The Complainant is Kairos Investment Management SPA of Milan, Italy, represented by Dechert LLP, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The Respondent is Guimei Lin of Beijing, the People's Republic of China.
The disputed domain name <kairoscapitalpartners.com> is registered with GoDaddy.com, Inc.
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on June 11, 2010. On June 11, 2010, the Center transmitted by email to GoDaddy.com, Inc. a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On June 15, 2010, GoDaddy.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 June 15, 2010. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was July 5, 2010. The Response was filed with the Center on July 1, 2010.
The Center appointed Andrew F. Christie as the sole panelist in this matter on July 9, 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 an investment manager with offices in London, Lugano, Milan, New York, Rome and Turin. Founded in 1999, the Complainant currently has around 5 billion euros in assets under management, and since 2005 has spent more than 3 million pounds on advertising its services under the “Kairos” name. The Complainant is often referred to as “Kairos Partners” and the terms “Kairos” and “Kairos Partners” are used interchangeably to refer to the Complainant and its group of companies.
The Complainant has trademark registrations for the term KAIROS in the European Community, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States of America and internationally, with the earliest dating from 1999. The Complainant uses the domain name <kairospartners.com> as the address for its website.
The Respondent appears to be a Chinese citizen living in Beijing who registered the disputed domain name on April 29, 2010. The disputed domain name is used as the address for a website that focuses on matters to do with the investment of money or capital.
The Complainant contends the disputed domain name is identical and/or confusingly similar to the KAIROS trademarks in which the Complainant has extensive rights. The disputed domain name is comprised of three word: “kairos”, “capital” and “partners” of which the two latter words are descriptive. The Complainant is often referred to as “Kairos Partners”, as a result of which the Complainant has rights, reputation and goodwill in the mark KAIROS PARTNERS. The word “capital” would be treated by the general public as perfectly applicable to the Complainant given its line of business.
The Complainant contends the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name because it was registered 11 years after the Complainant was founded. It is reasonable to assume the Respondent knew of the Complainant at the time the disputed domain name was registered, particularly as the Complainant had an office in Hong Kong, SAR of China between 2005 and 2009. The Complainant contends the Respondent chose the disputed domain name because it included the well-known trademarks associated with the Complainant and would therefore draw traffic to the Respondent's financial services website, which promotes the services of the Complainant's competitors through articles and press releases. The Complainant has not licensed or otherwise permitted or authorized the Respondent to use its trademarks or to apply for a domain name incorporating any such trademarks. Further, the Respondent's name does not include “Kairos” or “Kairos Partners” or anything similar, and he is not commonly known by either of these words.
The Complainant contends the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith because: (i) it was registered more than 11 years after the Complainant started trading under the trademarks, and the Complainant has substantial goodwill and reputation in them; (ii) the Respondent uses it to link directly to, and to route traffic to, websites which either are the websites of the Complainant's competitors, or which contain true and accurate contact details of the Complainant's largest competitors, or which promote services identical to the services provided by the Complainant; (iii) its registration by the Respondent has diluted the reputation of the Complainant's trademarks such that the trademarks do not act as a guarantee of origin that the services are provided uniquely by, or with the endorsement of, the Complainant; and (iv) the Respondent knew or should have known about the Complainant's trademark rights given the Complainant is well-known, and had a four-year presence in Hong Kong, SAR of China.
The Respondent contends that she/he registered the disputed domain name for her/his personal blog, that she/he knows nothing about the Complainant, and that after careful search she/he found that there were no corresponding trademarks registered in the People's Republic of China.
The disputed domain name incorporates wholly the Complainant's registered trademark KAIROS, and adds only the descriptive words “capital” and “partners”. The distinctive aspect of the disputed domain name is the Complaint's registered trademark. It is also the case that the Complainant is known as both “Kairos” and “Kairos Partners”, and the addition of the descriptive words “capital” and “partners” does not lessen the inevitable confusion of the disputed domain name with the Complainant's registered trademark. Accordingly, this Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to a trademark in which the Complainant has rights.
The Respondent is not a licensee of, or otherwise affiliated with, the Complainant, and does not appear to have any association with the word “Kairos”. The Respondent registered the disputed domain name 11 years after the Complainant was founded. Although allegedly registered for his “personal blog”, the disputed domain name resolves to a website offering financial and investment information, including information about, and links to, some of the Complainant's competitors. The Respondent has not provided any information about why she/he chose the particular words “kairos capital partners” for the disputed domain name or why her/his personal blog contains information about the Complainant's competitors. The Complainant has made out a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, and the Respondent has not rebutted this prima facie case. Accordingly, this Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
The Complainant has been an investment manager for over a decade – located mainly in Italy, but also with offices in London, New York and, between 2005 and 2009, Hong Kong, SAR of China. This Panel is persuaded that the Respondent was likely aware of the Complainant's trademark when he registered the disputed domain name. Moreover, this Panel is persuaded that the Respondent has used the disputed domain name with the intention of attracting Internet users to his website by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant's trademark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the website. Pursuant to paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy, this Panel finds that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
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 <kairoscapitalpartners.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Andrew F. Christie
Dated: July 23, 2010