World Intellectual Property Organization

WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Associazione Radio Maria v. Contact Privacy Inc. / ICS Inc.

Case No. D2012-0826

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Associazione Radio Maria of Erba, Como, Italy, represented by Perani Pozzi Tavella, Italy.

The Respondent is Contact Privacy Inc. of Toronto, Canada / ICS Inc. of Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands.

2. The Domain Name And Registrar

The disputed domain name <radiomariaecuador.com> is registered with Tucows Inc.

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on April 18, 2012. On April 19, 2012, the Center transmitted by email to Tucows Inc. a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On the same date, Tucows Inc. transmitted by email to the Center its verification 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 April 25, 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 April 27, 2012.

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 April 30, 2012. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was May 20, 2012. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on May 23, 2012.

The Center appointed Andrew F. Christie as the sole panelist in this matter on June 11, 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

Radio Maria is a radio broadcaster that began as a Catholic parish radio station in 1983. In 1987, the Complainant, Associazione Radio Maria, was formed by laymen and priests to give Radio Maria independence from the parish and a larger scale in its commitment of evangelization. Within three years, the broadcaster’s program had been redesigned and all of Italy’s regions were covered with the signal, making Radio Maria a national broadcasting station. In 1998, the Complainant established the “World Family of Radio Maria”. The Complainant now operates Radio Maria in over 55 countries and in more than a dozen languages, so that its signal now covers nearly 300 million people around the world. The Complainant broadcasts Radio Maria on-line, through a website at “www.radiomaria.org”. The Complainant excludes all types of advertising and survives on contributions from its listeners.

The Complainant owns many trademark registrations for the trademark RADIO MARIA, the earliest of which date from 1993. Its trademark registration RADIO MARIA in Ecuador was granted on December 1, 1997. The Complainant is also the owner of many domain names incorporating its RADIO MARIA trademark, including <radiomariaecuador.org>.

The disputed domain name was registered on January 16, 2012. It currently resolves to a website consisting of a parking page containing several links to other radio stations, which are direct competitors of the Complainant, as well as unrelated advertising links. The website also contains a link, using the words “Inquire about this domain”, to another website which states “radiomariaecuador.com may be for sale!”, and which invites the submission of offers to purchase the disputed domain name for a sum in excess of USD 100.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is almost identical to its RADIO MARIA trademark because the sole difference is the addition of the country name “Ecuador”. It is also identical to the domain name <radiomariaecuador.org> which is owned and used by the Complainant.

The Complainant contends that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name because: (i) the Respondent has not been authorized or licensed by the Complainant to use the disputed domain name; (ii) the Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name; (iii) the disputed domain name is not being used for a bona fide offering of goods and services, nor for any fair or non-commercial use; and (iv) the website to which the disputed domain name resolves contains links to commercial products and other radio competitors, which do not refer to any genuine link or radio affiliated to “Radio Maria”, creating confusion for the public and damaging the image and reputation of the Complainant.

The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith because: (i) the Complainant’s RADIO MARIA trademark is well known around the world and the Respondent, by registering and using the disputed domain name, is exploiting the reputation of the Complainant’s trademark to attract Internet users to a website which is not related to the Complainant; (ii) the Respondent knowingly chose a domain name consisting of the Complainant’s trademark and identical to a domain name owned by the Complainant, namely <radiomariaecuador.org>; (iii) the Complainant is suffering serious damages from the use of the disputed domain name because Internet users might reasonably suppose that Radio Maria is sponsored by, and commercially benefiting from, the entities whose links appear on the website to which the disputed domain name resolves, and might therefore be discouraged from making donations to the Complainant; (iv) Internet users might be led to believe that the disputed domain name is legitimately connected to “Radio Maria” which is untrue; and (v) the Respondent’s commercial gain is evident as it is obvious its sponsoring activity is being remunerated, and the Complainant’s radio competitors are also benefiting by taking illicit advantage of the renown of the Complainant’s RADIO MARIA trademark.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion And Findings

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The disputed domain name incorporates the whole of the Complainant’s trademark RADIO MARIA, and adds the word “Ecuador”, which is an English shortening of Republic of Ecuador. The distinctive component of the disputed domain name is the Complainant’s trademark. The addition of the word “Ecuador” does not lessen the inevitable confusion of the disputed domain name with the Complainant’s trademark. Accordingly, this Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to a trademark in which the Complainant has rights.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Panel agrees that the Respondent is not a licensee of or otherwise affiliated with the Complainant, and has not been authorized by the Complainant to use its RADIO MARIA trademark. The Respondent has not provided any evidence that it has been commonly known by, or has made a bona fide use of the disputed domain name, or that it has, for any other reason, rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The evidence provided by the Complainant shows that the disputed domain name resolves to a website with links to other radio stations that are direct competitors of the Complainant, as well as to unrelated entities. According to the present record, the disputed domain name is not being used in connection with a bona fide offering of goods and services, or for a legitimate noncommercial or fair use. Accordingly, this Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The disputed domain name was registered nineteen years after the Complainant first obtained trademark registration of its RADIO MARIA trademark. The evidence on the record provided by the Complainant with respect to the use of its RADIO MARIA trademark, combined with the absence of any evidence provided by the Respondent to the contrary, is sufficient to satisfy this Panel that, at the time the disputed domain name was registered, the Respondent most likely knew of the Complainant’s trademark and knew that it had no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Furthermore, the evidence on the record provided by the Complainant with respect to the Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name indicates that the Respondent has used the disputed domain name to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to a website by creating confusion with the Complainant’s trademark as to the affiliation of that website. For all these reasons, this Panel is satisfied that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

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 <radiomariaecuador.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Andrew F. Christie
Sole Panelist
Dated: June 25, 2012

 

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