WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
AIDA Cruises - German Branch of Costa Crociere S.p.A. v. IConnect
Case No. D2011-1876
1. The Parties
The Complainant is AIDA Cruises - German Branch of Costa Crociere S.p.A. of Rostock, Germany, represented by Selting und Baldermann, Germany.
The Respondent is IConnect Media Ltd., of Belize, Belize.
2. The Domain Name(s) and Registrar(s)
The disputed domain name <aida-luna.info> is registered with GoDaddy.com, Inc.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on October 31, 2011. On October 31, 2011, the Center transmitted by email to GoDaddy.com, Inc. a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On November 1, 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 November 14, 2011. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was December 4, 2011. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on December 5, 2011.
The Center appointed Gabriel F. Leonardos as the sole panelist in this matter on December 12, 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
Complainant uses the trademarks AIDA and AIDALUNA in the tourism industry and owns registrations covering goods and services in several classes, including travel-related services, such as German Registration No. 397 01 328 for trademark AIDA, filed on January 15, 1997 and issued on March 17, 1998, as well as CTM Registration No. 006059737 for trademark AIDALUNA, filed on June 25, 2007 and issued on May 29, 2008.
The AIDA trademark is in use as a service mark of Complainant and identifies several cruise ships operated by Complainant. One of the cruise ships operated by Complainant is called AIDALUNA.
The creation date of the disputed domain name appears from the registrar’s verification and the public WhoIs to be February 16, 2011.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant argues that the disputed domain name is identical to the trademark AIDALUNA owned by Complainant; that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
To succeed, Complainant must demonstrate that all of the elements listed in paragraph 4(a) of the Policy have been satisfied:
(i) the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights; and
(ii) 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.
The burden of proving these elements is on Complainant.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
To prove this element, the Complainant must have rights in a trademark or service mark, and the disputed domain name must be identical or confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark or service mark.
The Complainant uses and has registered the trademark AIDALUNA, as mentioned in paragraph 4 above. The Panel is therefore satisfied that the Complainant has registered trademark rights in AIDALUNA.
The Respondent has used Complainant’s trademark in its entirety and the only slight difference is the inclusion of a hyphen separating the two words. A hyphen does not create any distinction between Complainant’s trademark and the disputed domain name, and the latter is clearly confusingly similar to the trademark.
The Panel therefore finds that, in the circumstances of this case, the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s AIDAluna trademark. Consequently, the Panel finds that the requirement of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy is satisfied.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The disputed domain name was registered after Complainant started to use and registered the trademark AIDAluna. Therefore, the prior rights over such trademark are clearly on Complainant’s side.
In addition, Respondent does not run any legitimate business activity in connection with the disputed domain name.
Accordingly, Complainant established a prima facie case that Respondent does not have legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Since Respondent has not replied to the Complaint and, thus, has not presented any other evidence or elements to justify any rights or legitimate interest in connection with the disputed domain name, the Panel has found no indication that any of the circumstances described in Paragraph 4(c)(i)-(iii) of the Policy could apply to the present matter.
Therefore, given the circumstances described above, the Panel finds that Respondent has no right or legitimate interest in respect to the domain name (Policy, paragraph 4(a)(ii)).
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Complainant submitted that Respondent was aware of the existence of the trademark AIDALUNA and therefore was registered in bad faith.
The fact that the Complainant has a wide client basis for the tourism services it sells under the AIDALUNA brand is an indication that Respondent indeed could not fail to have prior knowledge of Complainant’s trademark.
Respondent runs under the disputed domain name a “pay-perclick” (PPC) web Page with advertisements of tourism services. It is well settled in UDRP cases that the use of a trademark to offer competing goods or services in a PPC page is an use in bad faith. Among others, the Panel quotes from Asian World of Martial Arts Inc. v. Texas International Property Associates, WIPO Case No. D2007-1415: “In this case because both of the Disputed Domain Names resolve to landing pages at which competitive services are offered, Complainant has established that Respondent’s use of these domain names is in bad faith. The Disputed Domain Names appear designed to attract Internet users who are looking for Complainant’s PRO FORCE goods, appear to cause confusion with Complainant’s marks and websites, appear to disrupt Complainant’s business by diverting consumers away from Complainant’s websites, and do all of these things for commercial gain because Respondent profits from the PPC revenue generated by these websites.”
The Panel is therefore satisfied that the Respondent has registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith pursuant to paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy. Accordingly, the Panel finds that paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy is 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 <aida-luna.info> be transferred to Complainant.
Gabriel F. Leonardos
Dated: December 22, 2011