WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Swarovski Aktiengesellschaft v. www.swarovski-outlet.org
Case No. D2013-0335
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Swarovski Aktiengesellschaft of Triesen, Liechtenstein, represented by LegalBase (Pvt) Limited, Sri Lanka.
The Respondent is www.swarovski-outlet.org of Sithonia, Halkidiki, Greece.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <swarovski-outlet.org> is registered with Web Commerce Communications Limited dba WebNic.cc (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on February 20, 2013. On February 20, 2013, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On February 21, 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.
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 21, 2013. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was March 13, 2013. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on March 14, 2013.
The Center appointed Desmond J. Ryan as the sole panelist in this matter on March 20, 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.
The Panel notes that the hard copy of the Written Notice of the Complaint was undelivered, the courier record noting that the “Reviewer postcode and / or city are not valid”. The Written Notice of the Complaint was sent to the address shown for the Respondent in the WhoIs for the disputed domain name. The Panel is satisfied that the requirements of paragraph 2(a) of the Rules have been satisfied.
4. Factual Background
The disputed domain name was registered on November 15, 2012.
The Complainant is renowned for its crystal ware, jewelry and other luxury items. It had its origins in Austria in the 19th Century; has production facilities in 18 countries, distribution in 42 countries and a presence in 120 countries. Its products are sold through 1218 of its own boutiques and 1,000 partner-operated boutiques; in 2011 its worldwide revenue was approximately 2.87 billion Euros. It has registrations of its SWAROVSKI trademark and its Swan device trademark in the United States of America dating from 1972 and internationally from 2007 and has been widely publicized in internationally circulated publications such as “Athens News”, “Harpers Bazaar”, “Cosmopolitan” and “Vogue”. The Complainant’s success and the reputation and attractive power of its SWAROVSKI trademark have, unfortunately, made it a prime target for cybersquatters. It has been the subject of over 130 successful complaints under the Policy, many of which have been cited by the Complainant in this Complaint. This case is one of several Complaints currently pending before the Center concerning the trademark SWAROVSKI.
At the date of the Complaint the disputed domain name resolved to a website which offers for sale crystal and other jewelry items under the trademark SWAROVSKI. It displays the Complainant’s SWAROVSKI trademark.
Nothing is known of the Respondent; it is not identified in the WhoIs for the disputed domain otherwise than by the disputed domain name itself.
The Complainant did not attempt to contact the Respondent with a view to settlement before filing the Complaint. The Complainant explains that it does not do so because it has experienced instances of cyber flight leading to delay in resolution of the matter.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant’s submissions, may be summarized as follows:
- The Complainant has exclusive rights in the name and trademark SWAROVSKI by virtue of its extensive and longstanding worldwide reputation and its registration in the United States of America, the European Community and elsewhere.
- The disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark. It wholly incorporates the SWAROVSKI trademark and the added word “outlet” does not serve to distinguish the disputed domain name from the Complainant’s trademark but rather serves to reinforce the similarity.
- The Complainant has no connection or affiliation with the Respondent and has not received any licence or approval to use the disputed domain name.
- The Respondent has never been known by the name Swarovski.
- The Respondent has deliberately misappropriated the Complainant’s mark knowing of its fame and reputation.
- It is inconceivable that the Respondent was not aware of the Complainant’s trademark and the only logical explanation for the adoption of the disputed domain name was to capitalize on the reputation of the Complainant’s mark and to obtain economic advantage from the inevitable confusion to which it would lead.
- The Respondent has used the disputed domain name to create confusion, including initial interest confusion, and to create the impression of an association with the Complainant.
- The Respondent has used the Complainant’s SWAROVSKI trade mark through its website to attract customers for commercial gain by purporting to sell Swarovski products.
- The purported Swarovski products offered at the Respondent’s website are not guaranteed by the Complainant and constitute a blatant infringement of the SWAROVSKI trademark.
- The Respondent, does not identify itself as independent from the Complainant.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant’s trademark is, and has been for many years, a well-known trademark in the field of cut crystal, jewelry and other luxury items. It is registered in the USA, Europe, including Greece, where the Respondent is located, and several other jurisdictions. Over 130 prior Panel decisions under the Policy have recognized that it is a trademark in which the Complainant has rights.
It has been recognized in many prior UDRP panel decisions that where the disputed domain name wholly incorporates the Complainant’s trademark it is not distinguished from the trademark by the addition of generic descriptive words such as “outlet”. As found by the panel in Swarovski Aktiengesellschaft v. Luo Li, WIPO Case No. D2012-1604, such words:
“do not eliminate the identity or at least the similarity between the Complainant’s registered trademark and the disputed domain names”.
The Panel therefore finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the trademark SWAROVSKI in which the Complainant has rights.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant asserts that it has no connection or affiliation with the Respondent and has not given any licence or authority to the Respondent to use the trademark SWAROVSKI in the disputed domain name. The Complainant further asserts that the Respondent has never been known by the disputed domain name. The Complainant has shown examples of the website at the disputed domain name at which items of jewelry are offered for sale under the trade mark SWAROVSKI, clearly suggesting that the goods offered for sale are the genuine goods of the Complainant. The Complainant asserts that this is a blatant infringement. The Respondent has made no attempt to dispute the Complainant’s assertions in this regard. As noted by this Panel in co-pending Swarovski Aktiengesellschaft v. Hellen Admas, WIPO Case No. D2013-0303, “even if the items offered at the Complainant’s website were made by or for the Respondent using genuine Swarovski parts that does not entitle the Respondent to sell the items as Swarovski. A car is not a Rolls Royce merely because it is powered by a Rolls Royce engine”. The Respondent’s use of the Complainant’s trademark cannot constitute a use in the bona fide offering of the Respondent’s goods.
The Panel therefore finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
At the time of registration of the disputed domain name the Complainant’s trademark SWAROVSKI was world famous. As the Complainant submits, it is inconceivable that the Respondent, a person who appears to be engaged in the same industry as the Complainant, would not have known of the Complainant’s mark. The only logical reason for its adoption therefore must have been with bad faith intent to use it to exploit, for commercial gain, the Complainant’s reputation. As demonstrated above, the Respondent has used the disputed domain name for precisely that purpose. The Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name is in bad faith in accordance with paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy. To this Panel, bad faith is further evidenced by the Respondent’s failure to identify itself in the WhoIs for the disputed domain name and the provision of an address which the concerned courier says is not valid. (See for example Hoffmann-La Roche AG v. Onotole Vasermane, WIPO Case No. D2010-2074).
The Panel therefore finds that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used 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 <swarovski-outlet.org> be transferred to the Complainant.
Desmond J. Ryan AM
Date: April 2, 2013