World Intellectual Property Organization

WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Rigoni di Asiago SpA v. Acolyte Technologies Corporation

Case No. D2011-0395

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Rigoni di Asiago SpA of Asiago, Italy, represented by Mod Law PLLC, United States of America.

The Respondent is Acolyte Technologies Corporation of Middlebury, Connecticut, United States of America.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <fiordifruttausa.com> is registered with eNom.

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on March 1, 2011. On March 2, 2011, the Center transmitted by email to eNom a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On March 2, 2011, eNom. transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact for the disputed domain name.

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 March 9, 2011. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was March 29, 2011. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on March 31, 2011.

The Center appointed Miguel B. O'Farrell as the sole panelist in this matter on April 11, 2011. 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 Rigoni di Asiago SpA is an Italian leading manufacturer of specialty organic foods among which it manufactures organic jam and related products sold in Italy and in other countries outside Europe, including the United States of America, under the trademark FIORDIFRUTTA.

The Complainant owns the following trademark registrations for FIORDIFRUTTA for jams: (i) Italian Registration Nos. 0001041405 and 0000801762 of the trademark FIORDIFRUTTA; and (ii) International Registration No. 921472 of the trademark FIORDIFRUTTA; and (iii) United States Registration No. 3,701,776 of the trademark FIORDIFRUTTA.

The Respondent registered the disputed domain name <fiordifruttausa.com> on January 10, 2007.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant contends that it is an Italian leading manufacturer of specialty organic jam and related products, sold in Italy and in other countries outside Europe, including the United States of America, under the trademark FIORDIFRUTTA.

Moreover, the Complainant contends that it began doing business in the 1930s, as a family business, producing and marketing honey and jams in Altopiano di Asiago, Italy. In 1996, the Complainant created the trademark FIORDIFRUTTA, which is a combination of the names of two of the Complainant’s products (FIORFIORE and FRUTTAMIELE), and began marketing and selling organic jam in Italy, throughout Europe, and in the United States using the trademark FIORDIFRUTTA.

In that connection, the Complainant contends that long prior to the time the Respondent registered the disputed domain name, the Complainant has continuously marketed and sold its organic jam products under its trademark FIORDIFRUTTA throughout the United States, on its own and through its three subsidiary distributors: Apicoltura Rigoni USA, Inc., Rigoni USA, Inc. and Rigoni di Asiago USA LLC.

Furthermore, the Complainant contends that is has spent considerable amounts of money in the advertising and promotion of its FIORDIFRUTTA products. To that extend, the Complainant states that since 1996, worldwide total sales of FIORDIFRUTTA products has exceeded two hundred million United States Dollars.

The Complainant also contends that it owns trademark registrations for FIORDIFRUTTA. Particularly, it contends that it owns: Italian registrations Nos. 0001041405 and 0000801762, granted on 2007 and 2000, respectively; International registration No. 921472, granted on March 5, 2007; and United Stated registration No. 3,701,776, granted on October 27, 2009. In that connection, it contends that the disputed domain name <fiordifruttausa.com> is confusingly similar to a trademark in which the Complainant has rights, with the mere addition of the geographical term “usa”.

Furthermore, the Complainant contends that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name and that the Complainant has not licensed or given any authorization to the Respondent to use the trademark FIORDIFRUTTA and that the use of the disputed domain name erroneously leads internet users to believe that it is somehow associated with, endorsed by, or sponsored by Complainant.

Additionally, the Complainant contends that the Respondent is not commonly known as or identified by “fiordifruttausa”, nor does it have any rights in it. Moreover, it also contends that the Respondent is neither an authorized dealer nor a distributor for FIORDIFRUTTA products. In that connection, the Complainant contends that the homepage of the website to which the disputed domain name <fiordifruttausa.com> resolves, is currently inactive and provides a blank landing page with no content. However, it contends that inner website pages, at the disputed domain name, are making an unauthorized and infringing use of the Complainant’s trademark FIORDIFRUTTA in connection with the marketing and sales of counterfeit jam, as well as in respect to other trademarks of the Complainant.

Furthermore, the Complainant contends that the Respondent is not making a legitimate noncommercial use of the disputed domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark of the Complainant.

