WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Société AIR FRANCE v. Sys Admin, System Admin
Case No. D2011-0606
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Société AIR FRANCE of Roissy CDG, France, represented by MEYER &Partenaires, France.
The Respondents are Sys Admin of Beaverton, Oregon, United States of America and System Admin of Newark, New Jersey and of New York, New York, United States of America (the “Respondent”).
2. The Domain Names and Registrar
The disputed domain names <airfrancedesember.info>, <airfranceentail.info>, <airfrancefocos.info>, and <airfrancesoaps.info> are registered with GoDaddy.com, Inc.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on April 5, 2011. On April 5, 2011, the Center transmitted by email to GoDaddy.com, Inc. a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain names. On April 6, 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.
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 April 8, 2011. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was April 28, 2011. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on April 29, 2011.
The Center appointed Ian Blackshaw as the sole panelist in this matter on May 4, 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 is the French flag carrier, headquartered in Roissy CDG (near Paris), and is one of the world’s largest airlines. It is a subsidiary of the Air France-KLM Group and a founding member of the SkyTeam global airline alliance. The Complainant serves 32 destinations in France and operates worldwide scheduled passenger and cargo services to 183 destinations in 98 countries. Its global hub is at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, with secondary hubs in Paris Orly, Lyon St-Exupéry, Nice Côte d’Azur.
Formed on October 7, 1933 from a merger of Air Orient, Air Union, Compagnie Générale Aéropostale, Compagnie Internationale de Navigation Aérienne (CIDNA), and Société Générale de Transport Aérien (SGTA), the Complainant acquired in 1990, the operations of the French domestic carrier Air Inter and international rival UTA - Union des Transports Aériens. Air France served as France's primary national flag carrier for seven decades prior to its 2003 merger with KLM.
Between April 2001 and March 2002, the Complainant carried 43.3 million passengers and had a total revenue of EUR 12.53 billion. In November 2004, the Complainant ranked as the largest European airline with 25.5% total market share, and was the largest airline in the world in terms of operating revenue.
The Complainant operates an international web portal at “www.airfrance.com”. It has also registered several generic and country code top-level domain names consisting of or incorporating the trademark AIR FRANCE.
See for example:
<airfranceflights.info>: registered on February 23, 2007.
<airfrancebooking.info>: registered on December 15, 2006.
<airfrancetickets.info>: registered on December 11, 2006.
<airfranceticket.info>: registered on December 5, 2006.
These domain names point to the Complainant’s web portal dedicated to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland at “www.airfrance.co.uk”.
5. Parties’ Contentions
A. The disputed domain names are identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights (Policy, paragraph 4(a)(i), Rules, paragraphs 3(b)(viii), (b)(ix)(1))
Société AIR FRANCE is the trade name of the Complainant, used in commerce since 1933.
The Complainant is the registered owner of a large number of trademarks consisting or including the wording AIR FRANCE in a great majority of countries in the world. The Complainant is, for instance, the registered owner of trademarks in the United States of America where the Respondent is located according to the whoIs database:
AIR FRANCE international semi-figurative trademark No. 414038 registered on March 21, 1975 in classes 12, 16, 21 and 39 of 1957 Nice Agreement;
AIR FRANCE Community nominative trademark No. 002528461 registered on January 9, 2002 in classes 6, 8, 9, 12, 14, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 24, 25, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45 of 1957 Nice Agreement; and
AIR FRANCE United States nominative trademark No. 0610072 registered on August 2, 1955, renewed on August 2, 1995 and 2005.
In any case, the Complainant’s trademark AIR FRANCE is well and widely known throughout the world and easily recognizable as such. Several Courts of Justice and UDRP panels have already recognized the well-known character of the trademark AIR FRANCE.
The Complainant has rights in the mark AIR FRANCE registered for numerous goods and services in multiple jurisdictions. The Complainant’s mark is not only registered and used in the course of trade in numerous countries,but is also recognized as a well-known mark. This was confirmed in several UDRP cases, which stated that the Complainant has used the mark AIR FRANCE extensively and that the mark has acquired considerable fame and recognition. See e.g., Société Air France v. Alvaro Collazo, WIPO Case No. D2004-0446; Société Air France v. Alvaro Collazo, WIPO Case No. D2003-0417; and Société Air France v. Kitchkulture, WIPO Case No. D2002-0158.
