WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Froriep Renggli v. Alexandra Maeder
Case No. D2013-0776
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Froriep Renggli of Zürich, Switzerland, represented internally.
The Respondent is Alexandra Maeder of Houston, Texas, United States of America.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <frorieprenggli.com> is registered with 1&1 Internet AG (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on May 2, 2013. On May 2, 2013, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On May 3, 2013, 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 Registrar information and mutual jurisdiction, the Complainant filed an amendment to the Complaint on May 3, 2013.
The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amendment to 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 May 7, 2013. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was May 27, 2013. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on May 28, 2013.
The Center appointed Clive Duncan Thorne as the sole panelist in this matter on May 31, 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, founded in Zurich in 1966, is one of the leading law firms in Switzerland, with around 90 lawyers and offices in the most important economic centres of Switzerland; Zurich, Geneva Lausanne and Zug. It also has offices in London and Madrid serving clients seeking Swiss law advice. It submits that the Complainant's name which consists of a combination of two senior partners' surnames, is widely known among legal professionals in Switzerland and abroad as well as within the field of prospective clients interested in Swiss legal services.
The Complainant's integrated structure reflects a strong international, cross-border focus. Its client base comprises domestic and international clients ranging from large international corporations to private clients. The Complainant has invested significant amounts of time and money into the development of its brands, reputation and goodwill. The Complainant has registered certain trade marks for the mark FRORIEP RENGGLI including in the European Community and in Switzerland in Classes 9, 16, 36, 41 and 42. By way of example, the Complainant refers to Swiss registration No. 539233 registered on August 31, 2005 and Madrid Protocol International Registration No. 80529 registered on March 20, 2006 for the mark FRORIEP RENGGLI. Copies of these registrations are set out at Annex 5 to the Complaint.
There appears to have been some limited correspondence between the Complainant and the Respondent which is exhibited at Annex 7 to the Complaint. In response to an approach from the Complainant's agent dated January 29, 2013 regarding the purchase of the disputed domain name; the Respondent responds:
How are you doing? Sorry for the delay in communication, I have been in Malta for a business transaction. Yeah, I am willing to sell as its part of what we do, set up domains and build website to draw attention from recognized company….since you are buying to resell. $10,000 dollars won't be a bad deal to start. Let me know if you are ready to proceed so we can deal with the papers work.
In the absence of evidence from the Respondent, the Panel accepts the truth of the facts as submitted by the Complainant in the Complaint.
5. Parties’ Contentions
1. The Complainant submits that the disputed domain name is identical to a trade mark and a trade name in which the Complainant has rights.
2. The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name. There is no evidence to support a contrary view.
3. The disputed domain name is registered and is being used in bad faith. The Complainant relies upon the pre-existence of the Complainant's registered trade marks and also its trading goodwill in and "renown" of the trade mark FRORIEP RENGGLI. The Complainant also relies upon the correspondence between the Complainant's agent and the Respondent referred to above and set out in Annex 7 to the Complaint.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel accepts that the Complainant has registered and unregistered trade mark rights in the mark FRORIEP RENGGLI. The disputed domain name <frorieprenggli.com> is identical to the trade mark in that it incorporates the words “froriep” and “renggli” without amendment. The Panel therefore finds that the disputed domain name is identical to a trade mark in which the Complainant has rights.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant submits that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name. The Complainant relies upon the fact that the disputed domain name was registered on December 6, 2012, well after the registration of the Complainant's Swiss and International trade marks and many years after the Complainant firm had been founded in 1966 trading under the mark FRORIEP RENGGLI.
From the evidence attached to Annex 6 to the Complaint, it can be seen that the disputed domain name was active and resolved to a website which referred to the Complainant. The disputed domain name resolved to the website and provided electronic contact details including an email address as well as telephone and fax numbers in Spain. It would therefore appear, in accordance with the Complainant's submissions; that the Respondent's purpose in doing this was to confuse Internet users and to divert them to the website for its own benefit or to create a nuisance for the Complainant. In either case, the registration was for no legitimate commercial purpose. The Panel accepts the submission and, in particular, in the absence of any evidence from the contrary adduced by the Respondent to show a legitimate purpose in registering the disputed domain name, the Panel finds for the Complainant in relation to this element.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Complainant submits that the Respondent was intentionally using the disputed domain name to attract and divert customers searching for the Complainant's services. This was done by effecting confusion between the Respondent's website (at Annex 6 to the Complaint) and the legal services genuinely offered by the Complainant on its own website set out at Annex 7 to the Complaint and referred to above. That, in itself, in the Panel's view is evidence of bad faith. Accordingly the Panel finds that the disputed domain name was registered and used in bad faith by the Respondent.
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 <frorieprenggli.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Clive Duncan Thorne
Date: June 3, 2013