World Intellectual Property Organization

WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Guccio Gucci S.p.A. v. Huangwensheng, Shirley, wangliang, xiaomeng xiexun, jiangxiuchun

Case No. D2012-0342

1. The Parties

Complainant is Guccio Gucci S.p.A. of Florence, Italy, represented by Studio Barbero, Italy.

Respondentss are Huangwensheng, Shirley, wangliang, xiaomeng xiexun, jiangxiuchun of Guangdong, China.

2. The Domain Names and Registrar

The disputed domain names <authenticguccihandbags.net>, <cheap-gucci-bags.net>, <cheapguccibags.org>, <cheap-gucci-belts.com>, <cheapguccibelts.org>, <cheap-guccihandbags.net>, <cheapguccihandbags.net>, <cheapgucci-shoes.net>, <cheapguccishoesoutlet.com>, <cheapguccishoesoutlet.net>, <discountguccihandbags.org>, <discountguccimensshoes.net>, <discountguccishoes.net>, <fakeguccishoes.org>, <guccibabybag.com>, <guccibackpackformen.com>, <guccibagssale.org>, <guccibagsuk.net>, <guccibeltsformen.org>, <guccibostonbag.com>, <gucciclothingformen.com>, <guccidresses.org>, <gucciearrings.net>, <guccieyewear.org>, <guccifactoryoutlet.net>, <gucciflats.net>, <guccihandbagsonline.net>, <guccihandbagsonsale.net>, <guccihandbagsonsale.org>, <guccihandbagsoutletonline.com>, <guccihandbagsoutletonline.net>, <guccihandbagssale.org>, <guccihandbagsstore.net>, <guccihightops.com>, <guccihoesforcheaponline.com>, <guccijewellery.net>, <guccileatherjacket.com>, <gucci-online-outlet.com>, <gucci-online-outlet.net>, <guccionlineshopdiscount.com>, <gucci-online-shop.net>, <guccionline-shop.net>, <guccionline-shop.org>, <guccionlinestore.org>, <guccionsales.com>, <guccioutletonlineshop.com>, <guccioutletonlinestore.net>, <guccioutlet-store.net>, <guccioutletstoreonline.net>, <gucci-outlet-store.org>, <guccioutlet-store.org>, <guccishirtsformen.com>, <guccishoesclearancestore.com>, <guccishoes-forcheap.com>, <guccishoesforcheap.net>, <guccishoesforcheap.org>, <guccishoesforwomen.org>, <guccishoesonlineshop.com>, <guccishoesonlineshop.net>, <guccishoesonlineshop.org>, <guccishoesonsale.net>, <guccishoesoutletonline.com>, <guccishoesoutlet.org>, <gucci-shoes-sale.net>, <gucci-shoes-sale.org>, <guccishoponline.org>, <guccisneakersformen.com>, <guccisneakersformen.net>, <guccisshoesforyou.com>, <guccisuitsformen.com>, <guccisunglassesforwomen.com>, <guccisunglassesforwomen.net>, <guccisunglassesforwomen.org>, <guccisunglassesonline.net>, <guccisunglassesonlineshop.com>, <guccisunglassesoutlet.com>, <guccisunglassesoutlet.net>, <guccitshirts.net>, <gucciusa.net>, <gucciwalletsformen.net>, <gucciwalletsformen.org>, <gucciwalletssale.com>, <gucciwalletssale.net>, <gucciwatchesforwomen.com>, <gucciwatchesforwomen.net>, <gucciwatchesladies.net>, <mensguccishoes.org>, <replicaguccishoesonsale.com>, <wholesaleguccishoes.org> are registered with Xin Net Technology Corp.

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on February 20, 2012. On February 21, 2012, the Center transmitted by email to Xin Net Technology Corp. a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain names. On February 22, 2012, Xin Net Technology Corp. transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that Respondents are listed as the registrants and providing the contact details. On February 23, 2012, the Center transmitted an email to the parties in both Chinese and English language regarding the language of proceedings. On the same day, Complainant confirmed its request that English be the language of proceeding. Respondents did not comment on the language of proceedings by the specified due date.

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 Respondents of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on March 9, 2012. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was March 29, 2012. Respondents did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondents’ default on March 30, 2012.

