WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Christian Dior Couture v. Wang Liang
Case No. D2013-0286
1. The Parties
Complainant is Christian Dior Couture of Paris, France, represented by Cabinet Marc Sabatier, France.
Respondent is Wang Liang of Shanghai, China.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <diorjapan.com> is registered with GoDaddy.com, LLC (“Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (“Center”) on February 11, 2013. On February 11, 2013, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On February 11, 2013, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing contact details and other information pertaining to the registration.
The Center verified that the Complaint satisfied the formal requirements of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (“Policy” or “UDRP”), the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (“Rules”), and the WIPO Supplemental Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (“Supplemental Rules”).
In accordance with the Rules, paragraphs 2(a) and 4(a), the Center formally notified Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on February 13, 2013. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was March 5, 2013. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on March 6, 2013. On March 6, 2013, the Center received two email communications from Respondent to the Notification of Respondent Default; the communications were in non-English characters.1
The Center appointed Debra J. Stanek as the sole panelist in this matter on March 12, 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
Complainant owns trademark registrations for the mark DIOR, including an International Trademark and a Japanese trademark, both of which are for handbags, along with other items. The International Trademark registration was issued in 1993. The mark is well-known worldwide for clothing, handbags, shoes, and numerous other items of apparel and accessories.
The disputed domain name was registered on August 20, 2012. At some point, the domain name was used in connection with a website that displays links to other sites, including those that appear to offer handbags. The site also displayed “related search” results, including handbags by other companies, such as Prada and Fendi. In January 2013, Complainant contacted Respondent by email to object to its use of the domain name, but did not receive any response. Currently, the website to which the disputed domain name resolves is inactive.
5. Parties’ Contentions
1. Identical or Confusingly Similar
Complainant owns registrations for, and uses its DIOR trademark worldwide for an array of apparel, accessories, and other items, including handbags. It relies on two registrations, as mentioned above, the first of which was registered in 1993. In addition, Complainant has twenty-two stores in Japan and at least twelve stores in China, where Respondent is located.
The disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s DIOR trademark.
2. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Respondent has no right to the disputed domain name <diorjapan.com>.
Respondent has not been authorized by Complainant to use the domain name and is not commonly known by the domain name.
3. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith.
Respondent did not respond to Complainant’s communication advising it of Complainant’s rights in the DIOR mark and requesting transfer of the domain name.
Complainant’s DIOR mark is well-known throughout the world, including in Japan and China, making it impossible for Respondent not to have been aware of the mark.
The website associated with the domain name is a parking site that displays links to competitors of Complainant, such as Chanel, Prada, Fendi, Gucci, etc., as well as links to sites that offer Dior handbags.
Respondent is attempting to attract visitors to the sites, using Complainant’s mark, for Respondent’s own commercial gain. Respondent generates pay-per-click revenue.
Other than the two email communications of March 6, 2013, Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
In order to prevail, a complainant must prove, as to the disputed domain name, that:
(i) It is identical or confusingly similar to a mark in which the complainant has rights.
(ii) The respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect to it.
(iii) It has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Policy sets out examples of circumstances that may evidence a respondent’s rights or legitimate interests in a domain name, see paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, as well as circumstances that may evidence a respondent’s bad faith registration and use, see paragraph 4(b) of the Policy.
Although Respondent has not submitted a formal answer to the Complaint, this does not automatically result in a finding for Complainant. Rather, Complainant continues to have the burden of establishing the required elements. The Panel may, however, draw such inferences from Respondent’s default as it considers appropriate. See paragraph 14(b) of the Rules.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
Complainant has established its rights in the mark DIOR through its trademark registrations.
The disputed domain name is not identical to Complainant’s mark. Therefore Complainant must establish that it is confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark, determined with reference to the degree of resemblance between the domain name and mark at issue as to appearance, sound, and meaning. Here, the domain name begins with the DIOR mark, followed by a geographic term – “Japan.”
The Panel is of the view that, as a general matter, a domain name is likely to be confusingly similar to a mark if it incorporates the mark or a variation of the mark.2 The Panel finds that Complainant has established that the domain name is confusingly similar to its DIOR mark. The term “dior” appears to be the dominant portion of the domain name, followed by the geographically descriptive term “Japan”. The addition of the name of a country (even absent the space between the two terms and the addition of the generic Top-Level Domain “.com”, which are not relevant for these purposes), does not sufficiently differentiate or distinguish the domain name from Complainant’s mark.
The Panel finds that the domain name is confusingly similar to a mark in which Complainant has rights.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Panel, consistent with the consensus view, finds that a complainant may establish that a respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of a domain name by making a prima facie showing that a respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests. See paragraph 2.1 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Second Edition, (“WIPO Overview 2.0”), (once complainant makes a prima facie case, the burden of showing rights or legitimate interests in the domain name shifts to respondent).
Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy sets out the following examples:
“(i) before any notice to you of the dispute, your use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the domain name or a name corresponding to the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; or
(ii) you (as an individual, business, or other organization) have been commonly known by the domain name, even if you have acquired no trademark or service mark rights; or
(iii) you are making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue.”
The Panel finds that Complainant has made a prima facie showing as to the examples set out in the Policy.
There is no reason to believe, from the WhoIs record or otherwise, that Respondent is or could be known by the disputed domain name.3 It does not appear that Respondent is making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name. The domain name was used with a website that appears to have generated “click through” revenue.
The Panel concludes that Complainant has established that Respondent lacks any rights or legitimate interests in the domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Complainant must establish that the domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith. The Policy sets out four circumstances, evidence of which may establish bad faith (see Policy, paragraph 4(b)(i)-(iv)):
(1) Registering the domain name primarily to sell it for more than documented out-of-pocket costs; (see Policy, paragraph 4(b)(i)).
(2) Registering the domain name to prevent the owner of the trademark from reflecting the mark in a domain name, where there is a pattern of such conduct (see Policy, paragraph 4(b)(ii)).
(3) Registering the domain name primarily to disrupt the business of a competitor (see Policy, paragraph 4(b)(iii)).
(4) Using the domain name to intentionally attempt to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to [respondent’s] web site or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of [respondent’s] web site or location or a product or service on [the respondent’s] web site or location, (see Policy, paragraph 4(b)(iv))..
Complainant’s rights in the DIOR mark long predate registration of the disputed domain name and the Panel finds it is most probable that Respondent registered the domain name knowing of Complainant’s DIOR mark and in an attempt to attract to his website, for commercial gain, visitors who were confused as to the connection between Complainant and its mark and the website.
Under these circumstances, the Panel finds that Complainant has established that Respondent registered and is using the 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 <diorjapan.com> be transferred to Complainant.
Debra J. Stanek
Date: March 25, 2013
1 At the request of the Panel, the Center provided the following translations: “Hello! What do you want to do with this domain name? I didn’t do anything related to DIOR! If you want, you can just pay some money and buy it! I bought this domain name to set up a website”, and “Hello! I recently bought this domain name…What do you want to do now? I didn’t engage in any infringing activity!”
2 Although such a finding is not automatic, no argument on this point has been presented by Respondent.
3 While “Dior” may be a surname, there is no evidence that Respondent is using the term in that fashion.