The Complainant is Pernod Ricard, Société Anonyme of Paris, France, internally represented.
The Respondent is VistaPrint Technologies Ltd of Hamilton, Bermuda, Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The disputed domain name <pernod--ricard.com> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with Tucows Inc. (the “Registrar”).
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on June 22, 2016. That day, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name and 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 and 4, the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on June 27, 2016. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was July 17, 2016. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on July 18, 2016.
The Center appointed Alan L. Limbury as the sole panelist in this matter on July 21, 2016. 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 Complainant operates a group of companies that constitute the world’s 2nd leading supplier of wines and spirits. It has registered numerous PERNOD, RICARD and PERNOD RICARD trademarks. For present purposes it is sufficient to note European Union Trade Mark PERNOD RICARD, registered on March 15, 2012, No. 010331874, in classes 09, 16, 25, 35, 36,38,41,42 and 43.
The Complainant uses the domain name <pernod-ricard.com> for its website and employees’ email addresses.
The Domain Name, <pernod--ricard.com> was registered by the Respondent on May 28, 2016. On May 30, 2016, several emails using the Domain Name were sent to employees of the Complainant’s Finance Department. One such email purported to be from the Complainant’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer to the Executive Director of “Pernod Ricard India”, reading: “Can we make payment for a due invoice today? let me know when to send you details”.
The Complainant says the Domain Name is identical to its PERNOD, RICARD and PERNOD RICARD trademarks and that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name, which was registered and is being used in bad faith.
As to legitimacy, the Complainant says the Respondent is a company specializing in printing and is not known by the Domain Name <pernod--ricard.com>. The Respondent has no relation whatsoever with the Complainant and registration of the Domain Name was not authorized by the Complainant.
As to bad faith, the Complainant says the Domain Name <pernod-- ricard.com> is almost identical to the domain name <pernod-ricard.com> used by the Complainant. Its use to create fraudulent email addresses has created a situation very detrimental to the Complainant. The content of the email purporting to be from the Complainant’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer to the Executive Director of “Pernod Ricard India” demonstrates the scam intentions of the author of this fraudulent message.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
In accordance with paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, to obtain transfer of the Domain Name, the Complainant must prove the following three elements: (i) the Respondent’s Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; (ii) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name; and (iii) the Respondent has registered the Domain Name and is using it in bad faith.
Under paragraph 15(a) of the Rules, “A Panel shall decide a complaint on the basis of the statements and documents submitted and in accordance with the Policy, these Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable”.
A respondent is not obliged to participate in a proceeding under the Policy, but if it fails to do so, asserted facts may be taken as true and reasonable inferences may be drawn from the information provided by the complainant. See Reuters Limited v. Global Net 2000, Inc, WIPO Case No. D2000-0441.
The Complainant has shown that it has rights in the registered trade mark PERNOD RICARD.
The Domain Name differs from that mark only in the double hyphen and the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.com”, which is generally regarded as irrelevant for the purpose of determining whether a domain name is identical or confusingly similar: Magnum Piering, Inc. v. The Mudjackers and Garwood S. Wilson, Sr., WIPO Case No. D2000-1525.
It is well established that “essential” or “virtual” identity is sufficient for the purposes of the Policy: The Stanley Works and Stanley Logistics, Inc. v. Camp Creek Co., Inc., WIPO Case No.D2000-0113.
The Panel finds that the Domain Name is essentially identical to the Complainant’s PERNOD RICARD trademark.
The Complainant has established this element.
The Panel finds that the PERNOD RICARD mark is distinctive and widely known. The Complainant’s assertions are sufficient to constitute a prima facie showing of absence of rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name on the part of the Respondent. The evidentiary burden therefore shifts to the Respondent to show that it does have rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name. See Cassava Enterprises Limited, Cassava Enterprises (Gibraltar) Limited v. Victor Chandler International Limited, WIPO Case No. D2004-0753. The Respondent has made no attempt to do so.
In the circumstances of this case, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name.
Paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy sets out the conjunctive requirement that the Complainant establish both that the Respondent has registered the Domain Name in bad faith and that the Respondent is using the Domain Name in bad faith. The illustrative circumstances set out in paragraph 4(b) of the Policy are not exhaustive.
The notoriety of the Complainant’s PERNOD RICARD mark is such that the Respondent must have had actual knowledge of that mark when it registered the Domain Name. The use to which the Domain Name was put only two days later demonstrates that the Domain Name was registered with the intention of seeking to obtain money from the Complainant by false pretences and was used for that purpose.
Accordingly the Panel finds that the Domain Name was 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 Domain Name <pernod--ricard.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Alan L. Limbury
Date: July 25, 2016