WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Europages v. West, Jay
Case No. D2011-1157
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Europages of Neuilly Sur Seine, France, represented by DS Avocats, France.
The Respondent is West, Jay of Portland, United States of America.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <euro-pages.com> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with Network Solutions, LLC.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on July 8, 2011. On July 8, 2011, the Center transmitted by email to Network Solutions, LLC. a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On July 8, 2011, Network Solutions, LLC. 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(a) and 4(a), the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on July 21, 2011. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was August 10, 2011. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on August 12, 2011.
The Center appointed Alan L. Limbury as the sole panelist in this matter on August 22, 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 offers online directory services. It is the registered proprietor of several EUROPAGES trademarks in various countries, not including United States of America, the earliest of which is French registered trademark No. 1 224 050, registered on December 31, 1982. In that year the Complainant published its first paper business directory. Since 1995 the Complainant has operated a heavily visited business-to-business directory website in five languages at “www.europages.com.”
The Domain Name was registered on February 2, 2000. It resolves to a webpage which offers sponsored links to online professional directory services.
The Respondent did not reply to a cease and desist letter from the Complainant’s counsel dated May 3, 2011.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant says the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to its EUROPAGES 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 it has not authorized the Respondent to register the Domain Name nor to use its trademarks; that the Respondent is not and has never been known by the name “Europages” or “Euro-pages” and has no connection with the Domain Name; and that the Complainant’s trademark rights were well established before the registration of the Domain Name.
As to bad faith, the Complainant says it had established an international reputation in the EUROPAGES mark by the time the Respondent registered the Domain Name and the Respondent must have been aware of this. The Respondent’s use of the Domain Name is damaging to the Complainant by confusing members of the public seeking information about the Complainant.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
To qualify for cancellation or transfer of a domain name, a complainant must prove each element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, namely:
(i) the disputed 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 respondent is not obliged to participate in a proceeding under the Policy but if it fails to do so, the complainant’s asserted facts may be taken as true and reasonable inferences may be drawn from the information provided by the complainant: Reuters Limited v. Global Net 2000, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2000-0441. See also Microsoft Corporation v. Freak Films Oy, WIPO Case No. D2003-0109; SSL International PLC v. Mark Freeman, WIPO Case No. D2000-1080 and AltaVista Company v. Grandtotal Finances Limited et al., WIPO Case No. D2000-0848.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
Differing only by the presence of a hyphen, the Domain Name is clearly virtually identical and is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s EUROPAGES mark.
The Complainant has established this element.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Panel finds that the EUROPAGES mark is distinctive and was well-known by the time the Respondent registered the Domain Name. The Complainant’s assertions are sufficient to constitute a prima facie showing of absence of rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name on the part of the Respondent. The evidentiary burden therefore shifts to the Respondent to show by concrete evidence that it does have rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name: Do The Hustle, LLC v. Tropic Web, WIPO Case No. D2000-0624 and the cases there cited. The Respondent has made no attempt to do so.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name.
The Complainant has established this element.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Although the Domain Name was registered 11 years ago, the Complainant’s EUROPAGES mark was by then well-known, at least in Europe. In the absence of any Response, the Panel accepts that the Respondent, in the United States, must have had the Complainant or its EUROPAGES mark in mind when he registered the Domain Name and that, by using the Domain Name to offer online directory services of the kind provided by the Complainant, the Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to his website by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of his website or of a service on his website. Under paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy, such use is evidence of both bad faith registration and bad faith use.
Accordingly, in the absence of any evidence of registration in good faith, the Panel finds that the Respondent has registered and is using the Domain Name in bad faith.
The Complainant has established this element of its case.
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 <euro-pages.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Alan L. Limbury
Dated: September 1, 2011