World Intellectual Property Organization

WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Giorgio Armani S.p.A. v. Daulet Tussunbayev

Case No. D2011-2082

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Giorgio Armani S.P.A. of Mendrisio, Switzerland, represented by Studio Rapisardi S.A., Switzerland.

The Respondent is Daulet Tussunbayev of Birmingham, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <armanistore.com> is registered with GoDaddy.com, Inc.

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on November 28, 2011. On November 28, 2011, the Center transmitted by email to GoDaddy.com, Inc. a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On November 28, 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 30, 2011. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was December 20, 2011. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on December 21, 2011.

The Center appointed Jonas Gulliksson as the sole panelist in this matter on January 10, 2012. 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 owner of the following trademarks registered in the International Register of Marks under the Madrid Agreement and Protocol.

- ARMANI Reg. No. 502 876 in classes 3, 8, 9, 14, 18, 20, 21, 24, 25, and 34, registered on May 1, 1986.

- ARMANI Reg. No. 838 290 in class 43, registered on August 3, 2004.

- ARMANI Reg. No. 869 678 in class 43, registered on June 30, 2005.

- GIORGIO ARMANI Reg. No. 437 479 in classes 3, 14, 18 and 24, registered on April 20, 1978.

- GIORGIO ARMANI Reg. No. 502 877 in classes 8, 9, 20, 21, 34, registered on May 1, 1986.

- GIORGIO ARMANI Reg. No. 522 094 in classes 3, 14, 18, 24 and 25, registered on March 17, 1988.

- GIORGIO ARMANI Reg. No. 798 515 in classes 16, 35, 41, 42, 43, 44 and 45, registered on January 30, 2003.

According to the Registrar’s verification response, the disputed domain name was created on December 27, 2009 and registered to the Respondent on December 23, 2010.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant owns several trademarks worldwide, the ARMANI trademarks. The notoriety and diffusion of the ARMANI trademarks are proved by the several articles which constantly appear throughout the world on fashion magazines and on the most important newspapers. It is unanimously recognized that the ARMANI trademarks are well-known all over the world.

The disputed domain name incorporates entirely the Complainant's trademark ARMANI. The addition of the generic term “store” is not sufficient to prevent the risk of confusion between the ARMANI trademarks and the disputed domain name. The idea suggested by the disputed domain name is that the same leads to one of the Complainant's official websites and that its registration and use is authorized by the Complainant.

The lack of rights of the Respondent in respect of the disputed domain name is proved by the following circumstances. The Respondent has not been commonly known (as an individual, business or other organization) by the disputed domain name. The Respondent has no connection or affiliation with the

Complainant and has not received any license or consent, express or implied, to use the ARMANI trademarks in a domain name or in any other manner. The Respondent has not acquired any rights whatsoever (including trade/service mark rights) in the disputed domain name or any name corresponding to the disputed domain name. The Respondent is doing a commercial use of the disputed domain name and the Complainant's trademark with intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers. The Respondent uses the website linked to the disputed domain name to promote its activity consisting in offering for sale at special prices products bought from the Complainant as well as products bought from the Complainant's competitors. Such use cannot be considered by any means as bona fide use.

The bad faith of the Respondent in the registration of the disputed domain name is proved by the following circumstances. The worldwide fame of the ARMANI trademarks leaves no question of the Respondent's awareness of those at the time of the registration of the disputed domain name. In light of the aforesaid fame of the Complainant's trademarks, the choice of the disputed domain name by the Respondent could not result from a mere coincidence. The registration of the disputed domain name consisting of a family name and trademarks of a worldwide famous fashion stylist combined with the generic word “store”, reveals the intention of the Respondent to exploit the notoriety, the importance and the value of said name and to take advantage from the unlawful use of the trademarks comprehensive of that name owned by the Complainant, provided that at the time of the registration of the disputed domain name the Respondent was certainly aware of the fame and worldwide relevance of the ARMANI trademarks. The Respondent's bad faith is further illustrated by the fact that he was officially informed of the Complainant's rights in the ARMANI trademarks after receiving a cease and desist letter requesting the transfer of the disputed domain name. To this letter the Respondent replied that he could see no violation from his side, since he was selling original Armani goods from “Amazon”. In addition, the Respondent is using the disputed domain name to intentionally attempt to attract for commercial gain, Internet users to his website by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant's name and trademarks as to the sponsorship, affiliation and endorsement of that website by the owner of the trademarks. Furthermore, the website linked to the disputed domain name contains images of several products bearing Complainant's trademarks as well as several products bearing third parties' trademarks and hosts pay-per-click advertisements and links to other websites. This activity constitutes evidence of bad faith registration and use of the disputed domain name. The aforesaid circumstances together with the lack of rights or legitimate interests of the Respondent in the disputed domain name lead to conclude that the Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Complainant has relied on the registrations of the ARMANI trademarks. The Panel finds that the Complainant has proved its right on ARMANI and GORGIO ARMANI trademarks by the submitted registration certificates and renewal certificates of these marks.

In accordance with the consensus view, the Panel does not regard the top-level suffix “.com” when deciding if the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark. In accordance with this, the disputed domain name and the registered trademark ARMANI only differ by the generic, and of the Respondent’s business descriptive, word “store”. The Panel finds that the incorporated ARMANI trademark constitutes the most distinctive element of the disputed domain name and that the addition of the generic and descriptive word to the trademark is insufficient to avoid a finding of confusing similarity under the first element of the Policy (See Lime Wire LLC v. David Da Silva/Contractprivacy.com, WIPO Case No. D2007-1168; see also GA Modefine S.A. v. Mark O’Flynn, WIPO Case No. D2000-1424).

In accordance with the findings above, the Panel concludes that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s registered ARMANI trademark in the meaning of the paragraph 4(a)(i) and the first element of the Policy is thus fulfilled.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Complainant must make a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name under paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy and then the burden shifts to the Respondent to prove its rights or legitimate interests.

The Complainant has stated that there are no business relations between the Complainant and the Respondent. Further, the Complainant has submitted printouts from the website associated to the disputed domain name which proves that it offers for sale products by the Complainant as well as of the Complainant’s competitors.

The Panel finds, based on the evidence provided on the record, that the Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name. Also, there are no indications that the Respondent is making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name.

In the light of what is stated above, the Panel finds that the Complainant has made a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interest in the disputed domain name. The Respondent has not proved otherwise. Therefore, the Panel finds that the second element of the paragraph 4(a) of the Policy is fulfilled.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The Panel notes that the Complainant’s rights to the ARMANI trademarks were acquired long before the registration of the disputed domain name.

By the printouts from the website associated to the disputed domain name it is proven that the Respondent is using the disputed domain name to sell products of the Complainant and the Complainant’s competitors. The Panel finds that the Respondent’s registration and use of the domain name has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant's mark as to inter alia the source of its website.

The third element of the paragraph 4(a) of the Policy is thus fulfilled.

7. Decision

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 name <armanistore.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Jonas Gulliksson
Sole Panelist
Dated: January 16, 2012

 

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