WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
The Aldo Group Inc., and Aldo Group International AG. v. Feng Feng, Cai Linlan, and Qi Shen
Case No. D2012-0884
1. The Parties
The Complainants are The Aldo Group Inc. of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and Aldo Group International AG of Baar, Zug, Switzerland, internally represented.
The Respondents are Feng Feng of Caidan, Hubei, China, Cai Linlan of Neijiang, Sichuan, China, and Qi Shen of Fengtai, Anhui, China.
2. The Domain Names and Registrar
The disputed domain names <aldoshoesale.com>, <shopaldonline.com>, and <shopaldoonline.com> are registered with Bizcn.com, Inc.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on April 25, 2012. On April 26, 2012, the Center transmitted by email to Bizcn.com, Inc. a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain names. On April 28, 2012, Bizcn.com, Inc. transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondents are listed as the registrants and providing the contact details. On April 30, 2012, the Center transmitted an email to the parties in both Chinese and English language regarding the language of proceedings. On May 2, 2012, the Complainants confirmed their request that English be the language of proceeding. The 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 the Respondents of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on May 11, 2012. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was May 31, 2012. The Respondents did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondents’ default on June 1, 2012.
The Center appointed Douglas Clark as the sole panelist in this matter on June 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.
Consolidation of proceedings
The Complainants requested that these proceedings against three different individuals proceed in one case on the basis that the websites resolving the disputed domain names are visually identical and from their IT specialist’s investigations it appears the disputed domain names are being forwarded at the Registrar level (so called “stealth forwarding”) to a master domain. On May 11, 2012, the Center accepted there were prima facie grounds for consolidation to be put before the Panel. The Panel accepts the grounds put forward by the Complainants and determines to proceed with the case against the three individuals.
Language of the proceedings
The language of the registration agreements is Chinese. The Complainants requested that the language of these proceedings be English on the basis that the websites the disputed domains resolve to are written solely in English and that at least one of the Respondents communicated in a chat room in English. The Panel determines in the circumstances of this case that the language of proceedings be English.
4. Factual Background
The Complainants are part of a multinational shoe group with a turnover of over USD 1.4 billion for all brands and over USD 1.1 billion for the ALDO brand. The Complainant first opened a shop in China in 2006 and currently has 6 shops in China.
The Complainants have registrations for the trademark ALDO around the world and, in particular, was registered in China in class 25 in 1998. The Complainants also operate a website under the domain name <aldoshoes.com>.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainants contend that the disputed domain names are confusingly similar to its registered trademark ALDO. They are composed of the Complainants’ trademark ALDO and the generic terms “shoe sale”, “shop” and “(o)nline”.
The Complainants further contend that the Respondents have no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names as they have not made any bona fide use of the disputed domain names. Rather the websites under the disputed domain names resolve to pages that appear to be Aldo-sponsored websites.
The Complainants contend that the disputed domain names were registered and are being used in bad faith with the intention of diverting Internet users to their websites (which appear to be Aldo-sponsored websites).
The Respondents did not reply to the Complainants’ contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
This is a very simple case of domain name cybersquatting that the UDRP was designed to stop. The Panel accordingly will only make brief findings.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The disputed domain names <aldoshoesale.com>, <shopaldonline.com>, and <shopaldoonline.com> are composed of the Complainants’ registered trademark ALDO and the generic and/or descriptive words “shoe sale”, “shop” and “(o)nline”. They are confusingly similar to the Complainants’ registered trademark.
According to previous UDRP decisions, the “addition of merely generic, descriptive, or geographical wording to a trademark in a domain name would normally be insufficient in itself to avoid a finding of confusing similarity under the first element of the UDRP” (see paragraph 1.9 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Second Edition (“WIPO Overview 2.0”)).
The first element of the UDRP is made out.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Respondents have not responded to the Complaint to assert any rights or legitimate interests. None of the circumstances in paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, which sets out how a respondent can prove its rights or legitimate interests, are present in this case.
Since the Complainant has made out a prima facie case that the Respondents have not rebutted, the Panel finds that the second element of the UDRP is made out.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel also finds that the disputed domain names <aldoshoesale.com>, <shopaldonline.com>, and <shopaldoonline.com> were registered in bad faith and are being used in bad faith.
The disputed domain names resolve to websites that falsely suggest that these are sponsored by the Complainants.
This case falls within paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy which provides that a registrant has registered and is using a domain name in bad faith where:
“by using the domain name, you have intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to your web site 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 web site or location or of a product or service on your web site or location.”
The third element of the UDRP is made out.
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 names, <aldoshoesale.com>, <shopaldonline.com>, and <shopaldoonline.com> be transferred to the Complainant The Aldo Group Inc.
Dated: July 5, 2012