As a consequence, it should be indisputably considered that the trademark AIR FRANCE, owned by the Complainant, is not only registered and used in commerce in a great majority of countries in the world, but is well-known in the sense of article 6 bis of the Paris Union Convention.
In the present case, the Complainant claims that the disputed domain names are confusingly similar to its trademark AIR FRANCE.
First, the trademark AIR FRANCE is entirely reproduced in each of the disputed domain names. Previous decisions under the UDRP have also ruled that the absence of space or stresses in a disputed domain name added to the trademark basis has to be ignored in assessing the question of identity or confusing similarity. See for instance, British Airways Plc v. Cadmos LLC and Francis R Grenier, WIPO Case No. D2002-0612.
Second, the disputed domain names combine the Complainant’s famous trademark with the descriptive suffixes “focus”, “desember”, “soaps” and “entail”. In fact, the combination of the trademark AIR FRANCE with these words does not eliminate the risk of confusion with the Complainant’s famous trademark AIR FRANCE, which is the only distinctive element of the disputed domain names.
As decided in some previous UDRP cases, the mere addition of a generic or descriptive term to an otherwise distinctive or well-know trademark does not serve to distinguish the domain name from the trademark. See for instance, Nokia Corporation v. Kai Oeistaemoe, WIPO Case No. D2007-1738 regarding the domain name <nokia-corporate.com>: “The Complainant’s trademark NOKIA is incorporated, in its entirety, in the disputed domain name and is the dominant and distinctive part of the disputed domain name. The mere addition of the generic term “-corporate” is insufficient to avoid likely confusion. Therefore the Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark NOKIA.”
Société Air France v. Ahmetovnuri, Ahmet Nuri, WIPO Case No. D2006-1527 regarding the domain name <airfrancereservation.info>: “The second part ‘reservation’ of the Domain Name in dispute is a merely generic term with only descriptive character. The term indicates only that a reservation service might be available under this Domain Name. It is well established that the addition of a generic term may not serve alone to distinguish a domain name from a trademark (see Sanofi-Aventis and Aventis Pharma SA v. Advent Innovations, WIPO Case No. D2005-0377; Viacom International Inc. v. Frank F. Jackson and Nancy Miller, WIPO Case No. D2003-0755; and Société Air France v. R Blue, WIPO Case No. D2005-0290). The Panel sees no reason to deviate from the prevailing opinion.”
Société Air France v. Pawan S. Jain, Airtickets India (P) Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2008-0853 regarding <airtickets-airfrance.com>: “The addition of a generic term (‘airtickets’) to a widely known trademark to form a Domain Name does nothing, at least in this case, to reduce that Domain Name’s confusing similarity to the mark. See id. (<lastminute-air-france.com>). Because the Domain Name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark, the Panel concludes that the requirement of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy has been met.”
As a consequence, the Complainant claims that the disputed domain names are confusingly similar to its trademark AIR FRANCE.
B. The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain names (Policy, paragraph 4(a)(ii); Rules, paragraph 3(b)(ix)(2))
The Respondent should be considered as having no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain names.
The Respondent is not related in any way to the Complainant’s business: the Respondent is not one of the Complainant’s agents and does not carry out any activity for, or has any business with the Complainant.
The Respondent is not currently and has never been known under the wording “airfrancefocos”, “airfrancedesember”, “airfranceentail” or “airfrancesoaps”.
No license or authorization has been granted to the Respondent by the Complainant to make any use, nor apply for registration of the disputed domain names by the Complainant.
In similar circumstances, previous UDRP panels have decided that the respondent had neither rights nor legitimate interests in the domain name at issue: Guerlain S.A. v. Peikang, WIPO Case No. D2000-0055.
