WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG v. “Porsche”
Case No. D2013-0623
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG of Stuttgart, Germany, represented by Lichtenstein, Körner & Partners, Germany.
The Respondent is “Porsche” of Los Angeles, California, United States of America.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <porsche-info.com> (the "Domain Name") is registered with FastDomain, Inc. (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on April 5, 2013. On April 5, 2013, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On the same day, 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. In response to a notification by the Center regarding the selection of mutual jurisdiction, the Complainant confirmed its choice of mutual jurisdiction on April 8, 2013.
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 April 9, 2013. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was April 29, 2013. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on April 30, 2013.
The Center appointed Ian Lowe as the sole panelist in this matter on May 7, 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 the world famous manufacturer of sports cars sold under the trademark PORSCHE. It has carried on business under that name for over 70 years. Porsche cars are distributed worldwide through a network of official dealers. The Complainant operates its website at “www.porsche.com’’.
The Complainant is the owner of numerous trademark registrations in respect of the mark PORSCHE in most countries of the world for a range of goods and services including United States trademark No. 0618933 PORSCHE registered on January 10, 1956 in respect of automobiles and parts thereof.
The Domain Name was registered on July 17, 2012. According to the WhoIs record, the registrant's name is Porsche and its address is stated to be Los Angeles, California, United States with no street address quoted. Until the end of March 2013, the Domain Name resolved to a website (the "Website") that prominently displayed the Complainant's Porsche crest device and the Porsche script and featured links to press releases by the Complainant or its United States subsidiary as well as texts copied from third party sources. The Website also included a section entitled "Advertising" in which advertisers were invited to make contact. On March 29, 2013, the Complainant filed an abuse report with the host service provider of the Website demanding that the Website be taken down. Subsequently the website disappeared and at the date of the filing of the Complaint the Domain Name did not resolve to any web page.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to its PORSCHE trademark, that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name and that the Respondent registered and is using the Domain Name in bad faith within the meaning of paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
According to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, for this Complaint to succeed in relation to the Domain Name the Complainant must prove that:
(i) the 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. Identical or Confusingly Similar
Leaving aside the “.com” suffix, that may be ignored when assessing identity and confusing similarity for the purposes of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy, the Domain Name comprises the entirety of the Complainant's PORSCHE trademark together with the non-distinctive term "info".
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to the trademark PORSCHE in which the Complainant has rights.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Although it is for the Complainant to prove each element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy requires a complainant to prove a negative in respect of matters which will often only be known to the respondent. In recognition of this difficulty, UDRP panels will be satisfied if a complainant comes forward with a prima facie case. It is then incumbent upon the respondent to answer that case.
The Respondent has not responded to the Complaint. Before the Website was taken down, it comprised a web page including links to press releases by the Complainant or its United States subsidiary and featured a section in which advertisers were invited to contact the operator of the Website. It stated: "Interested in advertising with us? Please submit the form below and we will get back to you at our earliest convenience".
The Complainant states that there is not and never has been any commercial relationship between the Complainant and the Respondent.
Given the nature of the Website and the Domain Name, the Panel finds that the Complainant has made out a strong prima facie case that the Respondent could have no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name. This calls for an answer but the Respondent has chosen not to respond to the Complaint. In the view of the Panel, the Domain Name was being used to take unfair advantage of the Complainant's rights in the name PORSCHE to attract Internet users to the Website for financial gain through advertising. In the absence of a Response, there is no rebuttal of this strong prima facie case. The Panel cannot conceive of any such rights or legitimate interests. In the circumstances, the adoption by the Respondent of the name “Porche” and the failure to give full contact details is also considered as further evidence of the Respondent’s lack of rights or legitimate interests.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel considers it self-evident in view of the notoriety of the PORSCHE trademark and the nature of the Website that the Respondent must have had the Complainant in mind when it registered the Domain Name. In view of the Panel's finding that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name, it follows that the Domain Name was registered in bad faith.
It seems to the Panel that Internet users are very likely to assume that the Domain Name and any website to which it resolves is operated by or authorized or otherwise sanctioned by the Complainant and that the intention of the Respondent was to attract Internet users to the Website for commercial gain through advertising. In the view of the Panel this amounts to paradigm bad faith use. The adoption by the Respondent of the name "Porsche" and the failure to give full contact details is further evidence of bad faith.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Respondent registered and is using the Domain Name in bad faith.
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, <porsche-info.com>, be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: May 21, 2013