World Intellectual Property Organization

WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Calzedonia S.p.A v. N/A Svetlana Petrova / Whois Privacy Services provided by Domainprotect

Case No. D2012-0522

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Calzedonia S.p.A, Verona, Italy, represented by Novagraaf Nederland B.V., Netherlands.

The Respondent is N/A Svetlana Petrova, Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation; Whois Privacy Services provided by Domainprotect, Shpalernaya, Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <calzedonna.com> is registered with NICCO.

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on March 15, 2012. On March 15, 2012, the Center transmitted by email to NICCO a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On March 21, 2012, NICCO. 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 March 23, 2012 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 March 27, 2012.

Further, on March 23, 2012 the Center notified the Parties in both English and Russian languages that as the language of the registration agreement for the disputed domain name was Russian (as per information provided by NICCO), the Complainant would need to either provide satisfactory evidence of an agreement between the Complainant and the Respondent to the effect that the proceedings should be in English; submit the Complaint translated into Russian; or submit a request for English to be the language of the administrative proceedings. On March 26, 2012 the Complainant requested for English to be the language of the proceedings in the Complaint providing the reasons for such request. The Respondent did not provide any comments in this regard. The Panel, taking into account the circumstances of this case and a number of recent UDRP decisions and the reasons cited therein (BrandStrategy, Inc. v. BusinessService Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2007-0749; Laboratoire Biosthétique Kosmetik GmbH & Co. KG and MCE S.A.S. v. BusinessService Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2007-1836; Zappos.com, Inc. v. Zufu aka Huahaotrade, WIPO Case No. D2008-1191; Pandora Jewelry, LLC v. Wang Feng, WIPO Case No. D2009-1533), decides that the language of the administrative proceedings will be English in accordance with paragraph 11(a) of the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Rules”).

The Center verified that the amendment to Complaint together with the Complaint satisfied the formal requirements of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Policy” or “UDRP”), 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 in both English and Russian languages, and the proceedings commenced on April 5, 2012. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was April 25, 2012. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on May 2, 2012.

The Center appointed Ladislav Jakl as the sole panelist in this matter on May 18, 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 asserted, and provided evidence in support of the following facts which the Panel finds established:

The Complainant is the owner of various trademark registrations CALZEDONIA for clothing in several countries worldwide, namely in the European Union, Canada, United States of America, Sri Lanka and Russian Federation for clothing. The CALZEDONIA trademarks have been used intensively. The overview of all these registrations for the trademark reproductions is comprised in Annex 6 of the Complaint. For example, the Italian trademark No. 531 183, priority date April 3, 2001, the Russian Federation trademark No. 273 247, priority date October 20, 2003, registered in Classes 25 and 35.

The Complainant communicates on the Internet through various websites. The main domain name is <calzedonia.it> which was registered by Complainant on June 27, 1997. The Complainant has also registered various other domain names with the element “calzedonia” and also various domain names with misspellings such as “calzedonna” and “calzedona”. Most of them were registered in November 2006.

(Annex 8 of the Complaint).

The disputed domain name <calzedonna.com> was registered on March 25, 2007.

The Complainant requests the Panel, appointed in this administrative proceeding, that the disputed domain name be transferred.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to its trademark CALZEDONIA, that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect to the disputed domain name and that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.

The Complainant introduces that the disputed domain name <calzedonna.com> is phonetically and visually and conceptually confusingly similar to the Complainant’s registered trademarks. The difference between the trademarks CALZEDONIA and the disputed domain name is just one letter and is negligible. The Complainant refers to several UDRP decisions which have established that such a difference does not alter the fact that the domain name is confusingly similar to the trademark.

As to rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name, the Complainant essentially contends that the disputed domain name <calzedonna.com> links directly to a parking website of the registrar where it is possible to buy this domain name (Annex 11 of the Complaint) and the fact that this disputed domain name is for sale indicates that the Respondent has no legitimate interest in the domain name other than getting the highest price possible for the transfer. The Complainant states that on the web page to which the disputed domain name resolves are several links to different websites of the fashion stores which are exactly the clothing-items that Complainant uses and has registered her trademark CALZEDONIA for. Moreover, the Respondent’s use of a domain name, incorporating the Complainant’s trademark to show advertisements of other online clothing shops, cannot be bona fide commercial use because it is misleading consumers who may think that this site is linked to CALZEDONIA. The Complainant refers to previous UDRP decision in which is decided that use of a domain name to users to a website displaying links to third-party sites, rather than offering products or services directly on the website itself, cannot be legitimate. The Respondent is not making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use, since it probably earns pay-per-click revenues from the advertising links that appear on the webpage to which the disputed domain name resolves. The Complainant concludes that the use of it’s trademark to direct customers to the products and/or services of the Complainant’s competitor is objectionable, and therefore not bona fide, as a misleading use of a trademark, as a form of unfair competition, and also for reasons of consumers protection, as it amounts to a form of “bait and switch” selling (Robert Bosch GmbH v. Asia Ventures, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2005-0946).

