WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Carré Blanc Expansion v. Reinhard Herrmann
Case No. D2012-2277
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Carré Blanc Expansion of Paris, France, represented by Cabinet Degret, France.
The Respondent is Reinhard Herrmann of Ockenheim, Germany.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <carréblanc.com> [<xn--carrblanc-e4a.com>] is registered with Moniker Online Services, LLC (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on November 20, 2012. On November 20, 2012, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On November 20, 2012, 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(a) and 4(a), the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on November 29, 2012. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was December 19, 2012. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on December 20, 2012.
The Center appointed Richard Hill as the sole panelist in this matter on January 8, 2013. 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 is a well known household linen and related goods company owning the trademark CARRÉ BLANC, with rights dating back to 1982.
The Respondent registered the disputed domain name in 2007.
The disputed domain name is directed to a web site offering to sell products that compete with the Complainant’s products.
5. Parties’ Contentions
According to the Complainant, it is one of France’s and Europe’s leading brands of household linen and related goods, namely the brand CARRÉ BLANC, established in 1982. The Complainant is the owner of many registered trademarks consisting of or comprising the term CARRÉ BLANC.
Further, says the Complainant, the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to its mark.
The Complainant states that the use of its trademarks by the Respondent had not been authorised in any way by the Complainant or any of its subsidiaries, affiliates or representatives.
The Complainant alleges that the Respondent was not using the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. Indeed the disputed domain name is being used in relation to a pay-per-click monetization scheme, consisting notably in the providing of sponsored links, including in favor of competitors of the Complainant. Thus, by using the disputed domain name, the Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s trademarks as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of its website. This constitutes bad faith registration and use under the Policy.
According to the Complainant, the Respondent owns a vast number of obviously infringing domain names, a great many of which evidently should belong to legitimate owners active in the home furnishing industry. Indeed the Respondent has already been the defending party to at least eight UDRP procedures, all of which were decided against the Respondent.
And, says the Complainant, the Respondent is apparently using a variety of different addresses, e-mail addresses and telephone numbers in its various "enterprises" (as shown in the different WhoIs extracts produced and the UDRP precedents against him); thus, it could also be said that the Respondent is purposely concealing its identity. This is also evidence of bad faith.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has trademark rights in CARRÉ BLANC. The disputed domain name comprises the trademark in its entirety. Therefore, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name is obviously identical to the Complainant’s mark.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Respondent does not have any license or other authorization to use the Complainant’s mark. The Respondent is using the disputed domain name to point to a website that offers products that compete with the Complainant’s products.
The Panel finds that the Respondent is redirecting Internet users interested in the Complainant’s products and services to its own website for commercial gain and that such use does not fall within the parameters of a bona fide offering of goods or services pursuant to paragraph 4(c)(i) of the Policy or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use pursuant to paragraph 4(c)(iii) of the Policy. See for example F. Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. v. Samuel Teodorek, WIPO Case No. D2007-1814 (“Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name to redirect Internet users to an on-line pharmacy demonstrates Respondent’s lack of a legitimate interest in the domain name”); see also Pfizer Inc v. Juan Gonzales, WIPO Case No. D2004-0589 (“no good faith can be assumed in Respondent’s conduct, in view of the fact that the Domain Name is confusingly similar with Complainant’s trademark and is used in connection with the promotion and sale of competing products”).
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
It is clear to the Panel that the Respondent was aware of the Complainant’s marks when it registered and started using the disputed domain name, because the disputed domain name is identical to the Complainant’s mark, and the sponsored links are referring to products competing with the Complainant’s products.
The Respondent (who did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions) has not presented any plausible explanation for his use of the Complainant’s mark. In accordance with paragraph 14(b) of the Rules, the Panel shall draw such inferences from the Respondent’s failure to reply as it considers appropriate. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Respondent did not have a legitimate use in mind when registering the disputed domain name.
Indeed, in the Panel’s view, the Respondent’s actual use of the disputed domain name (as noted above) is clearly not bona fide, because the Respondent operates a website that promotes products that compete with the Complainant’s products. This indicates that the Respondent has registered and is using the disputed domain name to take advantage of the confusing similarity between the disputed domain name and Complainant’s marks in order to profit from the goodwill associated with the mark in bad faith under paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy. See Pfizer Inc v. Juan Gonzales, WIPO Case No. D2004-0589 (“using the Domain Name to promote and sell, for commercial gain…pharmaceutical products (as “Generic Accutane”), which directly compete with Complainant’s genuine [ACCUTANE]… is further evidence of Respondent’s bad faith registration and use of the Domain Name”); see also Pfizer Inc. v. jg a/k/a Josh Green, WIPO Case No. D2004-0784 (bad faith is established when “Respondent is using the domain names as a forwarding address to a for-profit on-line pharmacy”).
For 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 <carréblanc.com> [<xn--carrblanc-e4a.com>] be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: January 12, 2013