World Intellectual Property Organization

WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Missoni S.p.A. v. Votouch

Case No. DCO2012-0029

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Missoni S.p.A. of Sumirago, Italy, represented by Dr. Modiano & Associati S.p.A., Italy.

The Respondent is Votouch of Beijing, China.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain names <missonihome.co> and <mmissoni.co> (the “Domain Names”) are registered with GoDaddy.com, LLC (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on September 4, 2012. On September 4, 2012, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Names. On September 5, 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 September 18, 2012. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was October 8, 2012. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on October 9, 2012.

The Center appointed Nicholas Smith as the sole panelist in this matter on October 19, 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 is an Italian fashion company having its principal place of business in Sumirago, Italy. The Complainant shares a name with its principal designer, Mr Ottavio Missoni. The Complainant is involved in the design and sale of various items of fashion, including both men’s and women’s clothing.

The Complainant has held trade mark registrations since 1969, when it registered MISSONI in Italy. It has held trade mark registrations for MISSIONI HOME and a figurative mark consisting of the letter “M” and the word “MISSIONI” (collectively the “MISSONI Marks”) since 2009 and 1998 respectively. The MISSONI Marks are registered in numerous countries, including Italy and the United States of America.

The Domain Names were registered on March 11, 2012. The Domain Names redirect to websites which consist of a series of sponsored links to third party sites, some of which have some relation to the Complainant and the fashion industry generally.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant makes the following contentions:

(i) that the Domain Names are identical or confusingly similar to the Complainant’s MISSONI Marks;

(ii) that the Respondent has no rights nor any legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Names; and

(iii) that the Domain Names have been registered and are being used in bad faith.

The Complainant is the owner of the MISSONI Marks. It owns trademark registrations for the MISSONI Marks and promotes and markets its products in almost every country around the world. The Complainant’s registrations of the MISSONI Marks pre-date the registration of the Domain Names. The only differences between the Domain Names and the MISSONI Marks consist of the addition of the country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) “.co”. This technical difference (i.e. the ccTLD) is irrelevant and insufficient to avoid confusion between the MISSONI Marks and the Domain Names.

The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Names. The Respondent is not an authorised user of the MISSONI Marks nor is the Respondent authorised or affiliated with the Complainant. There is no evidence that the Respondent has used the Domain Names for any valid purpose, rather it appears that the Domain Names are offered for sale to the public. This does not amount to use of the Domain Names for a bona fide offering of goods and services, nor is the Respondent is making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the Domain Names.

The Domain Names were registered and are being used in bad faith. The Respondent registered the Domain Names in bad faith because they were registered with the knowledge of the Complainant’s rights in the MISSONI Marks. The MISSONI Marks are marks with worldwide renown, as seen in the many previous UDRP decisions involving the Complainant. Furthermore, the Respondent registered two domain names that are identical to two different trademarks of the Complainant, this cannot be considered a coincidence. The use of the MISSONI Marks in the Domain Names makes it difficult to infer a legitimate use of these domain names by the Respondent. No plausible explanation exists as to why the Respondent selected the Domain Names other than to trade on the goodwill of the MISSONI Marks. The Respondent registered the Domain Names to sell them and at the same time to gain money through the use of sponsored links. This amounts to the registration and use of the Domain Names in bad faith.

B. Respondent

The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions. On September 4, 2012, in response to a notification from the Complainant that a UDRP proceeding had been filed, the Respondent wrote to the Complainant stating “if you want to these two domain i will sell you € 800 at all”. No further communication has been received from the Respondent.

6. Discussion and Findings

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

To prove this element the Complainant must have trade or service mark rights and the Domain Names must be identical or confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trade or service mark(s).

The Complainant is the owner of the MISSONI Marks, having registrations for the word mark MISSONI HOME and a figurative mark consisting of “MISSONI” and a large “M” as trade marks.

The Domain Names consists of each of the MISSONI Marks in their entirety, with no additions or variations. The Panel finds that the Domain Names are identical, or at the minimum confusingly similar to the Complainant’s MISSONI Marks. Consequently, the requirement of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy is satisfied.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

To succeed on this element, a complainant must make out a prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. If such a prima facie case is made out, then the burden of production shifts to the respondent to demonstrate rights or legitimate interests in the domain name.

Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy enumerates several ways in which a respondent may demonstrate rights or legitimate interests in a domain name:

“Any of the following circumstances, in particular but without limitation, if found by the panel to be proved based on its evaluation of all evidence presented, shall demonstrate your rights or legitimate interests to the domain name for purposes of paragraph 4(a)(ii):

(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 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.” (Policy, paragraph 4(c)).

The Respondent is not affiliated with the Complainant in any way. It has not been authorized by the Complainant to register or use the Domain Names or to seek the registration of any domain name incorporating the MISSONI Marks. There is no evidence that the Respondent is commonly known by the Domain Names or any similar name. There is no evidence that the Respondent has used or made demonstrable preparations to use the Domain Names in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services or for a legitimate noncommercial use. Rather it appears that the Respondent has offered the Domain Names for sale at the website “www.sedo.co.uk”. This does not amount to a right or legitimate interest in the Domain Names.

The Complainant has established a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Names. The Respondent has had an opportunity to rebut the presumption that it lacks rights or legitimate interests but it has chosen not to do so. The Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Names under paragraph 4(a)(ii) 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 the Domain Names in bad faith:

(i) circumstances indicating that the Respondent has registered or has 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 trade mark or service mark or to a competitor of the Complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of its documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the Domain Name; or

(ii) the Respondent has registered the Domain Name in order to prevent the owner of the trade mark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that the Respondent has engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or

(iii) the Respondent has registered the Domain Name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or

(iv) by using the Domain Name, the Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website or other online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the Respondent’s website or location or of a product or service on the Respondent’s website or location.

The Panel finds that the Respondent was aware of the Complainant and its reputation in the MISSONI Marks at the time the Domain Names were registered. The Respondent registered two domain names that are identical to two separate trade marks owned by the Complainant. This is unlikely to be co-incidental. Furthermore, the MISSONI Marks are a coined terms with no apparent descriptive or generic meanings and as such nobody would choose to register the Domain Names unless seeking to create an association with the Complainant. The Respondent has provided no alternative explanation, either in this proceeding or in correspondence with the Complainant, for its registration of the Domain Names. The registration of the Domain Names in awareness of the Complainant’s MISSONI Marks and in the absence of rights or legitimate interests amounts to registration in bad faith.

The Domain Names have been listed for sale on the website “www.sedo.co.uk” for a fee of EUR 500 each. Upon receipt of the Complainant, the Respondent offered to sell each of the Domain Names to the Complainant for EUR 800. Each of these amounts is well in excess of any identified out-of-pocket costs directly related to the Domain Names. The Domain Names themselves currently re-direct to parking pages which contain sponsored links, some of which relate to the Complainant.

In the circumstances where the Domain Names were registered by a party with knowledge of the Complainant, with no rights or legitimate interests, have never been used in any legitimate manner and have been offered for sale for a significant sum of money, the Panel is prepared to conclude that the Respondent registered the Domain Names primarily for the purpose of selling the Domain Names to the Complainant or to a competitor of the Complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of its documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the Domain Name. This amounts to use of the Domain Names in bad faith pursuant to paragraph 4(b)(i) of the Policy.

Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Respondent has registered and is using the Domain Names in bad faith under paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.

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 Domain Names <missonihome.co> and <mmissoni.co> be transferred to the Complainant.

Nicholas Smith
Sole Panelist
Dated: October 30, 2012

 

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