Furthermore, the Complainant asserts that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith. The Respondent registered the disputed domain name <calzedonna.com> on March 25, 2007 and is not being used other than for a parking site with the purpose of sponsored links. The disputed domain name <calzedonna.com> was registered only six weeks after registration of the Complainant’s domain name <calzedonia.com> on February 8, 2007. Moreover, the disputed domain name <calzedonna.com> is confusingly similar to the trademark of the Complainant as it differs only by amending the “i” by an “n” in the trademark of the Complainant, which is a well-known trademark and therefore particularly suitable to attract customers of fashion shops for the sponsored links. The Respondent leads Internet users to the parking site with sponsored links of competitors by creating a likelihood of confusion with the trademark with a reputation CALZEDONIA. Even if a visitor to the Respondent’s site were to realize that it had been redirected to another website unconnected with the Complainant, nonetheless the initial interest confusion that lured the visitor in would also support a finding of bad faith.

The Complainant requests the Panel, appointed in this administrative proceeding, that the disputed domain name <calzedonna.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

In accordance with paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainant must prove that each of the three following elements is satisfied:

(i) the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and

(ii) the 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.

Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy states that the burden of proving that all three elements are present lies with the Complainant.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Complainant states that disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark CALZEDONIA. The Panel accepts arguments of the Complainant that the disputed domain name <calzedonna.com> is phonetically and visually and conceptually confusingly similar to the Complainant’s registered trademark CALZEDONIA. The difference between the trademark CALZEDONIA and the disputed domain name is just one letter and is negligible. The Panel finds that the test of identical or confusing similarity under the Policy is generally confined to a comparison of the disputed domain name and the trademark alone. See Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Traffic Yoon, WIPO Case No. D2006-0812.

The disputed domain name <calzedonna.com> is confusingly similar to the trademark CALZEDONIA of the Complainant as it differs only by amending the “i” by an “n” in the trademark of the Complainant. Mere amending of one letter to a complainant’s mark does not adequately distinguish a domain name from the mark pursuant to the Policy, paragraph 4(a)(i). See Wal -Mart Stores, Inc. v. Gerry Senker, WIPO Case No. D2006-0211; HSBC Holdings Plc v. David H. Gold, WIPO Case No. D2001-0343; F.Hoffmann-La Roche AG v. Whois Defender, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2006-0717; Sanofi-Aventis v. PLUTO DOMAIN SERVICES PRIVATE LIMITED, WIPO Case No. D2008-1483; Sanofi-0Aventis v. N/A, WIPO Case No. D2009-0705; America Online, Inc. v. Anson Chan, WIPO Case No. D2001-0004.

As well the inclusion of the gTLD suffix “.com” does not avoid confusing similarity between the disputed domain name and trademark. See AT&T Corp. v. William Gormally, WIPO Case No. D2005-0758; Accor v. Lee Dong Youn, WIPO Case No. D2008-0705; and Sanofi-Aventis v. Brad Hedlund, WIPO Case No. D2007-1310.

For all the above cited reasons, the Panel concludes that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark, in which the Complainant has rights, and therefore the condition of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy is fulfilled.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

As to rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name, the Complainant has not licensed or otherwise authorized the Respondent to seek registration of any domain name incorporating said Complainant’s trademark. The registration of the CALZEDONIA trademark preceded the registration of the disputed domain name <calzedonna.com>.

The Respondent could not have a legitimate contemplated use for offering goods or services at the disputed domain name. The disputed domain name is thus not used in connection with a bona fide offering of goods and services. The Respondent is not making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use, since he probably earn pay-per-click revenues from the advertising links that appear on the webpage to which the disputed domain name resolves. The use of Complainant’s trademark to direct customers to the products and/or services of the Complainant’s competitor is objectionable, and therefore not bona fide, as a misleading use of a trademark, as a form of unfair competition, and also for reasons of consumers protection, as it amounts to a form of “bait and switch” selling (Robert Bosch GmbH v. Asia Ventures, Inc., supra). The unauthorized appropriation of another’s trademark in the disputed domain name is and the commercial use of the corresponding website cannot, in this Panel’s view, confer rights or legitimate interests upon the Respondent. Moreover the Panel finds that the disputed domain name is not used for a bona fide offering of goods or services and the Respondent is not making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name. There is a consensus view that such behaviour may not be considered a bona fide offering of goods or services, or a noncommercial or fair use (The Gap, Inc. v. Deng Youqian, WIPO Case No. D2009-0113; Bridgestone Corporation v. Horoshiy, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2004-0795; Deutsche Telekom AG v. Dong Wang, WIPO Case No. D2005-0819; PRL USA Holdings, Inc. v. LucasCobb, WIPO Case No. D2006-0162; Croatia Airlines d.d. v. Modern Empire Internet Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2003-0455; Belupo d.d. v. WACHEM d.o.o., WIPO Case No. D2004-0110; Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. v. Samuel Teodorek, WIPO Case No. D2007-1814).