The Complainant claims that the disputed domain names have been registered by the Respondent in order to take advantage of the Complainant’s well-known trademark to confuse or divert Internet users through email Spam Campaigns. Such use is not a bona fide offering of goods or services under the Policy, paragraph 4(c)(i), or a noncommercial or fair use under the Policy, paragraph 4(c)(iii).
See for example, Capstone Mortgage Co. v. Joshua Shook or J. Shook, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2004-0395 regarding the domain name <capstonemortgage.info>: “This Panel agrees with those UDRP panels that have concluded that conducting commerce through the practice of spamming does not constitute a bona fide offering of goods and services for purposes of Paragraph 4(c)(i) of the Policy. NetCreations, Inc. v. Rob Martinson d/b/a Postmasterdirectmail.com, NAF Claim No. FA0208000118398; XO Communications Inc. v. XO Network Operations Center Inc., NAF Claim No.FA0303000150786. The practice of sending unsolicited bulk email advertisements with false header and contact information is now illegal under the laws of several countries, including the United States”.
As a matter of fact, the Respondent has not engaged in any action that shows that the Respondent has any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names.
It results, therefore, that the Respondent should not be considered as having any rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain names.
C. The disputed domain names were registered and are being used in bad faith (Policy, paragraphs 4(a)(iii), 4(b); Rules, paragraph 3(b)(ix)(3))
It is difficult to imagine that the Respondent could have been unaware of the well-known trademark AIR FRANCE at the time the Respondent applied for registration of the confusingly similar disputed domain names. The Complainant has previously demonstrated the strong reputation and the widely known character of its mark AIR FRANCE throughout the world for a long time.
In similar cases, UDRP panels already decided that the notoriety of the Complainant’s trademark “creates a prima facie presumption that the Respondent registered the domain name ‘for the purpose of selling it to Complainant or one of its competitors, or that it was intented to be used in some way to attract for commercial gain users to the website by creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainant’s mark.’” (Société Air France v. Alvaro Collazo, supra). See also Arthur Guinness Son & Co. (Dublin) Ltd v. Steel Vertigogo, WIPO Case No. D2001-0020 regarding the domain name <guinessbeer.com>. Relying on the <guinessbeer.com> case and the prima facie presumption, the Complainant claims that the Respondent could not but have been aware of the mark AIR FRANCE’s international reputation at the time the Respondent registered the disputed domain names.
The Respondent has registered the disputed domain names precisely because the Respondent knew the well-known character of the trademark AIR FRANCE, for the only purpose of generating commercial gain by intentionally taking advantage of the Complainant’s reputation and improving the impact of its Spam Campaign. Indeed, an email sent from a server named with a famous trademark has more chance to attract its recipient’s attention. The use of the disputed domain names in the present matter suggests to the recipients that the Complainant must be implied in any way in such sending.
The Complainant points out that tourism creates important traffic on the Internet. By registering the disputed domain names, the Respondent probably expected to take financial advantage of this paying business.
This combination of facts asserts the bad faith registration of the disputed domain names by the Respondent.
As to bad faith use, the Complainant contends that the Respondent’s operating of the disputed domain names constitutes bad faith use. Indeed, the Respondent holds these domain names passively. The Complainant recognizes that “passive holding” is not intrinsically offensive. However, the Complainant claims that the circumstances surrounding the Respondent’s use of the disputed domain names shows bad faith.
First, as shown above, it is difficult to imagine that the Respondent could have been unaware of the well-known trademark AIR FRANCE at the time the Respondent applied for registration of the confusingly similar disputed domain names. See for instance, LEGO JURIS A/S v. Wyntergreen.ca, WIPO Case No. D2010-2101 regarding the domain names <legodeal.com> and <legoiland.com>: “It has been established that the registration of a domain name incorporating a well-known trademark may in appropriate circumstances constitute registration in bad faith, since it is unlikely that the registrant was unaware of the established rights in the mark at the time the domain name was registered . . . Given the recognized notoriety of the LEGO and LEGOLAND trademarks, the Panel finds that it is implausible that Respondent was unaware of Complainant’s trademark rights when registering the disputed domain names <legodeal.com> and <legoiland.com>”.
