WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
AREVA v. St. James Robyn Limoges
Case No. D2010-1017
1. The Parties
The Complainant is AREVA of Paris, France, represented by Dreyfus & associés, France.
The Respondent is St. James Robyn Limoges of Addison, Texas, United States of America.
2. The Domain Names and Registrar
The Disputed Domain Names <areva-llc.com> and <areva-llc.info> are registered with GoDaddy.com, Inc.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on June 21, 2010. On June 21, 2010, the Center transmitted by email to GoDaddy.com, Inc. a request for registrar verification in connection with the Disputed Domain Names. On June 22, 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 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 Lana I. Habash as the sole panelist in this matter on July 26, 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 AREVA, a French company, is a world energy expert offering its customers technological solutions for highly reliable nuclear power generation and is highly ranked in the global nuclear power industry. AREVA has worldwide presence and has manufacturing and commercial facilities on every continent, and is especially well-established in the United States.
AREVA is the owner of numerous trademark international and national registrations, the earlier of which dates back to November 28, 2001. The name AREVA is also the trade name of the Complainant.
The Disputed Domain Names <avera-llc.com> and <avera-llc.info> were registered on December 28, 2009 in the name of the Respondent. The Disputed Domain Names direct Internet users to parking pages displaying commercial links including links directly connected to Complainant’s and to other nuclear power websites.
On February 3, 2010, Complainant sent a cease and desist letter to Respondent by e-mail and registered mail followed by a number of reminders to which the Respondent did not reply.
No amicable settlement was reached and therefore, the Complainant filed this Complaint.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the Disputed Domain Names <avera-llc.com> and <avera-llc.info> are identical or at least confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark and trade name AREVA as they contain the mark in full; the Complainant asserts that AREVA is a well known trademark, and is protected by numerous international and national registrations.
The Complainant contends that the mere addition of the letters “-llc” is not sufficient to distinguish the Disputed Domain Names from the Complainant’s trademark, and that the prominent part of the Disputed Domain Names remains the Complainant’s trademark. Moreover, the fact that those three letters represent an abbreviation of the corporate form of a limited liability company in the United States may increase confusion on part of Internet users as to the link between the Respondent and the legal entity of the Complainant in the United States. Similarly, the Complainant contends that the extensions “.info” and “.com” should not be taken into consideration when examining the identity or confusing similarity between the Complainant’s trademark and the Disputed Domain Names.
The Complainant contends that the public would reasonably assume that the Disputed Domain Names, which include the abbreviation of the corporate form through which the Complainant exists in the United States directly or through affiliates, are related to and/or owned by the Complainant. The Complainant explains that the term AREVA has no meaning in the English language and is a distinctive term, which increases the likelihood of confusion.
The Complainant confirms that the Respondent is not affiliated with the Complainant and is not authorized to register and use the Complainant’s trademark AREVA or any domain name incorporating the trademark.
The Complainant contends that the Respondent is not known under the name AREVA or any similar term, nor did the Respondent take any preparatory steps to use the Disputed Domain Names in connection with a bona fide offering of goods and services, the fact that the Respondent had never claimed any prior or legitimate rights in the Disputed Domain Names, and that its failure to respond to the cease and desist letter or the Complaint support the Complainant’s position.
The Complainant contends that the use of the Disputed Domain Names to direct Internet users towards parking websites for the purpose of generating revenue via advertised pay-per-click links does not give rise to use in connection with a bona fide offering of goods and services.
The Complainant also contends that the Respondent could not have ignored the Complainant’s trademark when registering the Disputed Domain Names, as a simple web search with the key word AREVA would produce the first results that relate to the Complainant’s products and services. Moreover, the fact that the Respondent included the addition “-llc”, which is the corporate form used by the Complainant in the country where the Respondent is domiciled, suggests that the latter knew of the Complainant and that it registered the Disputed Domain Names in bad faith. The Complainat asserts that the in light of the notoriety of the trademark AREVA and the fact that the Disputed Domain Names make use of the famous trademark to attract Internet users to a website for commercial gain and in the absence of a license, no possible good faith use of the Disputed Domain Names could be found.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has demonstrated its rights in the trademark AREVA, as evidenced by the excerpts presented in the annexes to the Complaint as well as the United States trademark registration certificate. The Panel is also satisfied that the Complainant has established that AREVA is a well-known trademark.
