World Intellectual Property Organization

WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

ALDI GmbH & Co. KG v. ALDI Einkauf GmbH

Case No. D2012-1594

1. The Parties

The Complainant is ALDI GmbH & Co. KG, of Mülheim, Germany, represented by Schmidt, von der Osten & Huber, Germany.

The Respondent is ALDI Einkauf GmbH, of Beverly Hills, United States of America.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <aldi-service.com> is registered with GoDaddy.com, LLC (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the ”Center”) on August 8, 2012. On August 8, 2012, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On August 8, 2012, the Registrar 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 August 16, 2012. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was September 5, 2012. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on September 12, 2012.

The Center appointed Michael J. Spence as the sole panelist in this matter on September 19, 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 member of the ALDI Group of companies that operate over 8,200 grocery stores across the world. The Complainant has been using the ALDI trademark since 1946 and has registered the mark in a large number of jurisdictions. The Respondent does not appear to be operating under a legitimately registered company. Moreover, when the disputed domain name is entered into a web browser, the Internet user is automatically redirected to a website belonging to one of the Complainant's group of companies. The Respondent does not therefore appear to have made use of the disputed domain name.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name, containing its registered trademark in its entirety, is identical or confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark; that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name; and that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

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 contains the Complainant’s trademark in its entirety. The Panel finds the addition of the descriptive term ‘service’ does nothing to distinguish the disputed domain name from the Complainant’s trademark. There can be no doubt that the domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant's trademark.

The Panel therefore finds that the Complainant has established the first element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy in relation to the disputed domain name.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

It is for the Complainant to establish, at least prima facie, that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name (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).

The Complainant contends that the Respondent is not associated with the Complainant, that the Respondent does not have a trademark for “ALDI”, and is not commonly known by the disputed domain name (specifically, that the alleged name of the Respondent, “ALDI Einkauf GmbH”, is a fake company name). The Panel accepts the Complainant’s prima facie case, and finds no other basis to support a finding of any rights or legitimate interests under the circumstances.

In this case, the fact that the Respondent does not appear to have used the disputed domain name in any way at all except to redirect Internet users to a website operated by one of the Complainant’s group of companies, further supports the contention that it has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

The Panel therefore finds that the Complainant has established the second element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy in relation to the disputed domain name.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

Given the significant international reputation of the Complainant’s group of companies and the strong likelihood of confusion between the disputed domain name and the Complainant’s trademark, and given the absence of any apparent legitimate interest in the use of the disputed domain name on the part of the Respondent, there is a strong likelihood that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith. This conclusion is supported by the fact that the Respondent has adopted an apparently ‘fake’ company name under which to operate, suggesting German antecedents and therefore a connection with the Complainant. It is further supported by the fact that the disputed domain name redirects Internet users to a website operated by one of the Complainant’s group of companies, again suggesting an intention to represent the owner of the disputed domain name as having a connection with the Complainant.

Moreover, the Panel finds the concept of passive holding may be applied under these circumstances, as the only use the Respondent has made of the disputed domain name has been to redirect to the website of the Complainant. In consideration of the above, the Panel determines the Complainant has provided sufficient evidence to establish that the Respondent has registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith.

The Panel therefore finds that the Complainant has established the third element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy in relation to the disputed domain name.

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 <aldi-service.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Michael J. Spence
Sole Panelist
Dated: October 1, 2012

 

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