The disputed domain name <calzedonna.com> links directly to a parking website of the registrar where it is possible to buy this domain name and the fact that this domain name is for sale indicates that the registrant has no legitimate interest in the domain name other than getting the highest price possible for the transfer. On the web page are several links to different websites of the fashion stores which are exactly the clothing items that Complainant uses and has registered her trademark CALZEDONIA for. Moreover, the Respondent’s use of a domain name, incorporating the Complainant’s trademark to show advertisements of other online clothing shops, cannot be bona fide commercial use because it is misleading to the consumers who may think that this site is linked to CALZEDONIA. It is necessary to accept arguments of the Complainant that the Respondent is not making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use, since he probably earn pay-per-click revenues from the advertising links that appear on the webpage to which the disputed domain name resolves. The use of Complainant’s trademark to direct customers to the products and/or services of the Complainant’s competitor is objectionable in this Panel’s view, and therefore not bona fide, as a misleading use of a trademark, as a form of unfair competition, and also for reasons of consumers protection, as it amounts to a form of “bait and switch” selling (Robert Bosch GmbH v. Asia Ventures, Inc., supra).

For the above-cited reasons, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, and that the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy are therefore fulfilled.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

Under paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy, the Complainant must prove that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith. Paragraph 4(b) sets out certain circumstances which, in particular but without limitation, are to be construed as evidence of both. These include, inter alia, paragraphs 4(b)(ii), (iii) and (iv):

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

(iii) the Respondent has registered the disputed domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or

(iv) by using the disputed domain name, the Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to his website or other online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s mark as to source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of his website or of a product or service on that website or location.

The Respondent registered the disputed domain name <calzedonna.com> on March 25, 2007 and is not being used other for a parking site with the purpose of sponsored links. The Russian Federation Trademark No. 273 247 was registered in Classes 25 and 35 with priority date October 20, 2003 and the Italian trademark No. 531 183 was registered with priority date April 3, 2001. The disputed domain name <calzedonna.com> was registered only six weeks after registration of the Complainant’s domain name <calzedonia.com> on February 8, 2007. Moreover, the disputed domain name <calzedonna.com> is confusingly similar to the trademark of the Complainant as it differs only by amending the “i” by an “n” in the trademark of the Complainant, which is a well-known trademark and therefore particularly suitable to attract Internet users to the sponsored links. The Respondent leads Internet users to the parking site with sponsored links of competitors by creating a likelihood of confusion with the trademark with a reputation CALZEDONIA. By deliberately diverting the Complainant’s customers to another website, the Respondent also disrupts to another website, the Respondent disrupts the Complainant’s business. Even if a visitor to the Respondent’s site were to realize that it had been redirected to another website unconnected with the Complainant, nonetheless the initial interest confusion that lured the visitor in would also support a finding of bad faith. The Panel further finds that by using the Complainant’s trademark to divert Internet users to an unrelated site the Respondent is attempting, for commercial gain, to attract Internet users and thus to disrupt the Complainant’s business. The Respondent’s registration and use of the disputed domain name are in bad faith because the Respondent intentionally attempts to attract Internet users who have an interest in purchasing Complainant’s goods, and then redirects them to other websites, which may result in financial benefit to the Respondent. There is no doubt to this Panel that the Respondent has also registered the disputed domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of the Complainant. This Panel finds that the Respondent is interrupting the Complainant’s business by directing potential customers to its competitors and by falsely making customers believe that there is an association between the Respondent and the Complainant. Such conduct has been found to be indicative of bad faith in previous UDRP decisions such as Six Continents Hotels, Inc. v. Ramada Inn, WIPO Case No. D2003-0658; Shaw Industries Group, Inc and Columbia Insurance Company v. Click Consulting Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2006-1422; F.Hoffman-La Roche AG v. Lythion Services Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2006-0035; Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications International AB, Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson, Sony Corporation v. Party Night Inc., WIPO Case No. D2002-1128; Forest Laboratories, Inc. v. Whois Privacy Protection Service, Inc. WIPO Case No. D2007-1050.

For the above cited reasons the Panel finds that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith and therefore the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy are also fulfilled in this case.

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 domain name <calzedonna.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Ladislav Jakl
Sole Panelist
Dated: June 6, 2012

 

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