WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Caterpillar Inc. v. no.365 erlou
Case No. D2011-2213
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Caterpillar Inc. of Peoria, Illinois, United States of America, represented by The GigaLaw Firm, Douglas M. Isenberg, Attorney at Law, LLC, United States of America.
The Respondent is no.365 erlou of guangzhou, China.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <cat-in-china.com> is registered with GoDaddy.com, Inc.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on December 15, 2011. On December 16, 2011, the Center transmitted by email to GoDaddy.com, Inc. a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On the same date, 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 December 21, 2011. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was January 10, 2012. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on January 11, 2012.
The Center appointed Sebastian M.W. Hughes as the sole panelist in this matter on January 20, 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 a company incorporated in Delaware, the United States of America and the owner of several registrations in respect of footwear in the United States of America for the word and logo trade marks CAT (the “Trade Mark”), the earliest registration dating from August 1, 1995. The Complainant is also the owner of the domain name <catfootwear.com>.
The Respondent is an individual apparently with an address in China.
The disputed domain name was registered on June 16, 2011.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant made the following submissions in the Complaint.
The Complainant is the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives. Since 1991, the Complainant has been using the Trade Mark in connection with footwear, including boots.
The disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Trade Mark. It comprises the Trade Mark together with the non distinctive words “in china”.
The website to which the disputed domain name is resolved (the “Website”) offers for sale unauthorized counterfeit footwear products under the Trade Mark. It also features prominently the Complainant’s CAT logo containing the Trade Mark (the “CAT Logo”).
The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name and has registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith to intentionally attract users, for commercial gain, to the Website, by creating confusion with the Trade Mark.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel finds that the Complainant has rights in the Trade Mark acquired through use and registration which predate the date of registration of the disputed domain name by several years.
UDRP panels have consistently held that domain names are generally identical or confusingly similar to a trade mark for purposes of the Policy “when the domain name includes the trade mark, or a confusingly similar approximation, regardless of the other terms in the domain name” (Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Richard MacLeod d/b/a For Sale, WIPO Case No. D2000-0662).
It is also established that the addition of generic terms to the disputed domain name has little, if any, effect on a determination of confusing similarity between the domain name and the mark (Quixtar Investments, Inc. v. Dennis Hoffman, WIPO Case No. D2000-0253); furthermore, mere addition of a generic or descriptive term does generally not exclude the likelihood of confusion (PRL USA Holdings, Inc. v. Spiral Matrix, WIPO Case No. D2006-0189).
It is also trite that, in determining the question of confusingly similarity, punctuation marks are not distinguishing features and are to be disregarded.
In the present case, the Panel concludes that the use of hyphens between each word in the disputed domain name, and the addition of the non distinctive words “in china”, does not serve to distinguish the disputed domain name from the Trade Mark in any way, particularly given the Website is a Chinese language website clearly directed to the Chinese market.
The disputed domain name contains the Trade Mark in its entirety.
The Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Trade Mark.
The Panel therefore holds that the Complaint fulfills the first condition of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy provides a list of circumstances any of which is sufficient to demonstrate that the Respondent has rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name:
(i) before any notice to you of the dispute, your use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the disputed domain name or a name corresponding to the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; or
(ii) you (as an individual, business, or other organization) have been commonly known by the disputed domain name even if you have acquired no trade mark or service mark rights; or
(iii) you are making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trade mark or service mark at issue.
There is no evidence that the Complainant has authorised, licensed, or permitted the Respondent to register or use the disputed domain name or to use the Trade Mark. The Complainant has prior rights in the Trade Mark which precede the Respondent’s registration of the disputed domain name by several years. There is therefore a prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, and the burden is thus on the Respondent to produce evidence to rebut this presumption (Do The Hustle, LLC v. Tropic Web, WIPO Case No. D2000-0624; Croatia Airlines d.d. v. Modern Empire Internet Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2003-0455).
The Complainant has asserted that the Website is used by the Respondent to market counterfeit CAT footwear and a Declaration from the Complainant’s Corporate Counsel confirming the footwear featured on the Website is counterfeit has been exhibited to the Complaint. There can be no legitimate interest in the sale of counterfeits (Lilly ICOS LLC v. Dan Eccles, WIPO Case No. D2004-0750).
The Respondent has failed to show that it has acquired any trade mark rights in respect of the disputed domain name or that the disputed domain name is used in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services.
There has been no evidence adduced to show that the Respondent has been commonly known by the disputed domain name.
There has been no evidence adduced to show that the Respondent is making a legitimate non-commercial or fair use of the disputed domain name.
The Panel finds that the Respondent has failed to produce any evidence to establish rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Panel therefore finds that the Complaint fulfils the second condition of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Pursuant to paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy, the following conduct amounts to registration and use in bad faith on the part of the Respondent:
“By using the domain name, you have intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to your website 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 website or location or of a product or service on your website or location.”
The Complainant has submitted compelling evidence to suggest that the disputed domain name has been used to offer for sale counterfeit products under the Trade Mark via the Website. This is strong evidence of bad faith (Prada S.A. v. Domains For Life, WIPO Case No. D2004-1019). Furthermore, the Website features, prominently, the Complainant’s CAT Logo without the authorization of the Complainant.
The Panel therefore finds the requisite element of bad faith has been satisfied, under paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.
For all the foregoing reasons, the Panel concludes that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith. Accordingly the third condition of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy has been fulfilled.
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 <cat-in-china.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Sebastian M.W. Hughes
Dated: February 3, 2012