The Center appointed Yijun Tian as the sole panelist in this matter on April 13, 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

A. Complainant

Complainant, Guccio Gucci S.p.A, is a company incorporated in Florence, Italy. Complainant was founded in 1921 and is now one of the world’s leading multi-brand luxury goods companies. Complainant owns a broad array of trademark registrations worldwide for GUCCI, both alone and in combination with other word and/or device elements, including Italian registration GUCCI (since 1977), International registrations (since 1977), Community registrations (since 1998), and Chinese registrations (since 1982) (Annexes 3.1-3.5 to the Complaint).

Complainant and its associated companies belonging to the Gucci Group are also the owners of more than five hundred domain names identical to or comprising the mark GUCCI, such as <gucci.com>, <gucciconnect.com> and <gucciparfums.com> (Annex 6 to the Complaint).

B. Respondent

Respondents (identified variously as Huangwensheng, Shirley, wangliang, xiaomeng xiexun, jiangxiuchun) of Guangdong, China, registered the disputed domain names between February 2011 and January 2012. Respondents are using the disputed domain names in connection with various websites, such as websites on which Complainant’s trademarks were used and the products bearing the GUCCI marks were offered for sale, and websites that offer for sale products in competition with Complainant’s own products (Annexes 8 and 9 to the Complaint).

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

(a) The disputed domain names are identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights.

- The disputed domain names registered by Respondents are confusingly similar to trademarks in which Complainant has rights (Annex 3 to the Complaint).

- The disputed domain names incorporate the whole of Complainant’s GUCCI trademark. The fact that the disputed domain names include the non-distinctive elements “authentic”, “cheap”, “fake”, “high”, “tops”, “replica”, “wholesale”, “clothing”, “dresses”, “earrings”, “eyewear”, “handbags”, “bag(s), “belts”, “shoes”, “backpack”, “baby”, “bag”, “jewellery”, “leather”, “jacket”, “hoes”, “sneakers”, “suits”, “sunglasses”, “tshirts”, “wallets”, “watches”, “online”, “on”, “sale(s)”, “store”, “shop”, “outlet”, “discount”, “factory”, “flats”, “for”, “cheap”, “men(s)”, “women”, “ladies”, “clearance”, “you”, “uk”, “boston”, “usa” and the hyphens does not affect the confusing similarity.

- It is a well-established principle that a domain name that wholly incorporates a trademark, in particular one as famous as GUCCI, is found to be confusingly similar for purposes of the Policy, despite the fact that the domain name may also contain a descriptive or generic term.

- Some of the terms selected by Respondents for its registrations of the disputed domain names are particularly apt to increase the likelihood of confusion and to induce Internet users to believe that there is an association between the disputed domain names and Complainant.

- The terms “clothing”, “dresses”, “earrings”, “eyewear”, “handbags”, “bag(s)”, “belts”, “(s)hoes”, “backpack”, “baby bag”, “flats”, “jewellery”, “jacket”, “sneakers”, “suits”, “sunglasses”, “tshirts”, “wallets” and “watches” are descriptive of products made by Complainant; and the words “sale(s)”, “store”, “shop” and “online” recall Complainant’s online sales.

(b) Respondents have no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain names.

- Respondents are not licensees, authorized agents of Complainant, or in any other way authorized to use Complainant’s trademark GUCCI.

- Respondents are not commonly known by the disputed domain names as individuals, business, or other organizations, and “Gucci” is not the family name of Respondents.

- Respondents have not provided Complainant with any evidence of their use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the disputed domain names in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services before any notice of the dispute.

- Some of the disputed domain names have been pointed to websites on which Complainant’s figurative trademarks were published and prima facie counterfeit Gucci branded products have been offered for sale; while the disputed domain name <gucci-outlet-store.org> has been pointed to a web page displaying sponsored links which promote also the sale of clothes and accessories of Complainant’s competitors.(Annexes 8-9 to the Complaint)

- Respondents’ use can be considered neither a bona fide offering of goods or services nor a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain names. Respondents did not intend to use the disputed domain names in connection with any legitimate purpose.

- Respondents have been undoubtedly gaining from the sales of products and from the pay-per-click links made available on their websites.

