WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
LEGO Juris A/S v. Lee Young Ju
Case No. D2013-0812
1. The Parties
The Complainant is LEGO Juris A/S of Billund, Denmark, represented by Melbourne IT Digital Brand Services, Sweden.
The Respondent is Lee Young Ju of Jeonju-Si, Jeollabuk-Do, Republic of Korea, represented pro se.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <legob.com> is registered with Korea Information Certificate Authority Inc. d/b/a DomainCa.com (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on May 10, 2013. On May 10, 2013, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On May 14, 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.
On May 14, 2013, the Center notified the parties in both English and Korean that the language of the Registration Agreement in this case was Korean. On May 14, 2013, the Complainant confirmed its request in the Complaint that English be the language of the proceeding. The Respondent requested Korean to be the language of the proceeding on May 18, 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 May 21, 2013. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was June 10, 2013. The Response was filed with the Center on June 9, 2013.
The Center appointed Ik-Hyun Seo as the sole panelist in this matter on June 19, 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, based in Denmark, is the producer of Lego-branded construction toys, and has been conducting business since 1953. The Complainant has subsidiaries and branches throughout the world, and its products are sold in more than 130 countries, including the Republic of Korea. The Complainant also holds trademark registrations throughout the world for the LEGO mark, including several registrations in the Republic of Korea – some of which date back to 1980.
The Respondent appears to be a Korean individual with residence in the Republic of Korea. The disputed domain name was registered on February 24, 2013.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to marks in which the Complainant has rights. More specifically, the Complainant asserts that it has registrations in various countries throughout the world for the term “Lego”, including the Republic of Korea, and that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar thereto.
The Complainant also contends that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, and confirms that it has not authorized or licensed rights to the Respondent in any respect.
Finally, the Complainant contends that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith. The Complainant notes that the Respondent has made no bona fide use of the disputed domain name. Rather, the disputed domain name was connected with a domain name parking service. Further, the LEGO mark has been recognized as a well-known trademark in prior UDRP decisions as well as by a publication from “The Centre for Brands Analysis,” and so the Respondent must have known of the Complainant and its trademark when the Respondent obtained the disputed domain name as well as when he or she used it to connect to a domain name parking service.
With respect to the first element, the Respondent raised no assertions that dispute the Complainant’s trademark rights in LEGO, or the Complainant’s assertion that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar thereto. Rather, the Respondent made several assertions and offered explanations that relate more to the second and third elements.
More specifically, the Respondent explains that the dispute domain name is a combination of “leg” and “OB”, where “OB” is short for “old boy”. The Respondent claims that his or her father (i.e. “old boy”) suffers from arthritis in his legs, and that the Respondent’s plans were to create a website for those suffering from arthritis.
The Respondent further explains that there are many individuals with names that include “legob”, and that there are also other domain name registrations for <lego[x].com> [where “[x]” is another letter].
Finally, the Respondent says that he or she linked the disputed domain name to Sedo domain name parking merely because he or she was curious about the people who visit the disputed domain name, as well as their nationality. The Respondent further explains that the indication that the disputed domain name is for sale was simply a mistake on his or her part. As part of the process of registering the disputed domain name for Sedo domain name parking services, he or she mistakenly clicked the wrong button – which he or she blames on his or her lack of English language abilities.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Preliminary Issue: Language of the Proceedings
Paragraph 11(a) of the Rules provides that the language of the proceeding shall be the language of the registration agreement, unless otherwise agreed to by the parties, subject to the authority of the panel to determine otherwise. In this case, the language of the Registration Agreement is Korean, and the Complainant submitted arguments as to why English is more appropriate.
Given the fact that the Complainant is based in Denmark and the Respondent is based in Korea, English would appear to be the fairest neutral language for rendering this Decision. Aside from the language of the Decision, the proceedings were administered in dual languages (English and Korean), both parties were permitted to make submissions in their preferred language, and the language issue was reserved for the Panel to eventually determine. Although the Respondent claimed at one point that he or she does not understand English, this appears contradicted by at least a couple of points. First, the Respondent appears to have understood the allegations in the English language complaint and was able to submit his or her own substantive arguments in the Response in Korean. But more telling than that, the Respondent was more than capable of navigating and registering the disputed domain name with Sedo.com for domain name parking services. Sedo.com is based in the United States of America and offers content and registration processing in the English language only – even supported by the Respondent’s own admission.
