The Complainant is U.S. Natural Resources, Inc. of San Antonio, Texas, United States of America, represented by Ladas & Parry, United States of America.
The Respondent is Rampe Purda of Finland; Privacy--Protect.org of Shanghai, the People's Republic of China.
The disputed domain name <friedrichairconditioning.com> is registered with Hebei Guoji Maoyi (Shanghai) LTD aka HEBEI INTERNATIONAL TRADING
(SHANGHAI) CO., LTD dba HebeiDomains.com (the “Registrar”).
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on May 5, 2010. On May 6, 2010, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On May 9, 2010, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the disputed domain name which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on May 17, 2010 providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting the Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. The Complainant filed an amendment to the Complaint on May 20, 2010. On May 17, 2010, the Center transmitted by email to the parties both English and Finnish regarding the language of proceedings. On May 20, 2010, the Complainant submitted a request that English be the language of proceedings. The Respondent did not comment on the language of proceedings by the specified due date. 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 the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on May 25, 2010. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was June 14, 2010. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on June 17, 2010.
The Center appointed George R. F. Souter as the sole panelist in this matter on June 24, 2010. The Panel finds that it was properly constituted and accepts the Complainant's request that English be the language of these proceedings. 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 has supplied the Panel with details of a number of its United States Federal trademark registrations, in particular United States Registration No. 0984507, which covers the trademark FRIEDRICH in respect of “Air conditioners and parts therefore”. This registration is in force and claims use in the United States since 1951.
The Complainant states that it is a leading manufacturer of room air conditioners and other quality air treatment products.
The Complainant alleges that “the <friedrichairconditioning.com> domain name incorporates Complainant's FRIEDRICH mark in its entirety and merely appends the generic terms “air conditioning”, which are the goods provided by Complainant under its FRIEDRICH marks” and that accordingly, the disputed domain name in these proceedings should be considered to be confusingly similar to the Complainant's FRIEDRICH trademark.
The Complainant further contends that it has not authorized, licensed or consented to the Respondent's registration of a domain name incorporating the FRIEDRICH trademark, or any confusingly similar variation of its marks. “Furthermore, to Friedrich's knowledge, there are no current trademark applications or registrations in the name of Respondent for any mark incorporating the designation FRIEDRICH anywhere in the world. Moreover, nothing in the WhoIs information relating to the Offending Domain indicates that Respondent is commonly know by the designation FRIEDRICH since Respondent suspiciously opted to use a privacy registration service when registering the Offending Domain”, and asks that the Respondent be declared to have no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name in these proceedings.
In connection with bad faith, the Complainant alleges “Respondent has registered a domain name confusingly similar to Complainant's marks and used the Offending Domain to direct Internet users to Respondent's website, where Respondent likely garners click-through fees for each Internet user who selects one of the links. Moreover, the links on Respondent's website further divert Internet traffic to websites that offer air conditioning products for sale, in direct competition with the goods offered by Complainant under its FRIEDRICH trademarks”, and that, accordingly, the Respondent's activities should be considered to constitute bad faith in registration and use of the disputed domain name in these proceedings.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's contentions.
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy lists three elements that a complainant must prove to merit a finding that the disputed domain name be transferred to the complainant or be cancelled:
(i) the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark (“mark”) in which the complainant has rights; and
(ii) the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and
(iii) the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
In the Panel's opinion, a domain name which fully incorporates another's trademark, merely appending generic words describing products or services offered by the trademark owner, constitutes confusing similarity under the Policy to the mark in which the Complainant has rights. The Complainant, therefore, succeeds under this heading.
The Respondent did not take advantage of the opportunity presented in these proceedings to advance any justification of a claim to rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name in these proceedings, and the Panel draws the appropriate conclusion. There appear to be no circumstances attached to the respondent's name or address which might lead to a finding of legitimate interest. Taking into account the Panel's satisfaction that the Complainant's presented a prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name and that the Respondent has not rebutted this, the Panel decides that the Complainant succeeds under this heading.
The Respondent's name in the present proceedings is known to the Panel, see Hertz System, Inc. v. Rampe Purda / Privacy--Protect.org, WIPO Case No. D2010-0636. The modus operandi of “Rampe Purda” (the Finnish Surnames Register records nobody of either the name Rampe or Purda residing in Finland) seems consistent. In the Hertz System, Inc. case, supra, the trademark HERTZ plus the descriptive words car and rental formed the domain name <hertzcarrental.com>, which was used to host a pay per click website in which users could be directed to competing products of Hertz System, Inc. This demonstrates a pattern of abusive behaviour, which, in the Panel's opinion, reveals both registration and use in bad faith, and the Panel so finds in the present proceedings.
For all the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the disputed domain name <friedrichairconditioning.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
George R. F. Souter
Dated: July 8, 2010