WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Trodat GmbH v. Texas International Property Associates - NA NA
Case No. D2010-1010
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Trodat GmbH of Wels, Austria, represented internally.
The Respondent is Texas International Property Associates - NA NA of Dallas, Texas, United States of America.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <troteclasers.com> is registered with Compana LLC.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the ”Center”) on June 18, 2010. On June 18, 2010, the Center transmitted by email to Compana LLC a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On June 19, 2010, the Registrar 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 29, 2010.
In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was July 19, 2010. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on July 20, 2010.
The Center appointed Antonio Millé as the sole panelist in this matter on July 28, 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 Panel finds that the Center has discharged its obligations under paragraph 2 of the Policy, and that the Respondent has been properly notified of the Complaint and the commencement of the administrative proceeding. Based on the case records, it appears that the electronic mail notification has been delivered to the Respondent, and that the Respondent has refused to accept delivery of the Written Notice which the Center sent to the Respondent via courier delivery.
4. Factual Background
The trademarks upon which the Complaint is based are a number of trademarks TROTEC, registered in the United States (“U.S.”) (country of the Respondent domicile) and in other countries across the world and dated from 1998 to 2007:
- International Trademark TROTEC, registration number 696190, registered on February 11, 1998 in twelve European countries and then extended to fourteen more countries, in classes 07, 09 and 37.
- United States Trademark TROTEC, registration number 2356500, registered on June 13, 2000, in classes 07 and 09.
- Community Trademark TROTEC, registration number 5443254, registered on December 10, 2007 in twelve European countries and then extended to fourteen more countries, in classes 07, 09, 17 and 42.
The Complainant alleges also having registered the domain name <troteclaser.com> (that only differs with the disputed domain name in the final letter “s”) on September 12, 2002.
The registration of the European countries and U.S. trademarks, as well as the registration of the Complainant’s domain name, is in consequence previous to the disputed domain name’s registration on December 20, 2005.
The Complainant described their activity and position in the market saying “The Complainant, Trodat GmbH … is one of the industry’s leading resources for computer controlled laser engraving equipment and laser marking systems. Its machines are currently in use in over 90 countries around the globe. The Complainant and its sister company Trotec GmbH have spent large amounts of money, time and effort to reach their reputation on the global market”.
No factual information about the Respondent is available other than those appearing in the registration details for the disputed domain name.
5. Parties’ Contentions
As mentioned in the “Factual Background” section, the Complainant bases its Complaint on the ground of the registration of a large number of national, European Community and international word trademarks TROTEC. The Complainant also refers to its prior registration of <troteclaser.com>.
The Complainant considers that the circumstance that “the Respondent’s domain name differs in the suffix “lasers” from the Complainant’s trademarks cannot outweigh the identity of the remaining components as the substantial term is “Trotec” and the term “laser” only is descriptive of the goods (lasers) provided on the web site of the Respondent. The presence of the common term “laser” in the disputed domain name is not sufficient to distinguish it from the Complainant’s mark. So the identical and substantial term “Trotect” of the Respondent’s domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark TROTEC.
The Complainant states that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name, because a) it has no connection or affiliation with the Complainant and lacks any right to use its trademarks; b) the web site acceded by the disputed domain name consists of a list of hyperlinks to web sites of different competitors of the Complainant in the lasers or lasers component market, so “the Respondent can not be deemed as offering its goods and services bona fide”; c) the Respondent is not commonly known or referred to by the domain name; d) the disputed domain name is not associated with any business operated by the Respondent; e) the Respondent’s intention is to keep diverted customers on its web site, pretending in bad faith to be Complainant’s web site […] to take advantage of its good reputation in bad faith; f) the Respondent could be deemed to be a well-known cyber-squatter being involved in a number of cases similar to the present one before the Center; and g) that the Complainant sent a cease and desist letter by email message to the Respondent’s email address, without receiving any response about some “right or legitimate interest in respect of the domain name”.