The Complainant also contends that the Respondent has registered the disputed domain name in bad faith as it was or should have been aware of the Complainant and its trademark FIORDIFRUTTA at the time of registering the disputed domain name <fiordifruttausa.com>.

In that connection, the Complainant contends that the Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website and other online locations, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s trademark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the Respondent’s website.

In light of the foregoing, the Complainant requests that the dispute domain name <fiordifruttausa.com> be transferred to it.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

For the Complainant to succeed in a UDRP proceeding, under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainant must prove that:

(i) The disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and

(ii) The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and

(iii) The disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

In accordance with paragraph 15(a) of the Rules, the Panel shall decide the Complaint on the basis of the statements and documents submitted and in accordance with the Policy, the Rules, and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Complainant owns trademark registrations for FIORDIFRUTTA.

The disputed domain name <fiordifruttausa.com> incorporates the trademark FIORDIFRUTTA in its entirety. The mere addition of the geographical term “usa” to the disputed domain name is not sufficient to avoid the likelihood of confusion.

In view of the foregoing, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name <fiordifruttausa.com> is confusingly similar to a trademark in which the Complainant has rights, and therefore, the Complainant has succeeded on this first element under the Policy.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

According to paragraph 4(a)(ii), the second element that the Complainant must prove is that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name. The Policy in its paragraph 4(c) sets out various ways in which a respondent may demonstrate rights or legitimate interests in a domain name.

Although the Policy states that the complainant must prove each of the elements in paragraph 4(a), it is often observed that it is difficult for a complainant to prove a negative, i.e., that a respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of a domain name. It has therefore become generally accepted under the Policy that, once a complainant has presented a clear prima facie showing of a respondent's lack of rights or legitimate interests in a domain name, the burden of submitting evidence therefore shifts to the respondent. The respondent must then by concrete evidence demonstrate its rights or legitimate interests in the domain name in order to refute the prima facie case.

The Panel finds that the Complainant has made a prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name and so the burden of proof has effectively been shifted to the Respondent, who did not reply to the Complainant's contentions and, therefore, has not made such showing.

There is no evidence that the Respondent is commonly known as or identified by “fiordifruttausa” or that it has any right in it. Furthermore, there is no evidence showing that the Respondent operates a business or any other organization under the disputed domain name.

Moreover, the Complainant has contended that the website to which the disputed domain name resolves contains inner pages which are making an unauthorized and infringing use of the Complainant’s trademark FIORDIFRUTTA in connection with the marketing and sales of counterfeit jam. The Respondent has failed to contest the Complainant’s statements.

For these reasons, and in the absence of a plausible explanation from the Respondent, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

According to paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy, the third element that a complainant must prove is that the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

The Policy in paragraph 4(b) sets out various circumstances, which may be treated by the Panel as evidence of the registration and use of a domain name in bad faith.

The Complainant has identified itself as an Italian leading manufacturer of specialty organic jams, doing business worldwide, including the United States.

Moreover, the Complainant has filed relevant evidence to the Panel’s satisfaction showing that it owns trademark registrations for FIORDIFRUTTA. Particularly, the Complainant owns Italian registrations Nos. 0001041405 and 0000801762, filed on December 26, 2006 and granted on March 5, 2007 and filed on March 3, 1997 and granted on January 24, 2000, respectively; International registration No. 921472, granted on March 5, 2007; and United Stated registration No. 3,701,776, granted on October 27, 2009.

In view of the foregoing, and in the absence of a rebuttal from the Respondent, the Panel finds that the Respondent was aware or must have been aware of the trademark FIORDIFRUTTA before registering the disputed domain name <fiordifruttausa.com>, which evidences bad faith registration.

Moreover, as stated by the Complainant, and on the basis of the printouts of the website to which the disputed domain name resolves, and in the absence of a rebuttal by the Respondent, the Panel finds that by using the disputed domain name the Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website or other on-line locations, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant's trademark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement.

For these reasons, the Panel finds that the Respondent both registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith and that the Complainant has therefore made out the third element of its case.

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, <fiordifruttausa.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Miguel B. O'Farrell
Sole Panelist
Dated: April 19, 2011

 

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