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WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center


Deutsche Lufthansa AG v. John L

Case No. D2011-0818

1. The Parties

Complainant is Deutsche Lufthansa AG of Frankfurt, Germany, represented by Rauschhofer Rechtsanwälte, Germany.

Respondent is John L of Seattle, Washington, United States of America.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <lufthansaholidays.com> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with GoDaddy.com, Inc.

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on May 11, 2011. On May 11, 2011, the Center transmitted by email to GoDaddy.com, Inc. a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On the same day, GoDaddy.com, Inc. transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on May 17, 2011. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was June 6, 2011. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on June 8, 2011.

The Center appointed Nick J. Gardner as the sole panelist in this matter on June 16, 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 factual background is straightforward and can be summarized as follows. Complainant is one of the world’s leading airlines with a history dating back to 1926. It trades as “Lufthansa” and, amongst other activities it operates via various websites including sites located at the domain names <lufthansa.com> and <lufthansa-holidays.com>. It has numerous registered trademarks for the word LUFTHANSA in many jurisdictions around the world (see for example German mark no. 990835). It operates on a world wide basis. It carries out many activities ancillary to its main business as an airline, including the provision of holidays. It uses its website located at “www.lufthansa-holidays.com” in this respect.

The Domain Name was registered in 2004. Many of Complainant’s trademarks were registered before this date. The website under the Domain Name offers “click through” links to holiday websites. The website also indicates the Domain Name is for sale.

Evidence filed by Complainant suggest the owner of the Domain Name was originally recorded as being one “John Lane” but the name was at some stage changed to “John L”.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

Complainant’s contentions are equally straightforward and can be summarized as follows.

The Domain Name is confusingly similar to its trademark LUFTHANSA. Addition of the word “holidays” does not distinguish the Domain Name.

Respondent has no legitimate interests or rights in the term “lufthansa-holidays”.

The Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith. It was clearly intended to trade off Complainant’s very well known trademarks and reputation and is directed at a specific activity – the provision of holidays – which Complainant also provides, including by a website located at a nearly identical domain name, <lufthansaholidays.com>.

Respondent is deriving “click through” revenue from his website located at the Domain Name and is also offering the Domain Name for sale. This is further evidence of use in bad faith.

B. Respondent

Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

To succeed, in accordance with paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, Complainant must satisfy the Panel that:

(1) The Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trade mark or service mark in which Complainant has rights; and

(2) Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name; and

(3) The Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Panel finds that Complainant has rights in the trademark LUFTHANSA (the "Trademark").

The Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Trademark. UDRP panels have consistently held that domain names are identical or confusingly similar to a trademark for purposes of the Policy “when the domain name includes the trademark, or a confusingly similar approximation, regardless of the other terms in the domain name” (Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Richard MacLeod d/b/a For Sale, WIPO Case No. D2000-0662).

It is established that, where a mark is the distinctive part of a domain name, the domain name is considered to be confusingly similar to the registered mark (DHL Operations B.V. v. DHL Packers, WIPO Case No. D2008-1694).

It is also established that the addition of a generic term (such as here the word “holidays”) to the disputed domain name has little, if any, effect on a determination of legal identity between the domain name and the mark (Quixtar Investments, Inc. v. Dennis Hoffman, WIPO Case No. D2000-0253); furthermore, mere addition of a generic or descriptive term does not exclude the likelihood of confusion (PRL USA Holdings, Inc. v. Spiral Matrix, WIPO Case No. D2006-0189).

Accordingly the Panel finds that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Trademark. Accordingly the first condition of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy has been fulfilled.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

“Lufthansa” is a word which the evidence establishes is very well known and is associated with Complainant and which has, so far as the Panel is aware, no separate or independent meaning save in relation to Complainant’s business. There is no basis upon which Respondent has any rights or legitimate interests in the word “Lufthansa”. The addition of a generic word like “holidays” does not alter this.

Accordingly the Panel finds that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

Under paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy evidence of bad faith is established if “by using the domain name, you have intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to your 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 your web site or location or of a product or service on your web site or location”.

It is quite clear to the Panel that the Domain Name was registered with the intention of using the extremely well known trademark of Complainant to attract Internet users to a website which offered competing products and services. The Domain Name was then used in such a manner. It is not clear when this use started given the Domain Name was registered as long ago as 2004, but this does not matter, as the Panel cannot conceive of any use that would be legitimate. So far as the present position is concerned the way in which the Domain Name involves the combination of Complainant's trademark with a generic term is clearly likely to lead persons searching for genuine Lufthansa holidays being directed to Respondent’s website. The Panel infers that was the type of use Respondent intended when he registered the Domain Name.

Accordingly the Panel finds that the Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith. Accordingly the third condition of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy has been fulfilled.

In reaching this conclusion the Panel's view is reinforced by similar decisions reached by numerous previous panels on similar cases involving Complainant and its Trademark – see for example Deutsche Lufthansa AG v. Nadeem Qadir / Bladimir Boyiko, WIPO Case No. D2010-2147.

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 Name <lufthansaholidays.com> be transferred to Complainant.

Nick J. Gardner
Sole Panelist
Dated: July 8, 2011