World Intellectual Property Organization

WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Guccio Gucci S.p.A. v. Domain Administrato - Domain Administrator

Case No. D2010-1589

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Guccio Gucci S.p.A. of Florence, Italy represented by Studio Barbero of Italy.

The Respondent is Domain Administrato - Domain Administrator of New York, United States of America.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <guccicollection.com> is registered with HiChina Zhicheng Technology Ltd.

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (“the Center”) on September 21, 2010. On September 21, 2010, the Center transmitted by email to HiChina Zhicheng Technology Ltd. a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On September 25, 2010, HiChina Zhicheng Technology Ltd. transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the Respondent’s contact details.

On September 28, 2010, the Center transmitted an email to the parties in both Chinese and English languages regarding the language of the proceeding. On September 29, 2010, the Complainant submitted a request that English be the language of the proceeding. The Respondent did not comment on the language of the proceeding by the due date.

The Center has verified that the Complaint satisfies 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 proceeding commenced on October 5, 2010. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for the Response was October 25, 2010. The Respondent did not submit any Response. Accordingly, the Center notified the parties of the Respondent’s default on October 26, 2010.

The Center appointed Sebastian Hughes as the sole panelist in this matter on November 1, 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

A. Complainant

The Complainant is a publicly listed Italian company and the owner of numerous registrations worldwide for the trade mark GUCCI (“the Trade Mark”). The Complainant and its related companies are also the owners of over 400 domain names comprising the Trade Mark, including <gucci.com>, <gucci-group.com>, <gucci.info> and <gucci.biz>.

B. Respondent

It is unclear whether the Respondent is an individual or a corporation and the residential status of the Respondent is also unclear to the Panel.

The disputed domain name was registered on March 8, 2009.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant submitted as follows.

The Complainant first commenced used of the Trade Mark in Florence, Italy in 1921. The Trade Mark is one of the most well-known high fashion footwear and leather goods brands in the world. The Complainant has spent considerable amounts of time and money promoting the Trade Mark worldwide. The Trade Mark was ranked 41st in the 2009 Interbrand ranking of well-known global trade marks and was ranked 44th in 2010.

The disputed domain name incorporates the Trade Mark in its entirety. The addition of the word “collection” does not affect the disputed domain name’s confusingly similarity with the Trade Mark.

The website to which the disputed domain name is resolved (“the Website”) offers for sale counterfeit Gucci products and features the Trade Mark as well as the Complainant’s logo trade marks.

The Respondent is not a licensee or authorised agent of the Complainant and is not authorised to use the Trade Mark in any way.

There is no evidence the Respondent is making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name.

The Respondent has registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith by trying to intentionally attract users, for commercial gain, to the Website, by creating confusion with the Trade Mark. The Respondent’s failure to respond to the Complainant’s letters of demand, the transfer of the registration for the disputed domain name from Dotster, Inc. to HiChina Zhicheng Technology Ltd. some days before the Complaint was filed, and the Respondent’s failure to provide proper contact details all amount to further evidence of bad faith.

B. Respondent

The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

A. Language of the Proceeding

The language of the registration agreement for the disputed domain name is Chinese. Pursuant to Rules, paragraph 11, in the absence of an agreement between the parties, or unless specified otherwise in the registration agreement, the language of the administrative proceeding shall be the language of the registration agreement. From the evidence presented in the record, no agreement appears to have been entered into between the Complainant and the Respondent to the effect that the language of the proceeding should be English.

Paragraph 11(a) allows the Panel to determine the language of the proceeding having regard to all the circumstances. In particular, it is established practice to take paragraphs 10(b) and (c) of the Rules into consideration for the purpose of determining the language of the proceeding. In other words, it is important to ensure fairness to the parties and the maintenance of an inexpensive and expeditious avenue for resolving domain name disputes. Language requirements should not lead to undue burdens being placed on the parties and undue delay to the proceeding (Whirlpool Corporation, Whirlpool Properties, Inc. v. Hui’erpu (HK) electrical appliance co. ltd., WIPO Case No. D2008-0293; Solvay S.A. v. Hyun-Jun Shin, WIPO Case No. D2006-0593).

The Complainant has requested that English be the language of the proceeding for the following reasons:

(1) The Complainant communicates in English and would be prejudiced should it be required to translate the Complaint and participate in the proceeding in Chinese;

(2) Requiring the Complainant to translate the Complaint and exhibits into Chinese would cause unnecessary delay and involve significant costs;

(3) The Respondent has demonstrated that he or she understands English since the disputed domain name is resolved to the Website, which is published entirely in English. It would therefore be impossible for the Respondent to conduct the activities promoted on the Website without an adequate command of English;

(4) The disputed domain name was initially registered with the American registrar Dotster, Inc. before subsequently being transferred to HiChina Zhicheng Technology Ltd.