Second, the Registrar’s WhoIs database displays an unequivocal message regarding the name servers of the four disputed domain names: Name Server: NS1.SUSPENDED-FOR.SPAM-AND-ABUSE.COM and Name Server: NS2.SUSPENDED-FOR.SPAM-AND-ABUSE.COM.
Indeed, the registrar Go Daddy.com Inc.’s Anti-Spam Policy considers that unsolicited commercial email or unsolicited bulk email is spam. Go Daddy,com Inc. denies to its users the right to use its name servers for purpose of sending spam. The infringement of this provision exposes a domain name registrant to have its names suspended.
The display of the message “SUSPENDED-FOR.SPAM-AND-ABUSE” shows that the disputed domain names have been used for such illegitimate purpose.
Moreover, the Complainant underlines the fact that such status may only be displayed after having the registrar GoDaddy.com Inc. informed about the abuse. This undoubtedly demonstrates that Internet users had to complain about spam sent from a server displaying the trademark AIR FRANCE. However, having the disputed domain names suspended by its registrar for spam abuse is obviously not a good faith “passive holding”.
See Banco Itaú S.A. v. Verlene L. Miller, WIPO Case No. D2005-0748 regarding the domain name <itaufacil.com>: “Furthermore, by reason of the confusion between the domain name in dispute and Complainant’s Trademark, both the objectionable practice of sending the unsolicited bulk mail while the website was active and the subsequent and current period during which the website associated with the domain name was inactive constitute bad faith activities.”
Further, the Complainant claims that the purpose of the Respondent was to benefit from the Complainant’s reputation in order to realize and/or increase its direct or indirect profit. Indeed, the purpose of spam is largely related, in one way or another, to financial benefit. According to M86 Security, provider of Secure Web Gateways and provider of Web and email content security, more than 90% of the unsolicited messages are related to fields of activities implying financial profit. See http://www.m86security.com/labs/spam_statistics.asp.
Considering that, it is obvious that the Respondent is intending to realize material benefits by diluting the fame and renown of the Complainant’s trademark AIR FRANCE.
Whatever, the Respondent’s argument which would consist of saying that activity of the disputed domain names was not controlled by it, but due to a spamming program or any other affiliation program is not admissible.
Indeed, it is now established that "even if such use commonly occurs on so-called ‘parking’ pages, Respondent has a responsibility for the content Respondent allows to be posted at the site” (Hewlett-Packard Company v. Alvaro Collazo, NAF Claim No. FA0302000144628). See also Société Air France v. Alvaro Collazo, supra.
The Respondent is obviously not making any legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain names because such use could mislead consumers by offering competing services, without having acquired any license or permission from the Complainant, which is the legitimate owner of the trademark AIR FRANCE.
The Complainant claims that this use of the disputed domain names has to be considered as unfair competition. As a consequence, the Respondent is undoubtedly not making any good faith use of the disputed domain names.
For all these reasons, the Respondent has engaged in bad faith registration and use of the disputed domain names.
The Respondent, having been duly notified of the Complaint and of these proceedings, did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions or take any part in these proceedings.
6. Discussion And Findings
To qualify for transfer of the disputed domain names, the Complainant must prove each of the following elements of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, namely:
(i) The disputed domain names are 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 names; and
(iii) The disputed domain names have been registered and are 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.
In accordance with paragraph 14(a) of the Rules, in the event that a party, in the absence of exceptional circumstances, does not comply with any of the time periods established by the Rules or the panel, the panel shall proceed to a decision on the complaint; and under paragraph 14(b) of the Rules, if a party, in the absence of exceptional circumstances, does not comply with any provision of, or requirement under, the Rules or any request from the panel, the panel shall draw such inferences as it considers appropriate.
In accordance with paragraph 10(d) of the Rules, the panel shall determine the admissibility, relevance, materiality and weight of the evidence.
In previous UDRP cases where the respondents failed to file a response, the panels’ decisions were based upon the complainants’ reasonable assertions and evidence, as well as inferences drawn from the respondents’ failure to reply. See The Vanguard Group, Inc. v. Lorna Kang, WIPO Case No. D2002-1064; and Köstritzer Schwarzbierbrauerei v. Macros-Telekom Corp., WIPO Case No. D2001-0936.
