The Complainant is Nippon Steel Corporation of Tokyo, Japan represented by Fross Zelnick Lehrman & Zissu, PC of United States of America.
The Respondent is Adam Bay of Republic of Korea.
The disputed domain name <nipponsteel.com> is registered with OnlineNic, Inc. d/b/a China-Channel.com.
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on May 7, 2010. On May 10, 2010, the Center transmitted by email to OnlineNic, Inc. d/b/a China-Channel.com a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On May 11, 2010, OnlineNic, Inc. d/b/a China-Channel.com 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 May 17, 2010. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was June 6, 2010. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default.
The Center appointed Ik-Hyun Seo as the sole panelist in this matter on June 14, 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.
The Complainant is one of the largest companies in Japan, with a history that dates back to 1857. In 1970, two of the Complainant's predecessors merged to form Nippon Steel Corporation, and the Complainant has been using the mark NIPPON STEEL continuously since then. The Complainant is involved in steelmaking, engineering and construction, urban development, chemicals, etc. As of March 31, 2009, the Complainant employed 15,503 persons and had net sales of 4,769,821 million yen for the 2009 fiscal year. The Complainant owns trademark registrations for marks that consist of or incorporate NIPPON STEEL in many countries throughout the world, including the Republic of Korea.
Based on the registration details, it appears that the Respondent is an individual who resides in the Republic of Korea.
The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to marks in which the Complainant has rights. More specifically, the Complainant asserts that is has registrations in various countries throughout the world, including the Republic of Korea, which consist of or incorporate NIPPON STEEL, and that the disputed domain name is identical thereto.
The Complainant also contends that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, and confirms that it has not authorized or licensed rights to the Respondent in any respect.
Finally, the Complainant contends that the disputed domain name was registered and used in bad faith. The Complainant notes that the Respondent has made no bona fide use of the domain name. Rather, the disputed domain name displays content that expressly states that the domain name is available for sale. The Complainant further contends that its mark NIPPON STEEL is widely known throughout the world and in the Republic of Korea. Therefore, it is unlikely that the Respondent was unaware of the Complainant's mark when he obtained the disputed domain name and as he continued to use it to offer it up for sale.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's contentions.
The Complainant has demonstrated with supporting evidence that it holds many trademark registrations throughout the world, including the Republic of Korea, that consist solely or primarily of the term NIPPON STEEL. The disputed domain name <nipponsteel.com> entirely incorporates the Complainant's trademark. Thus, it is clear that the disputed domain name is identical to the Complainant's trademark for NIPPON STEEL.
For the reasons mentioned above, the Panel finds that the first element has been established.
On the basis of the present record, the Panel finds that the Complainant has made the required allegations to support a prima facie showing that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Once such a prima facie basis has been established, the Respondent carries the burden of demonstrating his rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. However, the Respondent in this case has chosen to file no Response. Accordingly, there is no evidence or allegation in the records that would warrant a finding in favor of the Respondent on this point.
For the reasons provided above, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, and that the second element has been established.
The Panel finds that there are sufficient reasons to find bad faith on the part of the Respondent in this case. First, the disputed domain name wholly incorporates the Complainant's trademark NIPPON STEEL. Under the circumstances of this case, the adoption of NIPPON STEEL by the Respondent in the disputed domain name is highly suspicious and raises an inference of bad faith – an inference that has not been rebutted by the Respondent. Further, the Complainant is well-known in the Republic of Korea. The Republic of Korea also has a strong steel industry, and so news about the Complainant is frequently published in mainstream news media in the Republic of Korea. Further supporting the finding of bad faith, it is noted that the Respondent used the disputed domain name to advertise the fact that it is available for sale. Given these circumstances, there is little doubt that the Respondent was well aware of the Complainant and its rights, and thus registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith.
For the reasons given above, the Panel concludes that the third and final element has been sufficiently established.
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 <nipponsteel.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Dated: June 28, 2010