WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Grundfos Holding A/S v. Sanjay Kumar, Flowguards / Sanjay K. Wighmal, Grund Fosseals / Sanjay / Sanjayk Wighmal
Case No. D2012-2355
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Grundfos Holding A/S of Bjerringbro, Denmark, represented by Kromann Reumert I/S, Denmark.
The Respondent is Sanjay Kumar, Flowguards / Sanjay K. Wighmal, Grund Fosseals / Sanjay / Sanjayk Wighmal of Haryana, India.
2. The Domain Names and Registrar
The disputed domain names <grundfospumpseals.com> and <grundfosseals.com> are registered with Net 4 India Limited (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on November 29, 2012. On November 29, 2012, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain names. On December 3, 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 December 6, 2012. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was December 26, 2012. The Respondent did not submit a substantive response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on December 27, 2012.
The Center appointed Leon Trakman as the sole panelist in this matter on January 16, 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 part of the Grundfos Group established in 1945. The Grundfos Group is one of the largest and leading manufacturers of circular pumps in the world producing more than 16 million pumps per year. The Grundfos Group is represented by more than 80 companies in more than 55 countries around the world, including in India. The Complainant’s company name and trademark is registered globally and is well-known all across the world and specifically within the relevant industries. In Grundfos A/S v. Orion Web, WIPO Case No. D2005-0618 (domain name <grundfospump.com>), the panel concluded that the trademark is “very well known”. See to a similar effect, Grundfos A/S v. Jan Svoboda, WIPO Case No. D2009-0526 (domain name <grundfox.com>). The Complainant had GRUNDFOSS registered for circular pumps as early as in 1946. GRUNDFOSS was changed to GRUNDFOS in 1967.
The Grundfos Group operates several websites, including a website promoting its products under the domain name <grundfos.com>. The Complainant reports that, from January 2012 to August 2012, the website at “www.grundfos.com” received more than 140,000 visitors every month.
The Respondent is based in India. The Complainant provides a transcript of November 14, 2012 from the Reverse WhoIs Database, indicating that the Respondent, Sanjay Kumar, is the current owner of 1,314 domain names, registered under different names (Sanjay Kumar, Sanjay, and Sanjayk Wighmal), with the same address, email, and telephone number listed in the WhoIs database and used in email correspondence. The websites of the disputed domain names contained, at the time of filing of the Complaint with the Center, hyperlinks to other websites where it was possible to buy and activate webhosting or business emails. They are currently inactive.
The Respondent is not a reseller of the Complainant’s products and has no business association with the Complainant. The Complainant provides evidence that it sent a cease and desist letter to the Respondent asking him to transfer the disputed domain names and offering to reimburse him for the actual costs of the transfer. The Respondent wrote back refusing and requesting that the Complainant purchase the disputed domain names “with nominal amount.”
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the Respondent is “cybersquatting”, making a business of registering and selling domain names identical with or confusingly similar to well-known trademarks. The Complainant contends further that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names, and that the Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain names in bad faith.
The Respondent did not submit a substantive response to the Complainant’s contentions. However, on January 17, 2013, the Respondent sent an email communication to the Center and the Complainant stating that “Dear Sir, I am a poor person. I don’t understand your case proceedings. Please forgive me and let me leave peaceful life. I will not harm you in any way”.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The disputed domain names <grundfosseals.com> and <grundfospumpseals.com>, are both identical to the Complainant’s well-known trademark GRUNDFOS, other than the addition of the descriptive term “pumpseals” and “seals” in the disputed domain names.
The addition of the word “pumpseals” and “seals”, rather than distinguish the disputed domain names, compound the likelihood of confusion among Internet users who are likely to believe that the websites accessed through the disputed domain names <grundfosseals.com> and <grundfospumpseals.com> are authorized, directly or otherwise, by the Complainant and are selling the Complainant’s products. It is well established in UDRP jurisprudence that the addition of the “.com” suffix does not, in itself, detract from the confusingly similar nature of the domain name.
Accordingly, the Panel holds that the disputed domain names <grundfosseals.com> and <grundfospumpseals.com> are identical in material respects and confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names. The Respondent is clearly not acting in any capacity for the Complainant. The Respondent is not part of the Complainant’s business. The Respondent is not acting as an agent for or an affiliate of the Complainant. Nor is the Respondent associated with the Complainant in any other capacity.
The Respondent also has no other legitimate interest in the disputed domain names. There is no evidence that the Respondent is known by, or commonly associated with, the disputed domain names. Nor is the Respondent engaged in a personal or business activity that demonstrates that he has any legal right to or legitimate interest in the disputed domain names.
On the contrary, the strongest inference is that the Respondent registered the disputed domain names, and most certainly used them in order to profit by attracting Internet users to websites that are confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark as to their source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement, and to sell them for profit to the Complainant.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Respondent’s registration and use of the disputed domain names is in bad faith. The Respondent’s intention in registering and using the disputed domain names is intentionally to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to the Respondent’s websites, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s trademark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the disputed domain names. The Respondent’s registration and use of the disputed domain names also constitutes bad faith in the Respondent’s intention to infringe the Complainant’s trademark rights and interest in its well-known trademark GRUNDFOS.
There can be no reasonable doubt but that, in registering the disputed domain names, the Respondent was aware of the Complainant’s existing trademark rights and that the Complainant was part of the Grundfos Group that produces pumps. This bad faith is evident, not only in the Respondent use of “grundfos” in the disputed domain names, but also in the addition of the words “pumpseals” and “seals” respectively to those disputed domain names.
Finally, it is evident that the Respondent is “actively” cybersquatting. In particular, it is making a business of registering and trying to sell for a profit domain names in which it has no rights or legitimate interests and that are identical with or confusingly similar to well-known trademarks. This is evident in the Respondent’s pattern of registering 1,314 domain names and attempting to sell at least two of those domain names to the Complainant. It is more than reasonable to presuppose that the Respondent is engaged in a similar course of conduct in which has attempted to sell the disputed domain names to other trademark holders whose marks the Respondent is also infringing. The Respondent’s conduct clearly constitutes bad faith under the Policy.
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 names <grundfospumpseals.com> and <grundfosseals.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: January 17, 2013