- Complainant has asserted that the websites are used by Respondents to market prima facie counterfeit goods. There can be no legitimate interests in the sale of counterfeits.

- As an additional element within the frame of rights or legitimate interests, Respondents did not reply to the cease and desist letters sent by the authorized representative of Complainant.

(c) The disputed domain names were registered and are being used in bad faith.

- With respect to assessing Respondents’ bad faith in registering the disputed domain names, the trademark GUCCI is certainly well-known and used since as early as 1921, it is inconceivable that Respondents were unaware of the existence of Complainant or Complainant’s trademark GUCCI, with which the disputed domain names are confusingly similar.

- The number of the disputed domain names confusingly similar to the GUCCI mark registered by Respondents and the evidence of use of some of the disputed domain names for commercial websites featuring Complainant’s trademarks and offering apparently counterfeit GUCCI products, strongly suggest that Respondents’ purpose in registering the disputed domain names, which incorporate Complainant's GUCCI mark in its entirety, was to capitalize on the reputation of Complainant's mark by diverting Internet users seeking products under GUCCI mark to its own websites for financial gain, by intentionally creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainant's mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of their websites and/or the goods offered or promoted through their websites, according to paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.

- The disputed domain name <gucci-outlet-store.org>, as mentioned above, is currently linked to a web page where Internet users can find a number of sponsored links to various websites, where also products of Complainant’s competitors are advertised and sold. As such, Respondents at least earns commission whenever an Internet user visits the website and clicks on one of the sponsored link.

- Some of the disputed domain names are not redirected to active web sites, i.e., are passively held. The concept of “bad faith use” in paragraph 4(b) of the Policy includes not only positive action but also passive holding. Respondent’s passive holding of these the disputed domain names also amounts to acting in bad faith.

- Respondent did not reply to the cease and desist letter and subsequent reminder sent by the legal representative of Complainant.

- Respondents registered the disputed domain names by using inaccurate contact information (See Annex 1 to the Complaint). The use of incomplete or false contact information constitutes a further indication of bad faith

B. Respondent

Respondents did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

6.1. Language of the Proceeding and Consolidation

Pursuant to the Rules, paragraph 11, in the absence of an agreement between the parties, or specified otherwise in the registration agreement, the language of the administrative proceeding shall be the language of the registration agreement. According to information from the concerned registrar, the language of the Registration Agreements for the disputed domain names is Chinese. From the evidence presented on the record, no agreement appears to have been entered into between Complainant and Respondents to the effect that the language of the proceeding should be English. However, Complainant filed initially its Complaint in English, and has requested that English be the language of the proceeding for the following reasons:

(a) Requiring Complainant to translate the Complaint and all documents into Chinese would cause delay in contravention to paragraph 10(c) of the Rules, which requires that “[t]he Panel shall ensure that the administrative proceeding takes place with due expedition.”

(b) Respondents in this case have demonstrated that they understand English since the disputed domain names are constituted by the combination of the GUCCI mark with descriptive terms in English language.

(c) Respondents have directed many of the disputed domain names to websites published entirely in English.

(d) Complainant has sent cease and desist letters Respondents for several times. Complainant has not received any correspondence whatsoever from Respondents requesting clarification, translation, or otherwise indicating that there was any issue related to the language adopted.

Respondents did not make any submissions with respect to the language of the proceeding and did not object to the use of English as the language of the proceeding.

Paragraph 11(a) allows the Panel to determine the language of the proceeding having regard to all the circumstances. In particular, it is established practice to take paragraphs 10(b) and (c) of the Rules into consideration for the purpose of determining the language of the proceeding. In other words, it is important to ensure fairness to the parties and the maintenance of an inexpensive and expeditious avenue for resolving domain name disputes. (Whirlpool Corporation, Whirlpool Properties, Inc. v. Hui'erpu (HK) electrical appliance co. ltd., WIPO Case No. D2008-0293; Solvay S.A. v. Hyun-Jun Shin, WIPO Case No. D2006-0593). The language finally decided by the panel for the proceeding should not be prejudicial to either one of the parties in his or her abilities to articulate the arguments for the case. (Groupe Auchan v. xmxzl, WIPO Case No. DCC2006-0004).

The WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Second Edition (the “WIPO Overview 2.0.”) further states: “ in certain situations, where the respondent can apparently understand the language of the complaint (or having been given a fair chance to object has not done so), and Complainant would be unfairly disadvantaged by being forced to translate, the WIPO Center as a provider may accept the language of the complaint, even if it is different from the language of the registration agreement”. (WIPO Overview 2.0, paragraph 4.3; see also L’Oreal S.A. v. MUNHYUNJA, WIPO Case No. D2003-0585).

The Panel has taken into consideration the facts that Complainant is an Italian company, and Complainant will be spared the burden of dealing with Chinese as the language of the proceeding. The Panel has also taken into consideration the facts that many websites at the disputed domain names include English words, such as “sneakers”, “suits”, “sunglasses”, “tshirts”, “wallets”, “watches”, “store” and “shop”. (Expoconsult B.V. trading as CMP Information v. Roc Guan, WIPO Case No. D2008-1600; Compagnie Gervais Danone v. Xiaole Zhang, WIPO Case No. D2008-1047).

On the record, Respondents (registrants of these domain names) appear to be China based individuals who may or may not be Chinese speakers (Annex 1 to the Complaint). The Panel finds evidence in the present proceeding to suggest that Respondents have sufficient knowledge of English. In particular, the Panel notes that (a) the disputed domain names have been registered in English, rather than Chinese script; (b) many websites at the disputed domain names are English-based website and Respondents are apparently doing business in English through these websites (Annexes 8 and 9 to the Complaint); (c) many websites appear to have been directed to users in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (particularly English speakers) rather than Chinese speakers; (d) the prices of products on many websites are in USD; (e) the Center has notified Respondents of the proceedings in both Chinese and English, and Respondents have indicated no objection to Complainant’s request that English be the language of the proceeding; (f) the Center informed Respondents that they would accept a response in either English or Chinese.

Considering these circumstances, the Panel finds the choice of English as the language of the present proceeding is fair to both parties and is not prejudicial to either one of the parties in his or her ability to articulate the arguments for this case. Having considered all the matters above, the Panel determines under paragraph 11(a) that English shall be the language of the proceeding, and the decision will be rendered in English.

6.2. Multiple Respondents

The Panel is further satisfied that, in the circumstances of the present dispute, the case is one that is suitable for consolidation and resolution in a single UDRP proceeding. See further the discussion of applicable principles and jurisprudence in paragraph 4.16 of the WIPO Overview 2.0.

6.3. Discussion and Findings

Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy requires that Complainant must prove each of the following three elements to obtain an order that the disputed domain names should be cancelled or transferred:

(i) the disputed domain names registered by Respondents are identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights;

(ii) Respondents 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.

On the basis of the evidence introduced by Complainant and in particular with regard to the content of the relevant provisions of the Policy (paragraphs 4(a), (b), (c)), the Panel concludes as follows:

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Panel finds that Complainant has rights in numerous trademark registrations worldwide that consist of or contain the mark GUCCI, including Italian registration GUCCI (since 1977), International registrations (since 1977), Community registrations (since 1998), and Chinese registrations (since 1982) (Annexes 3.1-3.5 to the Complaint) and enjoys a widespread reputation in the world (Annex 4 to the Complaint).

This Complaint is being filed against “Huangwensheng, Shirley, wangliang, xiaomeng xiexun, jiangxiuchun” with respect to 89 disputed domain names set forth in Annex 1 to the Complaint. Each of the disputed domain names contains the word “Gucci” entirely. The addition of certain words to many of the disputed domain names - such as “authentic”, “cheap”, “fake”, “high”, “tops”, “replica”, “wholesale”, “clothing”, “dresses”, “earrings”, “eyewear”, “handbags”, “bag(s), “belts”, “shoes”, “backpack”, “baby”, “bag”, “jewellery”, “leather”, “jacket”, “hoes”, “sneakers”, “suits”, “sunglasses”, “tshirts”, “wallets”, “watches”, “online”, “on”, “sale(s)”, “store”, “shop”, “outlet”, “discount”, “factory”, “flats”, “for”, “cheap”, “men(s)”, “women”, “ladies”, “clearance”, “you”, “uk”, “boston”, “usa” and the hyphens – are descriptive or non-distinctive words and do not distinguish the disputed dispute names from the GUCCI trademark.

