WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Blanco GmbH + Co KG v. Traffic-Domain.com, Roy Lee
Case No. D2012-1799
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Blanco GmbH + Co KG of Oberderdingen, Germany, represented by Melbourne IT DBS AB, Sweden.
The Respondent is Traffic-Domain.com, Roy Lee of Hebei, China.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <blancogermany.com> is registered with Dynadot, LLC (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on September 7, 2012. On September 7, 2012, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On the same date, 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 September 17, 2012. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was October 7, 2012. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on October 8, 2012.
The Center appointed Carol Anne Been as the sole panelist in this matter on October 16, 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 company incorporated in Germany. It alleges that it was founded in Germany in 1925 and is one of the largest producers of kitchen sinks in the world. It has subsidiaries in several European countries as well as in China, Russian Federation, India and the United States of America. The Complainant or its affiliate, Blanco CS GmbH + Co. KG, owns German and Community Trademark registrations for BLANCO, which were issued in 1968 and 2002, respectively. Copies of these two registrations are of record. The Complainant also provided a list of additional registrations, including a registration in China.
The Complainant operates websites including at the domain names <blanco-germany.com> (domain name registered in 1995) and <blanco.co.uk> (domain name registered in 1998).
The Respondent registered the disputed domain name <blancogermany.com> on December 25, 2011, according to the WhoIs record. The Respondent is located in China. The disputed domain name is used for sponsored links.
5. Parties’ Contentions
i. Domain Name Identical or Confusingly Similar to Complainant’s Mark
The Complainant alleges that it owns rights in the registered trademark BLANCO. The Complainant claims to offer products worldwide under its trademark BLANCO, and to spend a significant amount of money promoting and developing this mark. The Complainant contends that its mark has inherent and acquired distinctiveness for its products offered under the mark. The Complainant contends that its mark has a substantial reputation in the kitchen supplies industry, particularly in Germany.
The Complainant alleges that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the Complainant’s mark because it combines the Complainant’s trademark BLANCO with the geographic term “Germany”. The Complainant claims that the geographic term does not distinguish the disputed domain name from the Complainant’s BLANCO mark, but rather strengthens the connection to the Complainant’s mark due to the Complainant’s strong association with Germany.
The Complainant alleges that there is considerable risk that the public will perceive the disputed domain name as a domain name owned by the Complainant or as reflecting a commercial relation between the Complainant and the Respondent.
ii. Respondent’s Rights or Legitimate Interests in the Domain Name
The Complainant states that it has not found any registered trademarks or trade names using the term “blanco” owned by the Respondent. The Complainant alleges that it is not aware of any use of the term “blanco” by the Respondent indicative of legitimate rights in the term. The Respondent’s name does not use the term “blanco”, and the Complainant alleges that there is nothing to suggest the Respondent is commonly known by the term. The Complainant states that it has not authorized the Respondent to use its trademark BLANCO.
The Complainant contends that the Respondent is using the disputed domain name for sponsored links, which does not establish rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
iii. Domain Name Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Complainant alleges that the Respondent registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith to capitalize on the considerable value and goodwill of the Complainant’s mark. The Complainant acknowledges that while its mark BLANCO means “white” in Spanish, use of BLANCO with the geographic term “Germany”, the Complainant’s country of origin, indicates the disputed domain name was registered in bad faith with the Complainant’s trademark in mind.
Prior to filing its Complaint, the Complainant contacted the Respondent requesting transfer of the disputed domain name, but did not receive a response. The Complainant argues a respondent’s lack of response has been considered relevant by other UDRP panels in a finding of bad faith.
The Complainant claims that the website associated with the disputed domain name posts sponsored links as a parked “pay-per-click” website. The “click through revenue” is typically shared between the domain name registrant and the domain name parking service provider. The Complainant argues that where the links are based on a trademark rather than a generic term, other UDRP panels have found bad faith.
The Complainant alleges that the Respondent is not making legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion And Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has established that it holds rights in the trademark BLANCO. The Respondent’s use of the term BLANCO in the disputed domain is identical to the Complainant’s mark. The addition of a geographic term, such as “Germany” in this case, does not affect a finding that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a complainant’s trademark. See, e.g., Playboy Enterprises International, Inc. v. Zeynel Demirtas, WIPO Case No. D2007-0768. Further, the geographic term “Germany” describes the Complainant by stating the Complainant’s country of origin, and thus the disputed domain name is further identified with the Complainant and its trademark.
Thus, the Panel holds that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Respondent has not provided any evidence of circumstances to demonstrate rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Complainant has provided sufficient evidence to show that the Respondent lacks rights to or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, and the Respondent has failed to rebut such evidence by providing the Panel with any of the types of evidence set forth in paragraph 4(c) of the Policy to show that the Respondent has rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. See, e.g., Allianz, Compañía de Seguros y Reaseguros S.A. v. John Michael, WIPO Case No. D2009-0942.
Thus, the Panel holds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy states that it is evidence of bad faith when a respondent, by using the disputed domain name, attempts to attract, for commercial gain, users to its website by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark. In this case, the Respondent registered and used the disputed domain name in a manner that is likely to capture traffic from consumers looking for the Complainant’s websites and to direct such consumers instead to the Respondent’s website associated with the disputed domain name that posts sponsored links and generates “click through revenue” for the Respondent.
Absent any statement from the Respondent to the contrary, the Panel may infer that the Respondent cannot refute the Complainant’s allegations of bad faith. See, e.g., The Vanguard Group v. Lorna Kang, WIPO Case No. D2002-1064.
Thus, the Panel holds that the Respondent registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith.
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 <blancogermany.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Carol Anne Been
Dated: October 30, 2012