The Complainant maintains that the disputed domain name has been registered and used in bad faith, because a) the Respondent has created the disputed domain name knowing the registration of trademarks by the Complainant and its commercial activity and prestige; b) as a “click-through” web site, the intent of the Respondent “was rent out entries/links to competitors of the Complainant”; c) the existence of the disputed domain name prevents the Complainant from reflecting its trademark followed by the plural of “laser” as a domain name; and d) the Respondent’s intention is “to attract, for commercial gain, internet users to the Respondent’s web site by creating a confusion with the Complainant’s mark “. The Complainant adds other arguments that repeat those summarized in the previous point.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
The Policy sets out in paragraph 4(a) the cumulative elements that shall be proved by the Complainant in order to succeed in an administrative proceeding for abusive domain name registration. The Panel will examine each one of these elements in the following points.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The disputed domain name comprises two elements: a) the word “trotec”, which is the Complainant’s registered trademark; and b) “lasers”, a term that names a class of devices.
The Panel finds that the addition of a generic word (with more reason if this word is precisely the denomination of the class of goods corresponding to the trademark) is inconsequential, and that in the present case, the addition of a term that alludes to the class of devices that the Complainant produces would induce the Internet users to confusion and make the disputed domain name <troteclasers.com> confusingly similar with the Complainant’s trademark TROTEC. Such cause of similarity among expressions textually different was recognized by previous UDRP decisions, viz:
“The domain name is composed of the Complainant’s trademark CAT and the descriptive word “machines”. Since the Complainant’s trademark has been used extensively in association with machines, the Administrative Panel finds that the domain name “catmachines.com” is confusingly similar to the trademarks of the Complainant.” Caterpillar Inc. v. Roam the Planet, Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2000-0275.
“The Contested Domain Name includes the entirety of Complainant’s ATT Marks. As numerous courts and prior WIPO UDRP panels have recognized, the incorporation of a trademark in its entirety may be sufficient to establish that a domain name is identical or confusingly similar to Complainant’s registered mark. See Paccar Inc. v. Telescan Technologies, L.L.C., 115 F. Supp. 772 (E.D. Mich. 2000) (finding that <peterbuilttrucks.com>, <kenworthtrucks.com> and similar domain names are not appreciably different from the trademarks PETERBUILT and KENWORTH); Quixtar Investments, Inc. v. Dennis Hoffman, WIPO Case No. D2000-0253 (May 29, 2000) (finding that QUIXTAR and <quixtarmortgage.com> are legally identical).” AT&T Corp. v. William Gormally, WIPO Case No. D2005-0758.
It is appropriate to note that in Terex Corporation v. Texas International Property Associates - NA NA, WIPO Case No. D2008-0733, in which the Respondent was also the respondent, the panel ordered the transfer of another domain name formed by a trademark added to a generic term.
The Panel finds that the disputed domain name, which fully incorporates the Complainant’s trademark and merely adds a descriptive term corresponding to the class of goods which the Complainant produces, is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark. Therefore, the Panel finds that the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(i) are met
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Neither “Trotec” nor “lasers” is part of the corporate name of the person or entity which registered the disputed domain name, and the Complainant has not granted a licence or other permission to the Respondent to use its trademark. The Respondent has not filed a Response, and therefore, it has not given any basis for a right or legitimate interest in respect of the use of the expression “trotec” as a domain name component. The Panel’s conclusion about the lack of rights or legitimate interests based on the record before it is confirmed by the lack of a Response from the Respondent regarding the existence of any of the circumstances listed in paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, to demonstrate its rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.
The fact invoked by the Complainant and verified by the Panel, that the website to which the disputed domain name resolves consists of links to web sites of different competitors of the Complainant in the lasers devices or lasers component markets, in the present circumstances, further corroborates a finding of the Respondent’s lack of rights and legitimate interests therein as the Respondent is not using the disputed domain name.
On this basis, the Panel concludes that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Therefore, the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(ii) are met.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Complainant based the Complaint under the third element of the Policy on the existence of the circumstances set out in paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy regarding the registration and use of the disputed domain name in bad faith.