The Respondent did not make any submissions with respect to the language of the proceeding and did not object to the use of English as the language of the proceeding.

In exercising its discretion to use a language other than that of the registration agreement, the Panel has to exercise such discretion judicially in the spirit of fairness and justice to both parties, taking into account all relevant circumstances of the case, including matters such as the parties’ ability to understand and use the proposed language, time and costs (Groupe Auchan v. xmxzl, WIPO Case No. DCC2006-0004; Finter Bank Zurich v. Shumin Peng, supra).

The Panel finds that evidence has been adduced by the Complainant to suggest the likely possibility that the Respondent is conversant and proficient in the English language (Finter Bank Zurich v. Shumin Peng, WIPO Case No. D2006-0432).

In view of the above, it is not foreseeable that the Respondent will be prejudiced, should English be adopted as the language of the proceeding.

Having considered all the matters above, the Panel determines under paragraph 11(a) that English shall be the language of the proceeding.

B. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Panel finds that the Complainant has rights in the Trade Mark acquired through use and registration which predate by many decades the date of registration of the disputed domain name.

UDRP panels have consistently held that domain names are identical or confusingly similar to a trade mark for purposes of the Policy “when the domain name includes the trade mark, or a confusingly similar approximation, regardless of the other terms in the domain name” (Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Richard MacLeod d/b/a For Sale, WIPO Case No. D2000-0662).

It is also established that the addition of generic terms to a disputed domain name has little, if any, effect on a determination of confusing similarity between the domain name and the mark (Quixtar Investments, Inc. v. Dennis Hoffman, WIPO Case No. D2000-0253); furthermore, mere addition of a generic or descriptive term does generally not exclude the likelihood of confusion (PRL USA Holdings, Inc. v. Spiral Matrix, WIPO Case No. D2006-0189).

In the present case, the addition of the generic word “collection”, which is a common and non-distinctive word used in the fashion retail industry, does not serve to distinguish the disputed domain name from the Trade Mark in any way.

The Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Trade Mark.

The Panel therefore holds that the Complaint fulfills the first condition of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.

C. Rights or Legitimate Interests

Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy provides a list of circumstances any of which is sufficient to demonstrate that the Respondent has rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name:

(i) before any notice to you of the dispute, your use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the domain name or a name corresponding to the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; or

(ii) you (as an individual, business, or other organisation) have been commonly known by the domain name even if you have acquired no trade mark or service mark rights; or

(iii) you are making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trade mark or service mark at issue.

There is no evidence that the Complainant has authorised, licensed, or permitted the Respondent to register or use the disputed domain name or to use the Trade Mark. The Complainant has prior rights in the Trade Mark which precede the Respondent’s registration of the disputed domain name by many years. There is therefore a prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, and the burden is thus on the Respondent to produce evidence to rebut this presumption (Do The Hustle, LLC v.Tropic Web, WIPO Case No. D2000-0624; Croatia Airlines d.d. v. Modern Empire Internet Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2003-0455).

The Complainant has asserted that the Website is used by the Respondent to market counterfeit goods. There can be no legitimate interest in the sale of counterfeits (Lilly ICOS LLC v. Dan Eccles, WIPO Case No. D2004-0750).

The Respondent has failed to show that it has acquired any trade mark rights in respect of the disputed domain name or that the disputed domain name is used in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services.

There has been no evidence adduced to show that the Respondent has been commonly known by the disputed domain name.

There has been no evidence adduced to show that the Respondent is making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name.

The Panel finds that the Respondent has failed to produce any evidence to establish rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Panel therefore finds that the Complaint fulfills the second condition of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.

D. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

Pursuant to paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy, the following conduct amounts to registration and use in bad faith on the part of the Respondent:

“By using the domain name, you have intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to your website 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 your website or location or of a product or service on your website or location.”

The Complainant has submitted compelling evidence to suggest that the disputed domain name is being used to offer for sale counterfeit Gucci products via the Website. This is strong evidence of bad faith (Prada S.A. v. Domains for Life, WIPO Case No. D2004-1019).

The Panel therefore finds the requisite element of bad faith has been satisfied, under paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.

The Panel also considers the failure of the Respondent to respond to the Complainant’s letters of demand and failure to file a Response to the Complaint further support an inference of bad faith (Bayerische Motoren Werke AG v. (This Domain is For Sale) Joshuathan Investments, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2002-0787).

The Panel finds the initial failure of the Respondent to provide full and proper contact details amounts to further evidence of bad faith.

For all the foregoing reasons, the Panel concludes that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith. Accordingly the third condition of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy has been fulfilled.

7. Decision

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 <guccicollection.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Sebastian Hughes
Sole Panelist
Dated: November 3, 2010

 

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