WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Christian Dior Couture v. Guangxi NanNing IDEA Business Planning Co Ltd. / 张容容
Case No. D2010-2276
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Christian Dior Couture of Paris, France, represented by Cabinet Marc Sabatier, France.
The Respondent is Guangxi NanNing IDEA Business Planning Co Ltd./ 张容容, Guangxi, the People’s Republic of China.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <ladydior.net> is registered with Xiamen eName Network Technology Corporation Limited dba eName Corp. (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on December 27, 2010. On January 4, 2011, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On January 5, 2011, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the disputed domain name which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on January 10, 2011 providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting the Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. The Complainant filed an amendment to the Complaint on January 13, 2011.
The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amendment to 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 January 14, 2011. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was February 3, 2011. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on February 4, 2011.
The Center appointed Francine Tan as the sole panelist in this matter on February 14, 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, Christian Dior Couture, is a French company in the luxury fashion industry. The Complainant’s trade mark DIOR is registered in many countries all over the world including China where the Respondent is located. The trade mark DIOR is registered in respect of goods including shoes, handbags, leather goods, clothing, headgear, and horological and chronometric instruments.
The Complainant owns domain names including <ladydior.com> and <lady-dior.com>.
The Complainant is also known under the corporate name Dior, and the handbag which the late Princess Lady Diana carried and which is sold by the Complainant is known by the name “Lady Dior”. The Complainant submitted in evidence an extract of an article on the “Princess Diana Lady Dior handbag” in which it was referred to as a “cult handbag”.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant asserts that:
1. the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to a trade mark in which it has rights;
2. the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and
3. the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
With regard to point (1) above, the Complainant submits that the disputed domain name is composed of the exact mark of the Complainant, i.e. DIOR. Apart from its worldwide trademark registrations, the mark is also used all over the world. Its reputation throughout the fashion world has been recognized in a few decisions of the Center, in which the domain names <diorline.com> (Christian Dior Couture v. Zbigniew Czapiga, WIPO Case No. D2007-0780), <diormobile.com > and <diorphone.com > (Christian Dior Couture Company v. 301 mozna bldg, WIPO Case No. D2008-0115) were considered by the respective panels to be similar to the Complainant’s DIOR trade marks. The disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trade marks and Internet users are likely to believe that the domain name <ladydior.net> is a website operated by the Complainant.
In relation to point (2), the Complainant submits that no licence, contract or other authorization was granted to the Respondent to register and use the disputed domain name. Furthermore, the Respondent is not commonly known under the disputed domain name <ladydior.net>.
Finally, on the issue of bad faith use and registration, the Complainant submits as follows:
(a) The Complainant Christian Dior Couture is very well known all over the world especially in China. It is therefore not possible for the Respondent not to have known of its existence and of the existence of its trade marks.
(b) The expression “LADY DIOR” has been used by the Complainant for a number of years to designate the famous handbag that Lady Diana carried and this appears on its website.
(c) Advertisements and articles have been published concerning the said LADY DIOR handbag and the Respondent was aware of this collection. The Respondent registered the disputed domain name on March 24, 2010 and on May 7, 2010 sent an email to the Complainant’s attorney in order to sell it by auction to the Complainant. This behaviour proves that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name in bad faith and the disputed domain name was registered for the primary purpose of selling it to the Complainant for profit.
(d) A warning letter was sent by email on July 20, 2010 to the Respondent in order to inform it of the Complainant’s rights and to request a transfer of the disputed domain name. Despite reminders sent, no reply was received from the Respondent.