Nevertheless, a panel must not decide in the complainant’s favor solely based on the respondent’s default. See Cortefiel, S.A. v. Miguel García Quintas, WIPO Case No. D2000-0140. In this case, the Panel must decide whether the Complainant has introduced elements of proof, which allow the Panel to conclude that its allegations are true.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
It is well established in previous UDRP cases that, where a disputed domain name incorporates a complainant’s registered trademark, this may be sufficient to establish that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar for the purposes of the Policy. See Magnum Piering, Inc. v. The Mudjackers and Garwood S. Wilson, Sr., WIPO Case No. D2000-1525.
In the present case, the disputed domain names incorporate what the Panel finds to be the Complainant’s well-known registered trademark AIR FRANCE. This, in the view of the Panel, is bound to lead to confusion on the part of consumers and Internet users seeking information on the Complainant’s company and its products and services marketed under its well-known registered trademark AIR FRANCE.
The Panel agrees with the Complainant’s contention that the addition of the words “desember”, “entail”, “focos” and “soaps” to the AIR FRANCE trademark as part of the disputed domain names is, in each case, descriptive, and does not, therefore, serve as a distinguishing feature, for trademark purposes. The quintessential part and distinguishing feature of the disputed domain names is the Complainant’s well-known registered trademark AIR FRANCE. See Harrods Limited v. Simon Harkin Travel, WIPO Case No. D2004-0546 in which the panel held that:
“Although the [d]omain [n]ame consists of the word ‘harrods’ and the word ‘ravel,’ it is well settled that a domain name suffix, such as the word ‘travel’ in the present case, is merely descriptive and does not add any distinctiveness to the word ‘harrods,’ which is the quintessential and distinctive part of the [d]omain [n]ame. See Harrods Limited v. Vineet Singh, WIPO Case No. D2001-1162, where the [p]anel held that ‘… any use of the name Harrods in conjunction with a description… would suggest a false sense of origin…for any associated goods or services.’ See also Harrods Limited v. Brad Shaw, WIPO Case No. D2004-0411, where the [p]anel held that ‘The [d]omain [n]ame consists of the word HARRODS plus a hyphen and the generic term ’poker’. The latter is not a distinguishing feature and does not lessen the likelihood of confusion with the trademark”.
Also, the addition of the top level domain “.info” to the disputed domain names does not constitute an element in the disputed domain names so as to avoid confusing similarity, but, in each case, is purely there for domain name registration purposes. See The Coca-Cola Company v. David Jurkiewicz, WIPO Case No. DME2010-0008; Telecom Personal, S.A., v. NAMEZERO.COM, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2001-0015; F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG v. Macalve e-dominios S.A., WIPO Case No. D2006-0451; and Telstra Corporation Limited v. Nuclear Marshmallows, WIPO Case No. D2000-0003. See also Aktiebolaget Electrolux v. Jose Manuel, WIPO Case No. D2010-2031.
In view of the above, the Panel finds that the disputed domain names are confusingly similar to the Complainant’s well-known registered trademark AIR FRANCE, in which the Complainant has demonstrated, to the satisfaction of the Panel, that it has rights in the trademark, and has used the same commercially for many years, especially in the United States, where the Respondent is located. The first element of the Policy, therefore, has been met.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
In order to determine whether the Respondent has any rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain names (paragraph 4(c) of the Policy), attention must be paid to any of the following circumstances in particular but without limitation:
- whether there is any evidence of the Respondent’s use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the disputed domain names or a name corresponding to the disputed domain names in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services before any notice to the Respondent of the dispute;
- whether the Respondent (as individuals, business, or other organization) has been commonly known by the disputed domain names, even if the Respondent has acquired no trademark or service mark rights;
- whether the Respondent is making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain names, without intent for commercial gain misleadingly to divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue.
