World Intellectual Property Organization

WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Lancôme Parfums Et Beauté Et Compagnie v. Huweisheng

Case No. D2013-0270

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Lancôme Parfums Et Beauté Et Compagnie of Paris, France, represented by Dreyfus & associés, France.

The Respondent is Huweisheng of Hefei, Anhui, China.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <lancomlife.com> is registered with Guangzhou Ming Yang Information Technology Co., Ltd (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on February 8, 2013. On February 8, 2013, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On February 17, 2013, 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. On February 20, 2013, the Center transmitted an email to the parties in both Chinese and English language regarding the language of the proceeding. On February 20, 2013, the Complainant confirmed its request that English be the language of the proceeding. The Respondent did not comment on the language of the proceeding 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on February 26, 2013. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was March 18, 2013. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on March 19, 2013.

The Center appointed Kimberley Chen Nobles as the sole panelist in this matter on April 2, 2013. 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 subsidiary of L’Oréal, a French industrial group specialized in the field of cosmetics and beauty. In particular, the Complainant specializes in products in the skincare and make-up markets. The Complainant owns trademark LANCÔME that are registered internationally, including in Europe, United States of America, and China.

The Respondent is based in China, and offers on the website connected to the disputed domain name links to other websites that sell cosmetics and beauty products.

The disputed domain name was registered by the Respondent on April 8, 2012.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant contends that its trademark and products are world renowned, and that it is the world’s number one luxury beauty brand in selective skincare and make-up markets. The Complainant contends that it owns numerous LANCÔME trademarks throughout the world and numerous domain names incorporating the trademark, including <lancome.com>, <lancome-usa.com>, and <lancome.com.cn>.

The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the trademark. The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name differs from the trademark only in the omission of the letter E and the circumflex accent, and in the addition of the generic term “life”. The Complainant contends that these differences are insufficient to avoid any likelihood of confusion between the Complainant’s LANCÔME trademark and the disputed domain name. The Complainant contends that the addition of the term “life” only strengthens the likelihood of confusion because it suggests a relation to anti-aging skincare products marketed by the Complainant under the brand LANCÔME. The Complainant further contends that the disputed domain name constitutes typo-squatting by deliberately attempting to divert Internet users who make a common error or spelling mistake, such as dropping the E in LANCÔME, to the website.

The Complainant contends that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect to the disputed domain name. Specifically, the Complainant contends that (i) the Respondent is not commonly known by the name LANCÔME, (ii) the Respondent has no connection or affiliation with the Complainant, (iii) the Complainant has not licensed or otherwise authorized the Respondent to use the LANCÔME trademark in the disputed domain name, and (iv) the Respondent does not use the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services because the website operating under the disputed domain name displays commercial links to websites selling competing products.

The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name was registered and used in bad faith. Specifically, the Complainant contends that (i) due to the worldwide notoriety of the LANCÔME trademark, the Respondent knew of the trademark at the time of the registration of the disputed domain name, (ii) the Respondent registered and used the disputed domain name to trade on the Complainant’s reputation and good will, (iii) the website displays links to websites selling competing cosmetic and beauty products and also has a link that reproduces the Complainant’s trademark, (iv) the registration and use of the disputed domain name constitutes typo-squatting of the Complainant’s trademark, and (v) the Respondent is offering the disputed domain name for sale on the website.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

6.1 Language of the Proceedings

The language of the Registration Agreement for the disputed domain name is Chinese. Paragraph 11(a) of the Rules provides that “unless otherwise agreed by the Parties, or specified otherwise in the Registration Agreement, the language of the administrative proceeding shall be the language of the Registration Agreement, subject to the authority of the Panel to determine otherwise, having regard to the circumstances of the administrative proceeding.”

In deciding whether to allow the proceedings to be conducted in a language other than the language of the Registration Agreement, and to require the Complainant in an appropriate case to translate the Complaint into the language of that agreement, the Panel must have regard to all the relevant circumstances. The factors that the Panel should take into consideration include whether the Respondent is able to understand and effectively communicate in the language in which the Complaint has been made and would suffer no real prejudice.

