WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Aktiebolaget Electrolux v. Mohammad Aghakhani
Case No. D2012-1920
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Aktiebolaget Electrolux (“AB Electrolux”), Stockholm, Sweden, represented by Melbourne IT Digital Brand Services, Sweden.
The Respondent is Mohammad Aghakhani, Tehran, Iran (Islamic Republic of Iran).
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <aegiran.com> is registered with OnlineNic, Inc. d/b/a China-Channel.com (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the”Center”) on September 27, 2012. On September 27, 2012, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On September 28, 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 October 3, 2012. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was October 23, 2012. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on November 1, 2012.
The Center appointed Lana I Habash as the sole panelist in this matter on November 20, 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 AB Electrolux, was established in 1901 and is one of the leading producers of appliances and equipment for kitchen and cleaning both for home and professional use. The Complainant is the owner of leading brands including AEG, AEG-ELECTROLUX, ELECTROLUX, ZANUSSI, EUREKA and FRIGIDAIRE.
The use of the trademark AEG dates back to 1887, and the Complainant has registered it as a word mark and a device mark in many countries world wide, including Iran, and the majority of the trademark registrations were made prior to the creation of the disputed domain name. The Complainant also uses the trademark AEG in a number of domain name registrations in different gTLDs and ccTLDs including <aeg.com>.
The disputed domain name <aegiran.com> was registered on May 29, 2012, and currently resolves to a website that displays the term “aeg” in the same font and color as the word mark AEG, and offers online shopping for home appliances products including washing machines, vacuum cleaners and dishwashers.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends the following:
The disputed domain name <aegiran.com> fully incorporates the Complainant’s trademark AEG, which makes it confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark;
The addition of the geographically descriptive term “Iran” is not sufficient to prevent this confusing similarity. In this case, the addition of the term “Iran” does not prevent confusion, rather creates an impression that the website to which the disputed domain name points to is the official website of the Complainant targeting consumers in Iran, and/ or that the Respondent is commercially linked with the Complainant;
The Respondent does not hold any valid registrations for the trademark AEG and is a reseller of the Complainant’s products nor is the Respondent licensed or authorized by the Complainant to use the trademark AEG;
The Respondent cannot claim any actual or contemplated bona fide or legitimate use of the disputed domain name and that the mere registration of the disputed domain name does not give rise to legitimate interest;
The Respondent has registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith. Given the fame of the trademark, it can be concluded beyond doubt that the Respondent intentionally created the disputed domain name, with the possible aim to mislead Internet users looking for information on the Complainant and to divert them from its legitimate website, which will result in tarnishing the Complainant’s trademark;
The Respondent failure to respond to the Complainant’s cease and desist letter in spite of several follow ups and reminders, in addition to the failure to respond to the Complaint support inference of bad faith;
The website to which the disputed domain name resolves to provide currently offers the Complainant’s products for sale, without the Complainant’s authorization also indicate bad faith.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
In order for the Complainant to prevail and have the disputed domain name <aegiran.com> transferred to it, the Complainant must prove the following under the Policy, paragraph 4(a):
- The disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and
- The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and
- The disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has demonstrated its rights to the trademark AEG. The Panel is also satisfied that the Complainant has established the fame of the trademark.
The disputed domain name contains the Complainant’s trademark AEG in its entirety and adding the name of a country “Iran” to the trademark can be perceived as an attempt to create an impression that the Respondent is associated with the Complainant, or that the concerned website is an official website of the Complainant’s targeting the market in Iran.
Paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy is therefore satisfied.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
According to paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy, the following circumstances, if proved, demonstrate a respondent’s rights or legitimate interests in a domain name:
(i) the respondent used or demonstrably prepared to use the domain name or corresponding name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services prior to notice of the dispute;
(ii) the respondent (as an individual, business, or other organization) has been commonly known by the domain name, even if it has not acquired trademark rights; or
(iii) the respondent is making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the complainant’s marks.
The initial view of the website to which the disputed domain name resolves suggests that the website belongs to an authorized dealer or a representative of the Complainant’s in Iran, which is not the case as asserted by the Complainant. The website offers products of the Complainant’s and there is no disclaimer disclosing to Parties’ relationship on the site.
Moreover, the Respondent’s failure to respond to the Complaint supports an inference of a lack of rights or legitimate interests with respect to the disputed domain name. Accordingly, the Complainant has succeeded in making a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, which the Respondent has not rebutted, and as such the Complainant has satisfied the second element under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
For the purposes of paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy, the following circumstances, in particular but without limitation, if found by the Panel to be present, shall be evidence of the registration and use of a domain name in bad faith:
“(i) circumstances indicating that you have registered or you have acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of your documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or
(ii) you have registered the 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 you have engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or
(iii) you have registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or
(iv) 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.”
As discussed under the first element, the Panel is satisfied that the Complainant’s trademark is well-known world wide. Therefore, the Panel is convinced that the Respondent must have had knowledge of the Complainant’s rights in the trademark at the time of registration, particularly noting that the Respondent has added the geographic indicator “Iran” to the Complainant’s trademark, which further supports a finding of registration in bad faith. It is also worth noting that the word AEG appears on the disputed domain name website in the same font and color of the word mark AEG, as displayed on the Complainant’s website “www.aeg.com”.
On the balance of probabilities, the Panel concludes that the Respondent is using the disputed domain name in bad faith, possibly to disrupt the Complainant’s business and/or to create the impression that the Respondent is a commercially associated with the Complainant in Iran.
Therefore, the Panel finds that the Respondent has registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith, and as such paragraph 4(a)(iii) is satisfied.
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, <aegiran.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Lana I Habash
Date: December 2, 2012