Previous UDRP panels have consistently held that a domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark 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).

Generally a user of a mark “may not avoid likely confusion by appropriating another's entire mark and adding descriptive or non-distinctive matter to it”. (The Argento Wine Company Limited v. Argento Beijing Trading Company, WIPO Case No. D2009-0610; General Electric Company v. CPIC NET and Hussain Syed, WIPO Case No. D2001-0087; PCCW-HKT DataCom Services Limited v. Yingke, HKIAC Case No. 0500065).

Thus, the Panel finds that the use of these words (such as “authentic”, “cheap”, “fake”, “high”, “tops”, “replica”, “wholesale”, “clothing”, “dresses”, “earrings”, “eyewear”, “handbags”, “bag(s), “belts”, “shoes”, “backpack”, “baby”, “bag”, “jewellery”, “leather”, “jacket”, “hoes”, “sneakers”, “suits”, “sunglasses”, “tshirts”, “wallets”, “watches”, “online”, “on”, “sale(s)”, “store”, “shop”, “outlet”, “discount”, “factory”, “flats”, “for”, “cheap”, “men(s)”, “women”, “ladies”, “clearance”, “you”, “uk”, “boston”, “usa” and the hyphens) is not sufficient to negate the confusing similarity between the disputed domain names and the trademark. By contrast, the addition of certain words can “exacerbate[] the confusing similarity between the [Complainant’s] trademark and the Domain Name and increase[] the risk of confusion between the Domain Name and the… trademarks”. (B & H Foto & Electronics Corp. v. Joel Deutsch, WIPO Case No. D2010-2121).

The Panel therefore holds that Complaint fulfils 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 names:

(i) use of, or preparations to use, the disputed domain names in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services;

(ii) the fact that Respondent has commonly been known by the disputed domain names; and

(iii) legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain names.

The overall burden of proof on this element rests with Complainant. However, it is well established by previous UDRP panel decisions that once a complainant establishes a prima facie case that a respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in a domain name, the burden shifts to the respondent to rebut the complainant’s contentions. If the respondent fails to do so, the complainant is deemed to have satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy. (Danzas Holding AG , DHL Operations B.V. v. Ma Shikai, WIPO Case No. D2008-0441; WIPO Overview 2.0, paragraph 2.1 and cases cited therein).

Complainant has prior rights in the trademark (since 1977) which precede Respondents' registration of the disputed domain names (between February 2011 and January 2012) by over 35 years. According to Complainant, Respondents are not authorized dealers of Gucci branded products. Complainant has therefore established a prima facie case that Respondents have no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names and thereby shifted the burden to Respondents to produce evidence to rebut this presumption (The Argento Wine Company Limited v. Argento Beijing Trading Company, supra; 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).

Based on the following reasons the Panel finds that Respondents have no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names:

(a) There has been no evidence adduced to show that Respondents are using the disputed domain names in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. Respondents have not provided evidence of a legitimate use of the disputed domain names or reasons to justify the choice of the word “Gucci” in its business operations. There has been no evidence to show that Complainant has licensed or otherwise permitted Respondents to use the trademarks or to apply for or use any domain name incorporating the trademarks; (“Th[is] fact, on its own, can be sufficient to prove the second criterion [of the Policy]”. Six Continents Hotels, Inc. v. IQ Management Corporation, WIPO Case No. D2004-0272)

(b) There has been no evidence adduced to show that Respondents have been commonly known by the disputed domain names. There has been no evidence adduced to show that Respondents have any registered trademark rights with respect to the disputed domain names. Respondents registered the disputed domain names between February 2011 and January 2012.

(c) There has been no evidence adduced to show that Respondents are making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain names. By contrast, Respondents are using each of the disputed domain names in connection with various websites (or no websites at all), such as websites on which Complainant’s trademarks were used and the products bearing the GUCCI marks were offered for sale, and websites that offer for sale products in competition with Complainant’s own products (Annexes 8 and 9 to the Complaint).

