WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Giorgio Armani S.p.A., Swiss Branch Mendrisio v. Ms Ouzer/ Easypedal Ltd
Case No. D2011-0513
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Giorgio Armani S.p.A.,Swiss Branch Mendrisio of Italy and Switzerland respectively, represented by Studio Rapisardi S.A., Switzerland.
The Respondent is Ms Ouzer/ Easypedal Ltd. of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <armanisamsung.com> is registered with GoDaddy.com, Inc.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on March 21, 2011. On March 21, 2011, the Center transmitted by email to GoDaddy.com, Inc. a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On March 22, 2011, 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 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 25, 2011. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was April 14, 2011. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on April 15, 2011. Because of a communication problem the Center extended the time limit for Respondent’s reply by five days to April 20, 2011. However, the Respondent did not submit any reply or Response.
The Center appointed Gunnar Karnell as the sole panelist in this matter on April 29, 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
According to the publicly available Whois information, the disputed domain name <armanisamsung.com> was registered on September 24, 2007.
The Complainant bases its Complaint on the following trademarks: ARMANI, GIORGIO ARMANI, ARMANI JEANS, ARMANI EXCHANGE, ARMANI CASA and EMPORIO ARMANI. They are registered for a wide variety of products and services throughout the world in 163 countries, including the United Kingdom, where ARMANI marks have been used in commerce since at least 1978 and where the Complainant owns a substantial number of registrations for ARMANI marks predating the registration of the disputed domain name.
The Complainant also owns more than 900 domain names. Of those, 28 include or consist of the marks ARMANI and SAMSUNG, such as <giorgioarmanisamsungmobile.com>, < armanisamsungmobile.com>, <armanisamsungphone.com>, < emporioarmanisamsungphone.com>, <giorgioarmanisamsungphone.com> and <emporioarmanisamsungmobile.com>. Those mentioned have been specifically directed to promote and advertise the Complainant’s mobiles and home consumer electronic products.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant has requested that the disputed domain name <armanisamsung.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Complainant’s ARMANI trademarks are among the most famous trademarks in use in the United Kingdom and they are well-known all over the world. On September 23, 2007, the Giorgio Armani group and Samsung Electronics entered a strategic alliance for the development of consumer electronic products combining Armani’s design æsthetic and Samsung’s technology and function. Products were made available to the public in selected stores from November 2007 onwards, after advertising campaigns.
The disputed domain name incorporates entirely the Complainant’s trademark ARMANI and it is identical or confusingly similar to domain names owned by the Complainant. The samsung-element in the disputed domain name is likely to enhance the confusion, leading customers to believe that the disputed domain name is, in effect, linked to, affiliated with or connected to the Complainant, suggesting a lead to one of the Complainant’s official sites and in particular to the website dedicated to products distinguished by the Armani and Samsung signs.
The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name, not being commonly known by it, neither having any connection or affiliation with the Complainant nor having received any license or consent for use of the ARMANI trademarks and not having any rights or legitimate interests in the domain name or any name corresponding thereto. The disputed domain name is linked to a website where “Easypedal Online Store” offers and supplies electronically assisted pedal cycles and announces its intention to sell also helmets.
The Respondent has registered the disputed domain name in bad faith, well aware of the ARMANI marks at the registration, which took place the very day after the official publication of the Armani-Samsung strategic alliance. The Respondent’s choice of its disputed domain name did not result from mere coincidence. By means of the website to which the disputed domain name is linked, “Easypedal Online Store” offers and supplies products such that, by registering and using the disputed domain name, the Respondent intentionally aimed at exploiting the reputation of the Complainant’s marks in seeking profit from the Complainant’s trade marks in attempts to attract Internet users to the website on which electronic bikes, etc. are sold. In reply to a cease-and-desist letter of June 4, 2009, sent by the Complainant to the Respondent, the latter replied, asking for GBP 10.000 for the transfer of the disputed domain name. This proves that the Respondent’s domain name registration was primarily for the purpose of selling it to the Complainant or to one of its competitors for valuable consideration in excess of the Respondent’s out-of-pocket costs related to the disputed domain name.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
The factual foundation of the Complainant’s contentions, as presented in great detail by the Complainant, while supporting its non contradicted claim by written evidence and reference to earlier UDRP case decisions, leads the Panel to the following conclusions.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The ARMANI trademark, here in issue alone and adduced in various combinations in trademarks such as have been mentioned here above under Section 4. as foundation for the Complainant’s claim, has been proven by ample written documentation to have become known world-wide, and not least to be well-known also in the United Kingdom, at the time of the Respondent’s registration of the disputed domain name.
Confusing similarity between the disputed domain name and the distinctive ARMANI trademark is ascertained already by the fact that even a cursory look at the domain name will lead to the conclusion that the disputed domain name, containing the entirety of the Complainant’s trademark, refers to the Complainant and its trademark, a conclusion that is not attenuated by the Samsung part of the disputed domain name.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant has established a prima facie case of lack of any Respondent’s rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name and there has been no rebuttal by the Respondent. Nothing in the case file gives reason to believe that the Respondent has or has had any rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Absent any indication in the case file of elements that might tell against giving credence to the Complainant’s assertions regarding facts leading up to its conclusions that the disputed domain name <armanisamsung.com> has been registered and used in bad faith, the Panel confirms that the conditions for transfer of the disputed domain name to the Complainant are satisfied.
For the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the domain name <armanisamsung.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Dated: May 12, 2011