WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Inter IKEA Systems B.V. v. Netowl, Inc., Star Domain

Case No. D2012-2281

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Inter IKEA Systems B.V. of Delft, the Netherlands, represented by Melbourne IT Digital Brand Services, Sweden.

The Respondent is Netowl, Inc., Star Domain of Kyoto, Japan.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <plus-ikea.com> is registered with eNom (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 27, 2012. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was December 17, 2012. The Respondent sent an email communication on December 14, 2012 indicating that it provides the domain registration service “Star Domain”, that it is not the registrant of the disputed domain name and that it has informed the registrant, its customer, of the proceedings. The Respondent did not submit a formal response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on December 18, 2012.

The Center appointed Douglas Clark as the sole panelist in this matter on December 21, 2012. 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 the owner of a concept for the sale of furniture which it franchises to approved and licensed retailers. There are currently 6 of the Complainant’s stores in Japan.

The Complainant is the registrant of the trademark IKEA in many countries of the world including in Japan.

The disputed domain name resolves to a website that states in Japanese that it has been established for the on-line sale of the Complainant’s products in Japan. The site includes a specific statement (in Japanese) that the trademark IKEA is owned by the Complainant.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the registered trademark IKEA. The addition of the word “plus” does not detract from this similarity.

The Complainant contends that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. It has not been authorized or licensed by the Complainant to use the IKEA trademark.

The Complainant contends that the Respondent has registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith. The Complainant contends that the Respondent must have known of the Respondent when registering the disputed domain name.

B. Respondent

The Respondent sent an email communication to the Center on December 14, 2012, but did not reply to the Complainant’s substantive contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

This is a straightforward case. The Panel accordingly will only make brief findings.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The disputed domain name <plus-ikea.com> is composed of the Complainant’s registered trademark IKEA and the generic and/or descriptive word “plus”.

According to previous UDRP decisions, the “addition of merely generic, descriptive, or geographical wording to a trademark in a domain name would normally be insufficient in itself to avoid a finding of confusing similarity under the first element of the UDRP” (see paragraph 1.9 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Second Edition (“WIPO Overview 2.0”)).

The Panel finds the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s registered trademark.

The first element of the UDRP is made out.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Respondent has not responded to the Complaint to assert any rights or legitimate interests. None of the circumstances in paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, which sets out how a respondent can prove its rights or legitimate interests, are present in this case.

The Respondent’s website in any event acknowledges the Complainant’s rights in the trademark IKEA, but no where does it dislclose it is a re-seller. The look and feel of the website give the impression it is an authorised re-seller. The Panel finds that the Respondent would not be able to establish rights or legitimate interests as a reseller of the Complainant’s goods as the relationship between the Respondent and the Complainant is not adequately disclosed (see WIPO Overview 2.0, paragraph 2.3).

The Panel finds that the second element of the UDRP is made out.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The Panel also finds that the disputed domain name has, for the purposes of the Policy, been registered in bad faith and is being used in bad faith. The website under the disputed domain name is being used to attract consumers to purchase IKEA (and perhaps other) products when the Respondent does not have authorization from the Complainant to do so.

This case falls within paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy which provides that a registrant has registered and is using a domain name in bad faith where:

(iv) “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.”

The third element of the UDRP is made out.

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 disputed domain name <plus-ikea.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Douglas Clark
Sole Panelist
Date: January 5, 2013