World Intellectual Property Organization

WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Chrome Hearts LLC v. James Hart

Case No. DCC2011-0005

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Chrome Hearts LLC of Hollywood, California, United States of America, represented by Tucker & Latifi, LLP, United States of America.

The Respondent is James Hart of Bromley, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <chromehearts.cc> is registered with GoDaddy.com, Inc. (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on September 9, 2011. On September 12, 2011, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On September 12, 2011, 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 20, 2011. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was October 10, 2011. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on October 12, 2011.

The Center appointed Sir Ian Barker as the sole panelist in this matter on November 8, 2011. 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 and an affiliated Japanese company, Chrome Hearts Japan Limited, are the owners of the CHROMEHEARTS trademarks and service marks. The Complainant is the manufacturer of “Chrome Hearts” branded products and has established a chain of “Chrome Hearts” boutiques around the world, including one in London. The Complainant has the exclusive right to use the CHROME HEARTS trademarks and it owns trademarks in over 50 countries throughout the world.

The Complainant has been designing, manufacturing and selling leather goods, apparel, jewellery, handbags and furniture since 1989. It has won awards for its jewellery design and its products are worn by various celebrities. Its products are all hand-made in Los Angeles. Since 1991, the Complainant’s products have generated sales at retail of over USD 1 billion. The Complainant has been using the domain name <chromehearts.com> since 1997.

The Respondent registered the disputed domain name on August 25, 2011. Accessed by the disputed domain name is a website selling counterfeit copies of the Complainant’s products, notably Chrome Hearts jewellery. The Complainant has not authorised nor licensed the Respondent to use its trademark in any way. The Complainant has established considerable goodwill in establishing the quality of its mark and products over many years and in many countries.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The disputed domain name is identical to the trademarks in which the Complainant has rights.

The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name. He was not authorised or licensed by the Respondent in any way. He is not commonly known by the disputed domain name and there is no legitimate business reason for his selling counterfeit goods under the Complainant’s trademark on his website.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

Under Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, in order to prevail, a complainant must prove the following elements of a claim for transfer or cancellation of a respondent’s domain name:

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

(ii) that the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name; and

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

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The disputed domain name is identical to the numerous trademarks in which the Complainant has rights and therefore paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy is established.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Complainant gave the Respondent no license or consent for the Respondent to reflect the Complainant’s trademark in the disputed domain name. In the absence of any Response from the Respondent, that is enough to satisfy paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy. The Respondent could have set up a defence under paragraph 4(c) of the Policy but has not done so. Thus, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

This is a blatant case of cyber-squatting – attempting to sell counterfeit goods utilizing the Complainant’s mark. The fame of the Complainant’s trademark, the extent of its worldwide coverage and the general knowledge of the quality of its products make it an irresistible inference that the disputed domain name was registered in bad faith. The fact that counterfeit goods are being sold through this medium indicates that the disputed domain name is being used in bad faith.

The Panel finds that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.

7. Decision

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 <chromehearts.cc> be transferred to the Complainant.

Sir Ian Barker
Sole Panelist
Dated: November 18, 2011

 

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