WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Aktiebolaget Electrolux v. Ibrahim Yurtcu
Case No. D2013-0796
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Aktiebolaget Electrolux of Stockholm, Sweden, represented by Melbourne IT Digital Brand Services, Sweden.
The Respondent is Ibrahim Yurtcu of Izmir, Bornova, Turkey.
2. The Domain Names and Registrar
The disputed domain names <electroluxbulasikmakinesiservis.com>, <electroluxbuzdolabiservis.com>, <electroluxcamasirmakinesiservis.com>, <electroluxizmir.com> and <electroluxklimaservis.com> are registered with Cloud Group Limited (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the ”Center”) on May 3, 2013. On May 3, 2013, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain names. On May 6, 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.
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 May 13, 2013. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was June 2, 2013. The Center received an informal e-mail communication in Turkish from Respondent on May 13, 2013. The Respondent did not submit any further formal response within the Response due date. Accordingly, the Center notified the commencement of the Panel appointment process on June 3, 2013.
The Center appointed WiIliam A. Van Caenegem as the sole panelist in this matter on June 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.
The Center received a further informal email communication in Turkish from the Respondent dated June 11, 2013 indicating as follows (in translation from Turkish): “we bought those domain names, but we do not operate in any manner. Will expire in one year. If there's anything I can do, please let me know". Subsequently Panel Order No. 1 was issued on June 13, 2013, with a deadline of June 18, 2013, inviting the Complainant to consider requesting a suspension of the proceedings to explore a possible settlement between the parties. By email to the Center of June 19, 2013, the Complainant indicated that the Respondent not having replied to its emails, it had no interest in requesting a suspension of the present proceedings.
4. Factual Background
The Complainant is the owner of the registered trademark ELECTROLUX as a word and figure mark in several classes in more than 150 countries. A list of these trademark registrations is attached to the Complaint.
The disputed domain names were registered by Respondent on January 9, 2013.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant produces and sells appliances and equipment for kitchens and for cleaning at the consumer and professional levels. The Complainant asserts that it sells more than 40 million products to customers in 150 countries every year by reference to its ELECTROLUX trademark. In 2009, the Complainant had sales of SEK 109 billion and 51,000 employees worldwide. The trademark ELECTROLUX is registered in 150 countries and the Complainant asserts that it has registered almost 700 gTLDs and ccTLDs worldwide. In the circumstances, the Complainant submits that the trademark ELECTROLUX is a well-known mark whose protection goes beyond the goods for which the trademark is registered, or similar goods.
The Complainant submits that the disputed domain names are confusingly similar to the registered trademark ELECTROLUX. They wholly incorporate the latter, and the addition of various generic terms does not dispel their confusing similarity. The addition of terms suggestive of service or servicing further reinforces the misleading suggestion that the disputed domain names are owned or affiliated with the Complainant. The Complainant further submits that a considerable risk exists that the trade public will perceive the disputed domain names either as owned by the Complainant or as having some kind of commercial connection with the Complainant. The Complainant contends that because its trademark is a dominant part of the disputed domain names, the Respondent exploits the goodwill and the image of the trademark, which may result in dilution and other damage to the Complainant’s trademark.
According to the Complainant’s researches, the Respondent has no registered trademarks or trade names that correspond to the disputed domain names. The Respondent has no license or authorization of any kind from the Complainant to use its trademark ELECTROLUX. Further the Complainant asserts that the Respondent is not an authorized dealer of its products, and has no business relationship with it, a factor that establishes an absence of a legitimate interest on the part of the Respondent.
The Complainant also asserts that the Respondent does not use the disputed domain names in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. The disputed domain names are currently connected to a website offering services for Electrolux products, as well as offering other unrelated products. The Complainant contends that the Respondent is thus misleadingly diverting internet users to commercial websites and consequently, tarnishing the trademark ELECTROLUX. According to the Complainant, the Electrolux logo is also displayed at the relevant websites. The Complainant asserts that it has been successful in numerous cases in relation to unrelated websites that incorporate the ELECTROLUX trademark selling and offering services for Electrolux products, for instance in WIPO Cases No. D2012-0987, WIPO Cases No. D2012-0742, WIPO Cases No. D2011-2283, WIPO Cases No. D2012-2316 and WIPO Cases No. D2013-0304. The Complainant points out that in the first mentioned case (WIPO Cases No. D2012-0987) under similar circumstances the Panel concluded that such use could not be considered bona fide use. According to the Complainant, the Respondent is attempting to “sponge off” the Complainant’s world famous ELECTROLUX trademark.