(e) The disputed domain name is used for a parking page which provides links to other websites for handbags and accessories.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Pursuant to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainant has to prove each of the following in order to obtain the transfer of the disputed domain name:
(i) the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trade mark or service mark in which Complainant has rights; and
(ii) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and
(iii) the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
In light of the evidence submitted, the Panel accepts that the Complainant has rights and worldwide reputation in the trade mark DIOR. Further, the Panel notes and accepts the evidence that the Complainant has rights in the trade mark LADY DIOR albeit no specific evidence of trademark registration was submitted in connection with this mark. As stated in the case of Imperial College v. Christophe Dessimoz, WIPO Case No. D2004-0322:
“It is undisputed and accepted practice, that paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy refers merely to a ‘trade mark or service mark’ in which the complainant has rights, and does not expressly limit the application of the Policy to a registered trademark or service mark. Further, the WIPO Final Report on the Internet Domain Name Process (The Management of Internet Names and Address: Intellectual Property Issues, April 1999), from which the Policy is derived, does not distinguish between registered and unregistered trademarks and service marks in the context of abusive domain names. It is therefore open to conclude that the Policy is applicable to unregistered trademarks and service marks. (The British Broadcasting Corporation v. Jaime Renteria, WIPO Case No. D2000-0050; see also MatchNet plc. v. MAC Trading, WIPO Case No. D2000-0205; Emmanuel Vincent Seal trading as Complete Sports Betting v. Ron Basset, WIPO Case No. D2002-1058).”
The disputed domain name <ladydior.net> incorporates the trade mark DIOR as well as the trade mark LADY DIOR in totality. The Panel finds that the disputed domain name is therefore in effect identical and/or confusingly similar to trade marks in which the Complainant has rights.
The Complainant has therefore succeeded in proving the first element within paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy provides that “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 [the Respondent’s] rights or legitimate interests to the domain name for purposes of Paragraph 4(a)(ii):
“(i) before any notice to [the Respondent] of the dispute, [the Respondent’s] 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) [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 consumers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue.”
The Complainant has in this case asserted and shown that no licence, contract or other authorization has been granted to the Respondent to register and use the disputed domain name. There is also no evidence that the Respondent is commonly known by the disputed domain name <ladydior.net>. The Respondent has not proffered any evidence to contradict these assertions and to establish the contrary to be true. On the other hand, the evidence submitted by the Complainant consisting of the Respondent’s email of May 7, 2010 to the Complainant’s attorneys, barely two months after registering the disputed domain name, does lead the Panel to consider whether this constitutes an admission on the Respondent’s part of its lack of rights or legitimate interests to the disputed domain name. The said email reads as follows:
“We are the owner of the domain name ladydior.net are from China, we know you are the legal owner of the domain ladydior.com, we hope we can transfer the ladydior.net to you, as you know the market in China is the biggest all over the world, and the domain of ladydior.net is well known and accepted by almost Chinese, and it is the most common domain name in China. To show our good faith, we will offer the Auction price or other reasonable price. We hope we can contact all the time, thank you. And we hope we can receive you reply soon.”
The Panel is of the view that the Complainant has satisfied its burden of establishing a prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Respondent has not submitted contrary evidence to prove its rights or legitimate interests. The Panel draws a negative inference from the Respondent’s email and failure to respond to the Complaint and concludes that the Respondent was aware of the Complainant and of its rights in the DIOR and LADY DIOR trade marks, and that it does not have rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
The Complainant therefore succeeds in respect of the second element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The disputed domain name in this case is confusingly similar to a well-known trade mark, DIOR, and/or identical to the trade mark, LADY DIOR. It can be surmised from the above-mentioned email that the Respondent was well aware of the Complainant and of its trade marks, DIOR and LADY DIOR. The Panel is of the view that the Respondent’s offer for sale or auction to the Complainant and the use to which the disputed domain name had been put, namely for a parking page featuring sponsored links to other websites selling handbags and accessories, calculated to attract and mislead Internet users to the site, are circumstances which amount to evidence of bad faith registration and use. Visitors to the Respondent’s website may believe and expect the site to be that of the Complainant’s or endorsed by the Complainant.
The Respondent has therefore,
“by using the domain name, … intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to [its] web site 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 [its] web site or location or of a product or service on [its] web site or location” (paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy).
The Panel also agrees with previous WIPO UDRP decisions which held that the registration of a domain name incorporating a widely recognized or well-known trade mark by someone who has no connection whatsoever with the trade mark is a clear indication of bad faith. See Pepsico, Inc. v. Domain Admin, WIPO Case No. D2006-0435; Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, Maison Fondée en 1772 v. The Polygenix Group Co., WIPO Case No. D2000-0163.
For these reasons, the Panel concludes that the Complainant has established that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Complainant therefore succeeds in respect of the third element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.
For all the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the domain name <ladydior.net> be transferred to the Complainant.
Dated: February 25, 2011