The Panel finds that Respondents have failed to produce any evidence to establish its rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names. The Panel therefore holds that Complaint fulfils the second condition of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy sets out four circumstances which, without limitation, shall be evidence of the registration and use of the disputed domain names in bad faith, namely:

(i) circumstances indicating that Respondents has registered or acquired the disputed domain names primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registrations to the Complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of the Complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of the Respondents’ documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the disputed domain names; or

(ii) Respondents have registered the disputed domain names in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that Respondents have engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or

(iii) Respondents have registered the disputed domain names primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or

(iv) by using the disputed domain names, Respondents have intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to Respondents’ website or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of Respondents’ website or location or of a product.

The Panel concludes that the circumstances referred to in paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy are applicable to the present case and upon the evidence of these circumstances and other relevant circumstances, it is adequate to conclude that Respondents have registered and used the disputed domain names in bad faith.

(a) Registered in Bad Faith

The Panel finds that Complainant enjoys a widespread reputation in the GUCCI trademarks with regard to its products. Complainant is the owner of numerous trademark registrations worldwide that consist of or contain the mark GUCCI, including Italian registration GUCCI (since 1977), International registrations (since 1977), Community registrations (since 1998), and Chinese registrations (since 1982) (Annexes 3.1-3.5 to the Complaint) and enjoys a widespread reputation in the world (Annex 4 to the Complaint).

It is not conceivable that Respondents would not have had actual notice of Complainant’s trademark rights at the time of the registration of the disputed domain names (2011-2012). The Panel therefore finds that the trademarks are not one that traders could legitimately adopt other than for the purpose of creating an impression of an association with Complainant. (The Argento Wine Company Limited v. Argento Beijing Trading Company, supra). Moreover, Respondents have chosen not to respond to Complainant’s allegations in the Complaint. According to the panel’s decision in The Argento Wine Company Limited v. Argento Beijing Trading Company, supra, “the failure of Respondents to respond to the Complaint further supports an inference of bad faith”. (see also Bayerische Motoren Werke AG v. (This Domain is For Sale) Joshuathan Investments, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2002-0787).

Thus, the Panel concludes that the disputed domain names were registered by Respondents in bad faith with the intent to create an impression of an association with Complainant’s products.

(b) Used in Bad Faith

Complainant has adduced evidence to prove that by using confusingly similar disputed domain names, Respondents have intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to Respondents’ websites offering Complainant’s Gucci products. Complainant claimed that Respondents attempted to sell counterfeit GUCCI branded products on its websites, and said: “the number of domain names confusingly similar to the GUCCI mark registered by Respondents and the evidence of use of some of the Domain Names for commercial web sites featuring Complainant’s trademarks and offering apparently counterfeit GUCCI products, strongly suggest that Respondents’ purpose in registering the Domain Names, which incorporate Complainant's GUCCI mark in its entirety, was to capitalize on the reputation of Complainant's mark by diverting Internet users seeking products under GUCCI mark to its own web sites for financial gain, by intentionally creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant's mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of their web sites and/or the goods offered or promoted through their web sites, according to paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.”

To establish an “intention for commercial gain”, evidence is required to indicate that it is “more likely than not” that intention existed (The Argento Wine Company Limited v. Argento Beijing Trading Company, supra; Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and Wal-Mart China Co. Ltd v. Liangchenyong, ADNDRC Case No. HKcc-0800008).

Based on information provided by Complainant, Complainant is one of the world’s leading multi-brand luxury goods companies. Complainant owns a broad array of trademark registrations worldwide for GUCCI, both alone and in combination with other word and/or device elements, since 1977, and enjoys a widespread reputation in the world (as introduced above). Complainant has received several awards including 44th place in the Interbrand’s “Best Global Brands” ranking in 2010 and 39th place in the same chart in 2011 (Annex 4 to Complaint).