On February 20, 2013, the Center transmitted an email to the parties in both Chinese and English language regarding the language of the proceeding. On the same day, the Complainant confirmed its request that English be the language of the proceeding. Also on February 20, 2013, the Center informed the Respondent of the Complainant’s request and invited the Respondent to object to the request. The Respondent was further informed that if the Center does not hear from the Respondent by a certain date, the Center would proceed on the basis that the Respondent has no objection to the Complainant’s request that English be the language of the proceedings. The Respondent did not comment on the language of the proceeding by the specified due date.

The Panelist notes that evidence offered by the Complainant shows that the Respondent’s website includes links in English. The Panelist notes that evidence offered by the Complainant further shows that the language of the Registration Agreement is displayed in both English and Chinese on the registrar’s website. The disputed domain name also includes the English term “life”. The Panelist is prepared to infer that the Respondent is able to understand and communicate in English based on the content of its website in English.

Taking all these circumstances into account, the Panelist finds that it is appropriate to exercise its discretion and allow the proceedings to be conducted in English.

Discussion of the Merits

According to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, in order to succeed, the Complainant must establish each of the following elements:

(i) The disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights;

(ii) The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and

(iii) The disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Complainant has submitted evidence of ownership of trademark registrations in various jurisdictions for the trademark LANCÔME. The disputed domain name incorporates the trademark, albeit with the omission of the letter E and the circumflex accent, and adding the term “life” thereafter.

The threshold test for confusing similarity under the UDRP involves a comparison between the trademark and the domain name itself to determine likelihood of Internet user confusion. In order to satisfy this test, the relevant trademark would generally need to be recognizable as such within the domain name, with the addition of common, dictionary, descriptive, or negative terms typically being regarded as insufficient to prevent threshold Internet user confusion. The Panelist finds that due to the fame of LANCÔME trademark, the omission of the letter E and the circumflex accent in the disputed domain name <lancomlife.com> does not make the registered trademark less recognizable within the disputed domain name. The addition of the descriptive term “life” does little, if anything, to dispel the confusion. On the contrary, the likelihood of confusion is strengthened, particularly since the Complainant sells anti-aging skincare products using the trademark LANCÔME.

This Panelist accordingly finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s LANCÔME trademark, in which the Complainant has rights.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Complainant contends that no license or authorization of any kind has been given by the Complainant to the Respondent to use the LANCÔME trademark. The Complainant further contends that the Respondent is not using the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods because the Respondent is trading on the fame of the Complainant’s trademark.

The Panelist is satisfied that the Complainant has made out a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Once such prima facie case is made, the burden of production shifts to the Respondent to come forward with appropriate allegations or evidence that demonstrate rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

The Panelist notes that the Respondent did not file any response to the Complaint and accordingly did not contest any of the facts stated in the Complaint. In the absence of any response, the Respondent has failed to satisfy the Panelist that there are in fact any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

The Panelist accordingly finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy provides that the Complainant may demonstrate that the disputed domain name has been registered and used in bad faith by making a showing that the Respondent, in using the domain name, has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to the 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 the web site or location or of a product or service on the web site or location.

The Complainant alleges that due to the fame and goodwill of the Complainant’s trademark, the Respondent intentionally registered and used the disputed domain name to attract Internet users to the website operating under the disputed domain name. The Complainant further alleges that the Respondent displays on the website commercial links to other websites that sell competing cosmetic and beauty products. The Complainant further alleges that one link on the website reproduces the Complainant’s trademark. An examination of the website reveals headings or links that include Lancôme cosmetics. Respondent has not submitted any evidence to rebut the Complainant’s claims in the Complaint. In the absence of such evidence, the Panelist accepts the Complainant’s contentions that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used with knowledge of the Complainant’s LANCÔME trademarks and in bad faith.

This Panelist accordingly finds that the Respondent has registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith.

7. Decision

For the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panelist orders that the disputed domain name <lancomlife.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Kimberley Chen Nobles
Sole Panelist
Date: April 21, 2013

 

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