For all the reasons given above, the Panel finds it proper and fair to render this Decision in English.
B. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has demonstrated with supporting evidence that it holds many trademark registrations throughout the world, including the Republic of Korea, that consists solely or primarily of the term “Lego”. The disputed domain name <legob.com> entirely incorporates the Complainant’s trademark LEGO and merely adds one additional letter “b”. The addition of this single letter does not create a new meaning or impression, and certainly does not dispel a likelihood of confusion or confusing similarity. If anything, the “b” portion could be viewed as an allusion to “blocks”, for which the Complainant is so well-known.
For the reasons mentioned above, the Panel finds the first element has been established.
C. Rights or Legitimate Interests
On the basis of the present record, the Panel finds that the Complainant has made the required allegations to support a prima facie finding that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Once such a prima facie basis has been established, the Respondent carries the burden of demonstrating its rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. After all, the Respondent is in the best position to offer evidence if it were to exist.
While the Respondent has offered some explanations and arguments, the Panel rejects them because: the points raised by the Respondent are (1) not relevant, and/or (2) not corroborated with any supporting evidence whatsoever.
First, the Respondent noted that there are many individuals with names that include “legob”, and asks whether the Complainant can force such individuals to change or not use their names. Taken in the most favorable light, the Panel interprets this as an argument that the Respondent should be free to use such a term (or alternatively, the Complainant cannot prevent use by others) since the term “legob” is a common name. In any case, the Respondent’s arguments/position is misplaced and irrelevant.
Assuming the list of individuals’ names submitted by the Respondent is accurate and true, such individuals may in theory have certain rights or legitimate interests in a domain name that corresponds to their actual name. However, “legob” is not part of the Respondent’s own name. Thus, any such third party rights or legitimate interests are not available to the Respondent, and thus not relevant to this proceeding.
Second, the Respondent notes that there are many other domain names that consist of <lego[x].com>, where the “[x]” is another character. Similarly, this argument/position is equally misplaced. The Panel first notes that this proceeding concerns only the disputed domain name <legob.com>. The Panel cannot make a determination regarding the legitimacy of other domain names, where those other domain names are not part of the subject proceeding and where the salient details and facts are not available to this Panel. The mere fact that other domain names exist is of no consequence in determining whether the Respondent himself or herself has any rights or legitimate interests.
Lastly, the Panel is not persuaded by the Respondent’s uncorroborated explanation that the disputed domain name was created to help those suffering from arthritis and thus considers that it does not establish the Respondent’s rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
For the reasons mentioned above, the Panel finds that the Respondent has failed to demonstrate any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, and thus the second element has been established.
D. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel finds that there are sufficient reasons to find bad faith on the part of the Respondent in this case. First, it is difficult to dispute that the LEGO trademark is well-known throughout the world. The LEGO mark has been used since 1953, and is ranked 31 in the list of 2012 Consumer Superbrands, which is published by The Centre for Brand Analysis. Further, other WIPO decisions have already recognized this mark’s fame. (LEGO Juris A/S v. Michael Longo, WIPO Case No. D2008-1715: “The Panel finds, as numerous panels have found before, that the Complainant has established that LEGO is a well-known trademark and that the trademark is distinctive and famous.”) In light of these facts and the circumstances of this case, it is highly unlikely that the Respondent innocently obtained the disputed domain name in good faith and without knowledge of the Complainant’s rights. Second, the disputed domain name was linked to a domain name parking service, which is designed to generate revenue for the Respondent, and there is no evidence of any history of bona fide use or related demonstrable preparations by the Respondent. Finally, the Respondent’s uncorroborated explanation for his or her “good faith” intent in creating the disputed domain name (a combination of “leg” and “old boy” in reference to his or her father) appears to this Panel so implausible and contrived (and in fact it might be seen disrespectful under Korean culture), that the explanation itself (in combination with the entire lack of any supporting evidence) only further points to the existence of bad faith.
For the reasons given above, the Panel finds that the third and final element has been sufficiently established.
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 <legob.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: July 19, 2013