d) The Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith. The RADIO MARIA trademark is registered and well-known throughout the world and by registering the Domain Name the Respondent was intending to exploit the reputation of the trademark by attracting Internet users to a website which is not related to the Complainant.

e) It is very hard to believe that the Respondent did not know the Complainant's trademark when the Domain Name was registered. The Respondent knowingly chose a domain name consisting of the Complainant's trademark and association name RADIO MARIA, pairing it with the number 920 and the word “Mexico” in order to make Internet users believe that the Domain Name refers to the Complainant's broadcasting from Mexico.

f) The Complainant is suffering serious damage from the use of the Domain Name because users might reasonably suppose that RADIO MARIA is sponsored (and thus receiving money) by the entities whose links appear on the Respondent's website. Internet users might therefore be discouraged from making donations to the Complainant or at least be given the impression that RADIO MARIA is connected with a commercial activity which is absolutely incompatible with the Complainant's mission.

g) The Respondent's commercial gain is evident since it appears that the Respondent's sponsoring activity is being remunerated.

B. Respondent

The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

According to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, for this Complaint to succeed in relation to the Domain Name the Complainant must prove that:

(i) the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and

(ii) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interest in respect of the Domain Name; and

(iii) the Domain Name has been registered in bad faith and is being used in bad faith.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Complainant has adduced uncontroverted evidence of a number of registrations in respect of the trademark RADIO MARIA. The Domain Name comprises the entirety of the Complainant's mark together with non-distinctive elements, being the number “920” and the geographical indicator “Mexico”. These additional elements do not detract from the similarity with the Complainant's mark. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to a trademark in which the Complainant has rights.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Respondent has not replied to the Complainant's contentions and has not therefore displaced the assertion on the part of the Complainant that the Respondent does not and cannot have any rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name. The Domain Name was registered more than 25 years after the Complainant's predecessor started broadcasting under the name RADIO MARIA. No licence, permission, authorization or consent was granted by the Complainant to use RADIO MARIA in the Domain Name or to add the reference to the Complainant's radio frequency in Mexico. The Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

It is inconceivable that the Respondent could have registered the Domain Name without having the Complainant in mind. The Complainant broadcasts in Mexico under the name Radio Maria using the 920 wavelength. The inescapable conclusion is that the Respondent registered and has used the Domain Name to operate a website with the intention that users would be confused into believing that it was operated by or with the consent of the Complainant or was authorised by or associated with the Complainant. The Respondent's exploitation of the Complainant's name with a view to commercial gain through sponsored links constitutes bad faith use for the purposes of the Policy.

In the circumstances the Panel finds that the Domain Name was registered and is being used 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 Name, <radiomaria920mexico.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Ian Lowe
Sole Panelist

Date: March 11, 2010