WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Aktiebolaget Electrolux v. DomainsByProxy.com / Plessers Appliances
Case No. D2011-0317
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Aktiebolaget Electrolux of Stockholm, Sweden, represented by Melbourne IT Digital Brand Services AB, Sweden.
The Respondent is DomainsByProxy.com / Plessers Appliances of Scottsdale, Arizona, United States of America and of Babylon, New York, United States of America respectively.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <buy-electrolux.com> is registered with GoDaddy.com, Inc.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on February 16, 2011. On February 16, 2011, the Center transmitted by email to GoDaddy.com, Inc. a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On February 17, 2011, GoDaddy.com, Inc. 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 February 18, 2011, providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by GoDaddy.com, Inc., and inviting the Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. The Complainant filed an amendment to the Complaint on February 21, 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 February 21, 2011. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was March 13, 2011. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on March 14, 2011.
The Center appointed George R.F. Souter as the sole panelist in this matter on March 17, 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, AB Electrolux (“Electrolux”), is a Swedish joint stock company founded in 1901 and registered as a Swedish company in 1919. Electrolux is a world leading producer of appliances and equipment for kitchen and cleaning. Electrolux is also one of the largest producers in the world of similar equipment for professional users.
Electrolux is a global leader in home appliances and appliances for professional use, selling more than 40 million products to customers in 150 countries every year. Electrolux products include refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, vacuum cleaners and cookers sold under brands such as Electrolux, AEG, AEG-Electrolux, Zanussi, Eureka and Frigidaire. In 2009, Electrolux had sales of SEK 109 billion and employed 51,000 employees. Electrolux operates as a global company, including in the United States.
The Complainant has registered the trademark ELECTROLUX as a word and figure mark in several classes in more than 150 countries all over the world.
The Complainant is active on the Internet, and has registered its trademark ELECTROLUX as a domain name under almost 700 gTLDs and ccTLDs worldwide, including the domain name registrations <Electrolux.com>, <Electrolux.info>, <Electrolux.net> and <Electrolux.org>.
The disputed domain name was registered on September 24, 2010, several decades after the worldwide registrations of the Complainant’s trademark.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that its trademark ELECTROLUX is a well-known trademark.
The Complainant alleges that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to its ELECTROLUX trademark.
The Complainant has not found that the Respondent has any registered trademarks or trade names corresponding to the disputed domain name and no license or authorization of any other kind has been given by the Complainant to the Respondent to use the trademark. The Complainant has drawn the Panel’s attention to the decision in Guerlain S.A. v. Peikang, WIPO Case No. D2000-0055, to the effect that “in the absence of any license or permission from the Complainant to use any of its trademarks or to apply for or use any domain name incorporating those trademarks, it is clear that no actual or contemplated bona fide or legitimate use of the domain name could be claimed by Respondent”, and to subsequent cases agreeing with this conclusion.
The Complainant alleges that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith, and has provided evidence to the Panel that the disputed domain name is being used in connection with a website where sponsored links are displayed.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
In accordance with paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainant must prove that each of the three elements is present:
(i) the disputed domain name registered by the Respondent 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 disputed domain name; and
(iii) the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
ELECTROLUX is clearly a widely known mark. Successive panels in proceedings under the Policy have been consistent in regarding inconsequential additions to a widely known trademark in a domain name as insufficient to escape the finding that disputed domain names are confusingly similar to widely known trademarks involved. The Panel finds that the exhortative word “buy” can be regarded as an inconsequential addition to the trademark ELECTROLUX, as can the use of a hyphen in the disputed domain name. It is well established in UDRP proceedings that, in comparing a trademark and a domain name, the domain identifier, such as “.com” in the present case, is legally irrelevant for the assessment of the first element. Consequently the Panel accepts the Complainant’s contentions under paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy, and finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s widely known ELECTROLUX mark.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
It is well established in proceedings under the Policy that it is sufficient that a complainant shows a prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the domain name, in order to have the burden of rebuttal placed on the respondent. If the respondent fails to demonstrate rights or legitimate interests in the domain name, the complainant is deemed to have satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy. In the present case, the Respondent failed to take part in these proceedings, and the Panel finds that the Complainant has presented a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks either rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Complainant has satisfied the test of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
In view of the well-known nature of the trademark ELECTROLUX, and the frequency with which the Complainant has had to have recourse to proceedings under the UDRP in its defence, the Panel finds it difficult to imagine that the Respondent was unaware of the existence of the Complainant’s mark when it registered the disputed domain name. The Panel, accordingly, finds that the disputed domain name was registered in bad faith.
In the Panel’s view, a potential consumer accessing the disputed domain name would have the legitimate expectation that he was communicating with the Complainant, and would, consequently be misled, to the possible detriment of the Complainant because of the existence of sponsored links. This, in the Panel’s view, justifies a finding that the disputed domain name has been used in bad faith. The Panel, accordingly, finds that the Complainant has satisfied the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(iii) 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 disputed domain name <buy-electrolux.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
George R.F. Souter
Dated: March 31, 2011