Further, the Complainant submits that the Respondent does not qualify under the criteria laid down in Oki Data Americas, Inc. v. ASD, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2001-0903, which the Complainant asserts has been applied even if reference is had to a non-authorized reseller, as is the case here. The Complainant asserts that the Respondent does not adequately disclose the non-existence of any relationship between the Respondent and the Complainant, nor are there any visible disclaimers that the relevant websites are not endorsed or sponsored by the Complainant; and finally the websites contain the Electrolux logotype. This further enhances the false impression that there is a connection between the Respondent and the Complainant. The Complainant also asserts that the relevant websites offer services for several other brands, including some belonging to its competitors.
In terms of registration and use in bad faith, the Complainant submits that the trademark ELECTROLUX is a well-known mark with a substantial and widespread reputation throughout the European Community and the world. Further, the Complainant contends that “the failure of the Respondent to respond to a letter of demand from the Complainant further supports an inference of bad faith” (citing Bayerische Motoren Werke AG v. (This Domain is For Sale) Joshuathan Investments, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2002-0787). Such failure is also present in this case, as communications received from the Respondent were meaningless in this regard. The Complainant asserts that the disputed domain names currently all resolve to websites offering services in relation to Electrolux products (both at the main website and by redirecting to another domain name <egemteknik.com>), and that the Respondent is thus using the disputed domain names to intentionally attempt to attract, for commercial gain, internet users to its websites, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of the websites.
The Center received an informal e-mail communication in Turkish from Respondent on May 13, 2013 and on June 11, 2013. However, the Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions and did not submit any formal Response.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The disputed domain names are not identical to the Complainant’s trademark ELECTROLUX. However, the Complainant’s trademark is wholly incorporated in each, as its first and most distinctive part. The addition of various generic terms, some of which suggest a service or regional connection to the Complainant’s branded goods, is not sufficient to dispel the misleading suggestion of a connection with the Complainant. On the contrary, the nature of the generic terms used would tend to reinforce consumers’ erroneous conclusion that the websites to which the disputed domain names resolve are somehow legitimately included in the supply and service system established by the Complainant under its ELECTROLUX trademark.
Therefore the Panel concludes that the disputed domain names are confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark ELECTROLUX under paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Respondent has not been granted any right or authorization by the Complainant to use its distinctive trademark ELECTROLUX in any manner. The Respondent is not known by the trademark ELECTROLUX in any way. The Complainant asserts that the Respondent is not a licensed reseller or authorized service agent for ELECTROLUX goods. There is no material before the panel to indicate that the Respondent in fact conducts a legitimate business of servicing or reselling the Complainant’s products. Further, the websites to which the disputed domain names resolve and redirect also contain references to service and supply of other brands, some of which are associated with competing goods. The Respondent’s websites also contain unauthorized reproductions of the Complainant’s distinctive logos, and do not display the true nature of its relationship with the Complainant. In the circumstances, the act of registering the disputed domain names and then using them to attract and divert Internet users in the manner embarked upon by the Respondent is not apt to give rise to any rights or legitimate interests.
Therefore the Panel holds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names under paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Complainant’s ELECTROLUX trademark is distinctive, of long standing, and used in relation to a business conducted in 150 countries, with a workforce of over 50,000 and a very considerable annual turnover. In the circumstances it is inconceivable that the Respondent was not aware of the Complainant’s trademark at the time of registration of the disputed domain names. Furthermore the Complainant registered not one but a series of such domain names. The websites to which the disputed domain names resolve offer both the Complainant’s own and competing products. Some of the disputed domain names inherently suggest that a recognized service agent may be found at the websites to which they resolve. Without authority, these websites contain representations of the Complainant’s logos. In the circumstances, the inference is strong that the Respondent is using the disputed domain names for the purpose of misleading consumers into concluding that the websites to which they resolve are legitimately connected to the Complainant and its system of authorized service agents or suppliers. In fact they are not, and the Respondent’s scheme is one conducted in bad faith to profit from the distinctive nature and extensive goodwill attached to the Complainant’s ELECTROLUX trademark. The Respondent’s communications with the Complainant and the Center do not evidence any intention to deal with the matter on a good faith basis.
Therefore the Panel holds that the Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain names in bad faith under paragraph 4(a)(iii) of 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 <electroluxbulasikmakinesiservis.com>, <electroluxbuzdolabiservis.com>, <electroluxcamasirmakinesiservis.com>, <electroluxizmir.com> and <electroluxklimaservis.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
WiIliam A. Van Caenegem
Date: June 26, 2013