There is no evidence before the Panel to show that the Respondent was acting in pursuance of any rights or legitimate interests with respect to registering the disputed domain names. On the contrary, if the Respondent had any such rights or legitimate interests, the Respondent would have reasonably been expected to assert them, which the Respondent clearly has not done, by not replying to the Complaint. See Belupo d.d. v. WACHEM d.o.o., WIPO Case No. D2004-0110.
Nor is there any evidence before the Panel that the Respondent has been authorized or licensed by the Complainant to use the Complainant’s trademark AIR FRANCE. In fact, in the view of the Panel, the adoption by the Respondent of the disputed domain names that are confusingly similar to the Complainant’s well-known registered trademark AIR FRANCE inevitably leads to confusion on the part of Internet users and consumers seeking information about the Complainant and its products and services (see further on this point below). Further, the Respondent may be consequently tarnishing the Complainant’s well-known and, therefore, valuable trademark AIR FRANCE, and also the attempt to usurp valuable goodwill that the Complainant has established in this trademark through advertising and commercial use of the same over several years, is sufficient evidence of which has been provided to the Panel, without any rights or legal justification for doing so.
The Panel finds no evidence that the Respondent has used, or undertaken any demonstrable preparations to use the disputed domain names in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. In fact, the Respondent is using the disputed domain names for commercial gain to divert consumers misleadingly to its websites at the disputed domain names and is deriving some benefit from such use, which can hardly be described as bona fide.
Likewise, no evidence has been adduced that the Respondent has commonly been known by the disputed domain names; nor, for the reasons mentioned above, is the Respondent making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain names.
Therefore, for all the above reasons, the Panel concludes that the Respondent has neither rights nor legitimate interests in the disputed domain names.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Regarding the bad faith requirement, paragraph 4(b) of the Policy lists four examples of acts, which prima facie constitute evidence of bad faith. This list is not exhaustive, but merely illustrative. See Nova Banka v. Iris, WIPO Case No. D2003-0366.
Paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy is particularly relevant to the present case and provides that there is evidence of bad faith in the following circumstances:
“(iv) by using the domain name, [the respondent has] intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to [its] 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 [the respondent’s] web site or location or of a product or service on [its] web site or location.”
Based on the record, the Panel considers that the Respondent, by registering the disputed domain names, is trading unfairly on the Complainant’s valuable goodwill established in its well-known registered trademark AIR FRANCE, of which the Respondent, in the opinion of the Panel, must have been aware at the time of registering the disputed domain names.
Again, by registering and using the disputed domain names incorporating the well-known registered trademark AIR FRANCE, the effect is to mislead Internet users and consumers into thinking that the Respondent is, in some way or another, connected to, sponsored by or affiliated with the Complainant and its business; or that the Respondent’s activities are approved or endorsed by the Complainant. None of which, on the basis of the record, is, in fact, the situation. Such misleading consequences, in the view of the Panel, are indicative of bad faith on the part of the Respondent. See Columbia Insurance Company v. Pampered Gourmet, WIPO Case No. D2004-0649.
Furthermore, see also Microsoft Corporation v. J. Holiday Co., WIPO Case No. D2000-1493, in which it was stated that, “consumers expect to find a company on the Internet at a domain name address comprised of the company’s name or trademark”. As this is not, in fact, the situation in the present case, the use by the Respondent of the disputed domain names is confusing and misleading and, in the view of the Panel, is yet a further indication that the disputed domain names were registered and are being used in bad faith by the Respondent.
Finally, the failure of the Respondent to answer the Complaint or take any part in the present proceedings, again, in the view of the Panel, is another indication of bad faith on the part of the Respondent. See BayerischeMotorenWerke AG v. (This Domain is For Sale) Joshuathan Investments, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2002-0787.
Therefore, taking all these particular facts and circumstances into account and for all the above mentioned reasons, as well as those advanced by the Complainant in its contentions set out above and supported by previous WIPO UDRP cases cited by the Complainant, the Panel concludes that the Respondent has registered and is using the disputed domain names in bad faith.
For the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the disputed domain names <airfrancedesember.info>, <airfranceentail.info>, <airfrancefocos.info>, and <airfrancesoaps.info> be transferred to the Complainant.
Dated: May 9, 2011