World Intellectual Property Organization

WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Christian Dior Couture v. Kevin Sun

Case No. DME2012-0008

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Christian Dior Couture of Paris, France, represented by Cabinet Marc Sabatier, France.

The Respondent is Kevin Sun of Bellevue, Washington, United States of America.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <christiandior.me> is registered with Dynadot, LLC (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on November 6, 2012. On November 6, 2012, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On November 6, 2012, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response In response to a notification by the Center that the Complaint was deficient, the Complainant filed an amended Complaint on November 13, 2012.

The Center verified that the Complaint satisfied the formal requirements of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy, approved by the doMEn d.o.o (“doMEn”) on April 30, 2008, the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy for .ME, approved by doMEn on October 1, 2012 (the “Rules”), and the WIPO Supplemental Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Supplemental Rules”).

In accordance with paragraphs 2(a) and 4(a) of the Rules, the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on November 16, 2012. In accordance with paragraph 5(a) of the Rules, the due date for Response was December 6, 2012. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on December 11, 2012.

The Center appointed Brigitte Joppich as the sole panelist in this matter on December 27, 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 paragraph 7 of the Rules.

4. Factual Background

The Complainant is one of the world’s top fashion houses, founded by the French fashion designer Christian Dior in 1946.

The Complainant is registered owner of numerous trademark registrations for CHRISTIAN DIOR, inter alia International trademark registration no. 171473 CHRISTIAN DIOR filed on September 12, 1953 and International trademark registration no. 587746 CHRISTIAN DIOR filed on June 5, 1992 (the “CHRISTIAN DIOR Marks”). The CHRISTIAN DIOR Marks have already been found to be well known by previous UDRP panels (cf. Christian Dior Couture v. Yang ChengGuang, WIPO Case No. DCC2010-0005 (<christiandior.cc>); Christian Dior Couture v. Christina Dior/Chris Vella, WIPO Case No. D2009-0032 (<christinadior.com>); Christian Dior Couture v. TP, WIPO Case No. D2007-0877 (<misschristiandior.com>); Christian Dior Couture v. Chanel Perfume/Whois Privacy Protection Service Inc., WIPO Case No. D2007-0876 <christandior.com>)) and cover a broad range of goods, including shoes, handbags, leather goods, clothing, sunglasses, headgear, printed matter, spectacles, and smoker’s articles. Furthermore, the Complainant is registered owner of several domain names incorporating the CHRISTIAN DIOR Marks, inter alia <christiandior.com> and <christiandior.fr>.

The disputed domain name was registered on September 9, 2012 and has not yet been used by the Respondent in connection with an active website. On October 13, 2012, the Respondent contacted the Complainant and offered the disputed domain name for sale. The Complainant replied by stating that the registration of the disputed domain name constituted an infringement of the Complainant’s rights, requesting the transfer of the disputed domain name free of any charges. In turn, the Respondent offered to transfer the disputed domain name at a price of EUR 2,000.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant contends that each of the three elements specified in paragraph 4(a) of the Policy is given in the present case:

(1) The Complainant states that the disputed domain name incorporates the CHRISTIAN DIOR Marks in their entirety and is therefore confusingly similar to such marks.

(2) The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name, as the extension “.me” refers to Montenegro, which is not the home country of the Respondent, as no license, contract or other authorization was granted to the Respondent to register and use the disputed domain name, and as the Respondent is not commonly known under the disputed domain name.

(3) With regard to bad faith, the Complainant states that it is well-known all over the world, that it is impossible not to know about its existence and its trademarks, that the Respondent acted in bad faith when it sent a purchase offer to the Complainant shortly after registering the disputed domain name, that the Respondent chose the disputed domain name in order to take advantage of the notoriety of the CHRISTIAN DIOR Marks and to attract the attention of the public, and that the Respondent’s non-use of the disputed domain name also constitutes bad faith.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

Under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainant must prove that each of the following three elements is present:

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

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

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

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The disputed domain name fully incorporates the Complainant’s CHRISTIAN DIOR Marks and is identical to such marks. It is well established that the specific top level domain is generally not an element of distinctiveness that can be taken into consideration when evaluating the identity or confusing similarity between the complainant’s trademark and the disputed domain name (cf. Magnum Piering, Inc. v. The Mudjackers and Garwood S. Wilson, Sr., WIPO Case No. D2000-1525; Rollerblade, Inc. v. Chris McCrady, WIPO Case No. D2000-0429; Phenomedia AG v. Meta Verzeichnis Com, WIPO Case No. D2001-0374).