The Disputed Domain Name contains the Complainant’s trademark AREVA in its entirety, with the added generic abbreviation “-llc”, which clearly is the abbreviation of the corporate form “limited liability company”. The Panel is of the view that the addition of the generic abbreviation “-llc” does not detract from the distinctiveness of the dominant part of the Disputed Domain Names, to the contrary, it might add to the confusion on part of the Internet users who would assume that the Disputed Domain Names are those of the Complainant or one of its affiliates. In numerous UDRP decisions, panels have found that the fact that a domain name incorporates a complainant’s registered mark in its entirety is sufficient to establish confusing similarity for the purpose of the first element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy. See Société des Participations du Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique v. David Morton, WIPO Case No. D2007-0679, and ACCOR v. Payam Avarane Khorshid Co. and Nextone Media Limited, WIPO Case No. DIR2010-0001.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant is required to make a prima facie case of lack of rights or legitimate interest in the Disputed Domain Names on part of the Respondent. The failure to submit a response by a respondent in some cases supports a finding of the lack of such rights, particularly in the absence of any license from the Complainant to use the Complainant’s trademark or incorporate it in a domain name. See Inter-IKEA Systems B.V. v. Evezon Co. Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2000-0437, F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG v. Global Communciations Link / Domains by Proxy, Inc. WIPO Case No. D2009-0640, and Nordstrom, Inc. and NIHC, Inc. v. Inkyu Kim, WIPO Case No. D2003-0269.
The Panel is convinced that the use of the Disputed Domain Names by the Respondent in the current manner does not qualify as a legitimate interest, since the Respondent is using the Disputed Domain Names to point to parking websites, which provide a click through service to websites, which offer competing products with those of the Complainant’s.
Various UDRP panels have held that such sites, providing click through sponsored links to other websites do not generally grant the registrant rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. See Societe National des Chemins de Fer francais v. ostrid company, Domains by Proxy, Inc. WIPO Case No. D2008-0627; Royal Bank of Canada v. Henry Chan, WIPO Case No.. D2003-0031 and The Knot, Inc. v. Ali Aziz, domain name <myknot.com>, WIPO Case No. D2007-1006 F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG v. Global Communciations Link / Domains by Proxy, Inc. WIPO Case No. D2009-0640.
Further, from the record before the Panel, the Respondent does not appear to be commonly known by the Disputed Domain Names, not to have a licence to use de Complainant’s trademark. The Respondent has not filed any evidence or arguments to rebut the Complainant’s contentions. Thus, the Panel finds that the Complainant has established the second element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
For the purposes of the Policy, bad faith may be determined by evaluating four factors, which are mentioned in the Policy on a non-exclusive basis (paragraph 4(b));
(i) circumstances indicating that the registrant has registered or acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of the registrant’s documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or
(ii) the registrant has 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 that the registrant has engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or
(iii) the registrant has registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or
(iv) by using the domain name, the registrant has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to the registrant’s website or other online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the registrant’s website or location or of a product or service on the registrant’s website or location.
As the Panel discussed under the first element, the Complainant has successfully demonstrated the worldwide reputation of the trademark AREVA, therefore it is unlikely that the Respondent was not aware of the proprietary rights of the Complainant in the trademark and subsequently in the Disputed Domain Names. Various UDRP panels ruled that the knowledge of the complainant’s proprietary rights in the trademark that is reflected in the disputed domain name at the time of registration supports a finding of bad faith registration. See Alstom v. Domain Investments LLC, WIPO Case No. D2008-0287.
Moreover, considering the facts of this case, the Panel is convinced that bad faith according to the fourth factor can be inferred; the fact that the Respondent is using the Disputed Domain Names to point to parking websites which include inter alia links to websites offering information about nuclear and renewable energy and other competing business of the Complainant’s supports the finding of knowledge on part of the Respondent of the good will of the Complainant. Therefore, the Panel believes that the Disputed Domain Names were registered to direct consumers to competing websites, for the purpose of commercial gain. See Check Into Cash, Inc. v. Rico Marquez, WIPO Case No. D2007-094; Edmunds.com, Inc. v. Ult. Search Inc., WIPO Case No. D2001-1319; Verisign, Inc. v. jumbo domains, WIPO Case No. D2006-1582; and F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG v. Global Communciations Link / Domains by Proxy, Inc. WIPO Case No. D2009-0640.
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 names <areva-llc.com> and <areva-llc.info> be cancelled.
Lana I. Habash
Dated: August 8, 2010