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WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center


Hermes International v. Brian E. Nielsen

Case No. D2013-1407

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Hermes International of Paris, France, represented by Fidal, France.

The Respondent is Brian E. Nielsen of New York, United States of America.

2. The Domain Names And Registrar

The disputed domain names <hermesbyhabitjp.org>, <hermesbyhabitualjp.org>, <hermesbyhaircutjp.org>, <hermesbyhairjp.org>, <hermesbyhalfjp.org>, <hermesbyhalljp.org>, <hermesbyhaltjp.org>, <hermesbyhamburgerjp.org>, <hermesbyhammerjp.org>, <hermesbyhandfuljp.org>, <hermesbyhandjp.org>, <hermesbyhandkerchiefjp.org>, <hermesbyhandsomejp.org>, <hermesbyhandwritingjp.org>, <hermesbyhandyjp.org>, <hermesbyhangjp.org>, <hermesbyhappenjp.org>, <hermesbyhappinessjp.org>, <hermesbyhappyjp.org>, <hermesbyhardenjp.org>, <hermesbyhardjp.org>, <hermesbyhardlyjp.org>, <hermesbyhardshipjp.org>, <hermesbyharmfuljp.org>, <hermesbyharmjp.org>, <hermesbyharmonyjp.org>, <hermesbyharnessjp.org>, <hermesbyharshjp.org>, <hermesbyharvestjp.org>, <hermesbyhastejp.org>, <hermesbyhastenjp.org>, <hermesbyhastyjp.org>, <hermesbyhatchjp.org>, <hermesbyhatefuljp.org>, <hermesbyhatejp.org>, <hermesbyhatjp.org>, <hermesbyhatredjp.org>, <hermesbyhavejp.org>, <hermesbyhawkjp.org>, <hermesbyhazardjp.org>, <hermesbyheadachejp.org>, <hermesbyheadingjp.org>, <hermesbyheadjp.org>, <hermesbyheadlinejp.org>, <hermesbyheadmasterjp.org>, <hermesbyheadquartersjp.org>, <hermesbyhealjp.org>, <hermesbyhealthyjp.org>, <hermesbyheapjp.org>, <hermesbyhearjp.org>, <hermesbyheartjp.org>, <hermesbyheatingjp.org>, <hermesbyheatjp.org>, <hermesbyheavenjp.org>, <hermesbyheavilyjp.org>, <hermesbyheavyjp.org>, <hermesbyhedgejp.org>, <hermesbyheeljp.org>, <hermesbyheightjp.org>, <hermesbyheirjp.org>, <hermesbyhejp.org>, <hermesbyhelicopterjp.org>, <hermesbyhelljp.org>, <hermesbyhellojp.org>, <hermesbyhelmetjp.org>, <hermesbyhelpfuljp.org>, <hermesbyhelpjp.org>, <hermesbyhencejp.org>, <hermesbyhenjp.org>, <hermesbyherdjp.org>, <hermesbyherejp.org>, <hermesbyherjp.org>, <hermesbyheroicjp.org>, <hermesbyheroinejp.org>, <hermesbyherojp.org>, <hermesbyherselfjp.org>, <hermesbyhersjp.org>, <hermesbyhesitatejp.org>, <hermesbyhidejp.org>, <hermesbyhighjp.org>, <hermesbyhighlyjp.org, <hermesbyhighwayjp.org>, <hermesbyhijp.org>, <hermesbyhilljp.org>, <hermesbyhillsidejp.org>, <hermesbyhimjp.org>, <hermesbyhimselfjp.org>, <hermesbyhintjp.org>, <hermesbyhirejp.org>, <hermesbyhisjp.org>, <hermesbyhistoryjp.org>, <hermesbyhitjp.org>, <hermesbyhobbyjp.org>, <hermesbyholdjp.org>, <hermesbyholejp.org>, <hermesbyholidayjp.org>, <hermesbyhollowjp.org> <hermesbyholyjp.org>, <hermesbyhomejp.org>, <hermesbyhonestyjp.org>, <hermesbyhoneyjp.org>, <hermesbyhonourablejp.org>, <hermesbyhonourjp.org>, <hermesbyhookjp.org>, <hermesbyhopefuljp.org>, <hermesbyhopejp.org>, <hermesbyhopelessjp.org>, <hermesbyhorizonjp.org>, <hermesbyhorizontaljp.org>, <hermesbyhornjp.org>, <hermesbyhorrorjp.org>, <hermesbyhorsejp.org>, <hermesbyhorsepowerjp.org>, <hermesbyhospitaljp.org>, <hermesbyhostessjp.org>, <hermesbyhostilejp.org>, <hermesbyhostjp.org>, <hermesbyhoteljp.org>, <hermesbyhotjp.org>, <hermesbyhourjp.org>, <hermesbyhouseholdjp.org>, <hermesbyhousejp.org>, <hermesbyhousewifejp.org>, <hermesbyhoweverjp.org>, <hermesbyhowjp.org>, <hermesbyhugejp.org>, <hermesbyhumblejp.org>, <hermesbyhumidjp.org>, <hermesbyhumorousjp.org>, <hermesbyhumourjp.org>, <hermesbyhundredjp.org>, <hermesbyhungerjp.org>, <hermesbyhungryjp.org>, <hermesbyhuntjp.org>, <hermesbyhurryjp.org>, <hermesbyhurtjp.org>, <hermesbyhusbandjp.org>, <hermesbyhutjp.org>, <hermesbyhydrogenjp.org>, <hermesbyice-creamjp.org>, <hermesbyicejp.org>, <hermesbyideajp.org>, <hermesbyidealjp.org>, <hermesbyidenticaljp.org>, <hermesbyidiomjp.org>, <hermesbyidlejp.org>, <hermesbyifjp.org>, <hermesbyignorantjp.org>, <hermesbyilljp.org>, <hermesbyillustratejp.org>, <hermesbyimagejp.org>, <hermesbyimaginaryjp.org>, <hermesbyimaginejp.org>, <hermesbyimitatejp.org>, <hermesbyimmediatejp.org>, <hermesbyimmediatelyjp.org>, <hermesbyimmensejp.org>, <hermesbyimmigrantjp.org>, <hermesbyimpactjp.org>, <hermesbyimpatientjp.org>, <hermesbyimplicationjp.org>, <hermesbyimplyjp.org>, <hermesbyimportancejp.org>, <hermesbyimportantjp.org>, <hermesbyimportjp.org>, <hermesbyimposejp.org>, <hermesbyimpossiblejp.org>, <hermesbyimpressionjp.org>, <hermesbyimpressivejp.org>, <hermesbyimpressjp.org>, <hermesbyimprisonjp.org>, <hermesbyimprovejp.org>, <hermesbyimprovementjp.org>, <hermesbyinchjp.org>, <hermesbyincidentjp.org>, <hermesbyinclinejp.org>, <hermesbyincludejp.org>, <hermesbyincomejp.org>, <hermesbyincorrectjp.org>, <hermesbyincreasejp.org>, <hermesbyincreasinglyjp.org> and <hermesbyinjp.org> (together the “Domain Names”) are registered with PDR Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on August 8, 2013. On August 8, 2013, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Names. On August 9, 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 August 27, 2013. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was September 16, 2013. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on September 17, 2013.