Given the widespread reputation of the trademarks, the Panel finds that the public is likely to be confused into thinking that the disputed domain names have a connection with Complainant, contrary to the fact. There is a strong likelihood of confusion as to source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of the websites to which the disputed domain names are resolved (see Annex 8-9 to the Complaint). In other words, Respondents have through the use of a confusingly similar disputed domain names created a likelihood of confusion with Complainant’s trademarks. Noting also that apparently no clarification as to Respondents’ relationship to Complainant is made on the homepage of the disputed domain names, Internet users are likely to be led to believe that the websites at the disputed domain names are either Complainant’s sites or the sites of official authorized partners of Complainant, which they are not. Moreover, Respondents have not responded to the Complaint. The Panel therefore concludes that the disputed domain names were used by Respondents in bad faith.

In summary, Respondents, by choosing to register and use disputed domain names which are confusingly similar to Complainant’s well-known trademarks, intended to ride on the goodwill of Complainant’s trademarks in an attempt to exploit, for commercial gain, Internet users destined for Complainant. In the absence of evidence to the contrary and rebuttal from Respondents, the choice of the disputed domain names and the conduct of Respondents as far as the websites to which the disputed domain names resolve are indicative of registration and use of the disputed domain names in bad faith.

The Panel therefore holds that the Complaint fulfils the third condition of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.

7. Decision

For all the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the following disputed domain names be transferred to Complainant:

<authenticguccihandbags.net>, <cheap-gucci-bags.net>, <cheapguccibags.org>, <cheap-gucci-belts.com>, <cheapguccibelts.org>, <cheap-guccihandbags.net>, <cheapguccihandbags.net>, <cheapgucci-shoes.net>, <cheapguccishoesoutlet.com>, <cheapguccishoesoutlet.net>, <discountguccihandbags.org>, <discountguccimensshoes.net>, <discountguccishoes.net>, <fakeguccishoes.org>, <guccibabybag.com>, <guccibackpackformen.com>, <guccibagssale.org>, <guccibagsuk.net>, <guccibeltsformen.org>, <guccibostonbag.com>, <gucciclothingformen.com>, <guccidresses.org>, <gucciearrings.net>, <guccieyewear.org>, <guccifactoryoutlet.net>, <gucciflats.net>, <guccihandbagsonline.net>, <guccihandbagsonsale.net>, <guccihandbagsonsale.org>, <guccihandbagsoutletonline.com>, <guccihandbagsoutletonline.net>, <guccihandbagssale.org>, <guccihandbagsstore.net>, <guccihightops.com>, <guccihoesforcheaponline.com>, <guccijewellery.net>, <guccileatherjacket.com>, <gucci-online-outlet.com>, <gucci-online-outlet.net>, <guccionlineshopdiscount.com>, <gucci-online-shop.net>, <guccionline-shop.net>, <guccionline-shop.org>, <guccionlinestore.org>, <guccionsales.com>, <guccioutletonlineshop.com>, <guccioutletonlinestore.net>, <guccioutlet-store.net>, <guccioutletstoreonline.net>, <gucci-outlet-store.org>, <guccioutlet-store.org>, <guccishirtsformen.com>, <guccishoesclearancestore.com>, <guccishoes-forcheap.com>, <guccishoesforcheap.net>, <guccishoesforcheap.org>, <guccishoesforwomen.org>, <guccishoesonlineshop.com>, <guccishoesonlineshop.net>, <guccishoesonlineshop.org>, <guccishoesonsale.net>, <guccishoesoutletonline.com>, <guccishoesoutlet.org>, <gucci-shoes-sale.net>, <gucci-shoes-sale.org>, <guccishoponline.org>, <guccisneakersformen.com>, <guccisneakersformen.net>, <guccisshoesforyou.com>, <guccisuitsformen.com>, <guccisunglassesforwomen.com>, <guccisunglassesforwomen.net>, <guccisunglassesforwomen.org>, <guccisunglassesonline.net>, <guccisunglassesonlineshop.com>, <guccisunglassesoutlet.com>, <guccisunglassesoutlet.net>, <guccitshirts.net>, <gucciusa.net>, <gucciwalletsformen.net>, <gucciwalletsformen.org>, <gucciwalletssale.com>, <gucciwalletssale.net>, <gucciwatchesforwomen.com>, <gucciwatchesforwomen.net>, <gucciwatchesladies.net>, <mensguccishoes.org>, <replicaguccishoesonsale.com>, <wholesaleguccishoes.org>.

Yijun Tian
Sole Panelist
Dated: May 22, 2012

 

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