Therefore, the Panel finds the Complainant has satisfied the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy sets out three illustrative circumstances as examples which, if established by a respondent, shall demonstrate its rights to or legitimate interests in the domain name for purposes of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy, i.e.:

(i) before any notice to the respondent of the dispute, the use by the respondent 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) the respondent (as an individual, business or other organization) has been commonly known by the domain name, even if the respondent has acquired no trademark or service mark rights; or

(iii) the respondent is making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert customers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue.

Even though the Policy requires the complainant to prove that the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, it is consensus view among UDPR panels that a complainant has to make only a prima facie case to fulfill the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy. As a result, the burden of coming forward with evidence of the respondent’s rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name will then shift to the respondent.

The Complainant has substantiated that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Panel finds that the Complainant has fulfilled its obligations under paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.

The Respondent did not deny these assertions in any way and therefore failed to prove any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

Based on the evidence before the Panel, the Respondent cannot rely on any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name as it has not yet used the disputed domain name and is not commonly known by the disputed domain name either.

Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Complainant has proven that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name under paragraphs 4(a)(ii) and 4(c) of the Policy.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy sets out four illustrative circumstances, which are evidence of the registration and use of the domain name in bad faith for purposes of paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy, i.e.:

(i) circumstances indicating that the respondent has registered or 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 that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of the respondent’s 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 on line 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 its website or location.

The Panel is satisfied that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name with full knowledge of the Complainant. The Complainant’s CHRISTIAN DIOR Marks are highly distinctive and well-known. It is therefore inconceivable that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name without any knowledge of the Complainant.

As the disputed domain name is not actively used by the Respondent, the Panel has to decide whether or not the Respondent’s (non-)use of the disputed domain name is to be considered as bad faith use under the Policy.

It is consensus view that the lack of an active use of a domain name does not as such prevent a finding of bad faith. In such cases the panel must examine all circumstances of the case to determine whether a respondent is acting in bad faith. Examples of circumstances that can indicate bad faith include a complainant having a well-known trademark, no response to the complaint, concealment of identity and the impossibility of conceiving a good faith use of the domain name (see Telstra Corporation Limited v. Nuclear Marshmallows, WIPO Case No. D2000-0003; Jupiters Limited v. Aaron Hall, WIPO Case No. D2000-0574; Ladbroke Group Plc v. Sonoma International LDC, WIPO Case No. D2002-0131).

The Complainant provided evidence that the CHRISTIAN DIOR Marks are well-known, while the Respondent failed to provide evidence of any actual or contemplated good faith use, although it had been contacted by the Complainant. Furthermore, the fact that the disputed domain name fully incorporates the Complainant’s highly distinctive CHRISTIAN DIOR Marks is rendering the wrong impression that the disputed domain name is somehow related to the Complainant. As a result, Internet users might mistakenly enter to the disputed domain name when searching for the Complainant’s services or website.

In the view of the Panel, the facts of this case do not allow for any plausible actual or contemplated active use of the disputed domain name by the Respondent in good faith. The Panel is therefore convinced that, even though the disputed domain name has not yet been actively used, the Respondent’s non-use of the domain name equals use in bad faith.

The finding of bad faith is supported by the fact that the Respondent offered the disputed domain name for sale to the Complainant by way of an unsolicited email on October 13, 2012. As the selling price in the amount of EUR 2,000 exceeds by far the Respondent’s out-of-pocket costs directly related to the acquisition of the disputed domain name, the Panel is satisfied that the disputed domain name was registered primarily for the purpose of selling it to the Complainant and therefore in bad faith under paragraph 4(b)(i) of the Policy.

Consequently, the Panel finds that the Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith and that the Complainant has thus satisfied the requirements of 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 disputed domain name <christiandior.me> be transferred to the Complainant.

Brigitte Joppich
Sole Panelist
Date: January 8, 2013

 

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