The registration as a domain name of the trademark of a widely-known corporate vendor of laser devices in combination with the term corresponding to this class of goods, seems to the Panel to be a typical example of the conduct of those that have “intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to a web site or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of this web site or location or of a product or service on such web site or location” (Policy, paragraph 4(b)(iv)) .
At the disputed domain name registration time (the end of the year 2005) the Complainant’s trademarks had been in use for about eight years and acquired sufficient goodwill as to discard as implausible any claim by the Respondent of innocent and accidental registration. In the Panel’s view, the addition of the generic designation “lasers” makes evident the Respondent’s intention to simulate a link with the Complainant, which was operating a domain name using its trademark and the same word in singular form.
In light of these circumstances, and considering the Respondent’s silence about any legitimate reason that could drive the Respondent to registering and using “troteclasers” as a domain name, the Panel can not find any justification for such registration of the disputed domain name other than to unjustifiably trade off the goodwill of and evoke the Complainant’s trademark.
There are two additional reasons to find bad faith registration and use of the disputed domain name.
Firstly, the use of the disputed domain name as URL for a “click through” web site, in conjuction with the fact that the Respondent has been found in other UDRP decisions to have registered other domain names which were similar to prominent trademarks and which were linked to pay-per-click websites illustrates that the Respondent has engaged in a pattern of bad faith conduct, lending further support to the Panel’s finding that the Respondent has acted in bad faith in this case.
“Respondent has been found by previous panels under the Policy to have engaged in a pattern of registering domain names to prevent the owners of marks from registering them. See Celine Dion and Kevin Spacey, supra. Respondent’s similar course of conduct here with respect to Complainant’s trademark and service mark justifies an adverse finding under the terms of paragraph 4(b)(ii).” Tom Cruise v. Network Operations Center / Alberta Hot Rods, WIPO Case No. D2006-0560.
“The Panel finds that paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy is also proved, but in doing so wishes to single out the cybersquatting aspect of this case. One of the examples of a bad faith registration is contained in paragraph 4(b)(ii) of the Policy (“you have registered the domain name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided you have engaged in a pattern of such conduct”). With some 40 UDRP decisions against him, it is clear that the Respondent has engaged in such a pattern, so this alone would be sufficient for a finding of bad faith.” AT&T Corp. v. Asia Ventures, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2005-1012.
Secondly, the Panel notes that the disputed domain name differs only in the final letter “s” vis-à-vis the Complainant’s own domain name <troteclaser.com>. This is typical of “typo squatting”. Pursuant to previous UDRP decisions, this kind of domain name registration may be an expression of bad faith:
“Respondent is a serial typosquatter who has registered many domain names incorporating the slightly modified trademarks or company names of other entities. It is well-settled that the practice of typosquatting, of itself, is evidence of the bad faith registration of a domain name. See, Longs Drug Stores Cal., Inc. v. Shep Dog, WIPO Case No. D2004-1069 (February 28, 2005) (Finding typosquatting to be evidence of bad faith domain name registration); Lexar Media, Inc. v. Huang, WIPO Case No. D2004-1039 (January 26, 2005) (“Typosquatting has been held under the Policy to be evidence of bad faith registration of a domain name”); Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Longo, WIPO Case No. D2004-0816 (November 29, 2004) (“[typosquatting] is presumptive of registration in bad faith”). The fact that the Respondent has an extensive history of typosquatting only strengthens the inference of bad faith. MouseSavers, Inc. v. Tsung, WIPO Case No. D2004-1034 (February 1, 2005) (finding bad faith where Respondent was a “serial” typosquatter).” ESPN, Inc. v. XC2, WIPO Case No. D2005-0444.
Because of this, the Panel finds that the Respondent has registered and used the disputed domain name <troteclasers.com> in bad faith. Therefore, the Panel holds that the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(iii) have been satisfied.
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 <troteclasers.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Dated: August 11, 2010