WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Aktiebolaget Electrolux v. PrivacyProtect.org / Domain Tech Enterprises
Case No. D2011-1988
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Aktiebolaget Electrolux of Sweden, represented by Melbourne IT Digital Brand Services, Sweden.
The Respondent is PrivacyProtect.org of Australia and Domain Tech Enterprises of Chile.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <elextrolux.com> is registered with Power Brand Center Corp.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on November 14, 2011. On November 14, 2011, the Center transmitted by email to Power Brand Center Corp. a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On November 15, 2011, Power Brand Center Corp. transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the disputed domain name which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on November 16, 2011 providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting the Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. The Complainant filed an amendment to the Complaint on November 16, 2011.
The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amendment to 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 23, 2011. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was December 13, 2011. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on December 14, 2011.
The Center appointed Sir Ian Barker as the sole panelist in this matter on December 21, 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, a Swedish corporation, founded in 1901, is a leading producer of kitchen and cleaning appliances. The Complainant sells more than 40 million products to customers in 150 countries every year. In 2010, the Complainant had sales of 106 billion Swedish Crowns (SEK) and it has 52,000 employees worldwide. Its refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, vacuum cleaners and cookers are sold under brands such as ELECTROLUX, AEG, AEG ELECTROLUX and several other brands.
The Complainant has registered the trademark ELECTROLUX as a word mark and as a device mark in several classes in more than 150 countries.
The Complainant owns also several hundreds of “Electolux” domain names including <electrolux.com>, <electrolux.net>, <electrolux.info> and <electrolux.org>.
The Complainant has been successful in numerous proceedings under the Policy to protect its trademark. One of the latest is the decision regarding the domain name electroluxic.com – Aktiebolaget Electrolux v. Electrolux International (HK) Co., Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2011-0752.
The disputed domain name is currently connected to a website containing shopping sites where white goods are sold.
The Complainant sent a ‘cease and desist’ letter to the Respondent (uploaded on “www.privacyprotect.org”) on September 16, 2011. A reminder was sent on November 2, 2011. No reply was received to either communication.
The disputed domain name was registered on December 8, 2004. It has always been apparently registered with a privacy shield with the provider and address changing from time to time. The current registrant details have been the same since December 1, 2010. The registrant details state that all postal mail is rejected.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant alleges that the disputed domain names are identical and confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights. The disputed domain name differs from the registered ELECTROLUX trademarks in which the Complainant has rights by the change of one letter – ‘c’ to ‘x’. This change has no effect on the overall impression of the dominant part of the name Electrolux . The Complainant cites Bang & Olufsen a/s v. Unasi Inc., WIPO Case No. D2005-0728, where the panel found that confusing similarity is generally recognised when there was the omission of a single letter in the domain name.
The Respondent has no right or legitimate interest in the disputed domain names. No license nor any other authorization has been granted to the Respondent for the use of its ELECTROLUX marks as a domain name: the Respondent has no trademark rights in such marks. No evidence regarding any of the situations under paragraph 4(c) of the Policy has been shown.
The disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith. Since the disputed domain name is connected to a website offering white goods, there is a real likelihood of confusion by internet users with the Complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship or affiliation or endorsement of the Respondent’s website.
The Respondent made no submissions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy provides that in order to be entitled to a transfer of a domain name, a complainant shall prove the following three elements:
(i) The domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights;
(ii) The respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
(iii) The domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the trademarks in which the Complainant has rights. The whole trademarked word differs from the disputed domain name by a change of one letter. This is a clear case of typosquatting. A domain name which contains an obvious misspelling of a trademark is confusingly similar to that trademark where the misspelt trademark remains the dominant feature of the domain name. See WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Second Edition ("WIPO Overview 2.0") at paragraph 1.10.
The Complainant has satisfied paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant gave the Respondent no authority or right to reflect its trademark in a domain name. In the absence of a Response, that fact means that a prima facie case has been made out that paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy has been satisfied.
It would have been open to the Respondent to have pleaded one or more of the defences available under paragraph 4(c) of the Policy if such were available. However, the Respondent has not done that.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The disputed domain name was registered on December 8, 2004, well after the Complainant acquired its trademark rights.
In some cases, a long delay between the registration of a disputed domain name and the filing of a complaint under the Policy can make a bad faith registration hard to infer. No explanation was offered by the Complainant for the seven year delay in filing the complaint. However, the worldwide fame of the Complainant’s mark has been obvious for very many years. The Panel has no difficulty in inferring bad faith registration (despite the delay in filing the Complaint). The Panel also notes that the current registrant apparently became involved only on December 1, 2010.
The Respondent’s use of the websites incorporating the Complainant’s trademark which can resolve to the products of the sort sold by the Complainant clearly indicates the circumstances envisaged by paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy, i.e. “by using the domain name, you [respondent] have intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to your 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 your web site or location or of a product or service on your web site or location”. Any user of the website would likely be confused into thinking that the website had some affinity or application with the Complainant.
The inference to be drawn from the Respondent’s operations is that it is trying to benefit from the fame of the Complainant’s mark which has a global reputation. This case is the current last in a long line of instances where the Complainant’s world-renowned mark has been used illegitimately.
The use of a privacy shield and the lack of response to ‘cease and desist’ letters supports the inference of bad faith, as does the stated rejection of all postal mail.
Accordingly, bad faith registration and use are clearly demonstrated. 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 <elextrolux.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Sir Ian Barker
Dated: December 22, 2011