The Center appointed Tony Willoughby as the sole panelist in this matter on October 1, 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 well-known French fashion house founded in the mid-19th century. It specializes in the manufacture of silk scarves, handbags, perfumery and other luxury goods. Its turnover in 2012 was in excess of EUR 3 billion.

The Complainant is the proprietor of a large number of trade mark registrations of its HERMES trade mark, the earliest of which, United States Registration No. 0368785, dates back to March 1, 1939.

The Complainant operates its main website connected to its domain name, <hermes.com>, registered on November 24, 1997. It is also the registrant of other domain names such as <hermes.fr> (March 18, 1996), <hermes.asia> (February 14, 2008) and <hermes.pro> (September 8, 2008) all of which point to the Complainant’s main website.

The Domain Names were registered on March 27, 2013 and are all connected to Japanese language websites offering for sale HERMES branded goods as well as goods bearing the brand names of the Complainant’s competitors such as PRADA, CELINE and GUCCI among many others.

Furthermore, the unchallenged evidence of the complainant (supported by relevant documentation) is that the respondent has also registered a similar number of domain names in which the name “hermes” has been replaced by other brand names such as celine, chanel, coach, ferragamo (amongst others) making a total of over 1700 domain name registrations similarly connected to japanese websites offering for sale goods featuring the famous names of these and other fashion houses.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant contends that the Domain Names are confusingly similar to the Complainant’s HERMES trade mark, that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Names and that the Domain Names were registered and are being used in bad faith.

The essence of the Complainant’s case is that the Respondent intentionally selected the Domain Names featuring the Complainant’s well-known trade mark with a view to attracting Internet users to its websites for the purpose of selling counterfeits of a large number of well-known fashion brands.

B. Respondent

The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.

6. Discussion And Findings

A. General

According to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, for this Complaint to succeed in relation to the Domain Names, the Complainant must prove each of the following, namely that:

(i) The Domain Names are identical or confusingly similar to a trade mark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and

(ii) The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Names; and

(iii) The Domain Names have been registered and are being used in bad faith.

B. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Domain Names each comprise the prefix “hermesby” and the suffix “jp.org”. “jp” is the code for Japan and in the context of the Domain Names the “jp.org” suffix does no more than indicate Japan and the generic “.org” top level domain identifier. Between the prefix and the suffix are dictionary words in alphabetical order commencing with “habit” (i.e. <hermesbyhabitjp.org>) and ending with “in” (i.e. <hermesbyinjp.org>). None of the dictionary words preceded by the word “by” is sufficiently distinctive to disturb the distinctiveness of the Complainant’s trade mark, HERMES. If one had any doubts in the matter, they would be resolved on visiting the Respondent’s Japanese language websites, which are mainly (albeit not exclusively) devoted to the Complainant’s brand.

The Panel finds that the Domain Names are confusingly similar to HERMES, a trade mark in which the Complainant has rights.

C. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Complainant contends that the Domain Names are being used to sell counterfeit HERMES products of the Complainant. The Complainant makes that assertion six times in the Complaint, but produces no supporting evidence to the Panel to enable the Panel to accept that contention. It may be true, but the Panel has nothing to go on to make any such finding. The websites in question are all Japanese language sites and there is nothing about those sites to alert the Panel to the probability that the products on offer are counterfeit. There is no exhibited analysis of any of the Respondent’s products, nor even a pricing comparison, which might have helped.

Thus, the Panel must approach the case on the basis that the Respondent is selling genuine HERMES products. The Complainant contends (and the Panel accepts) that the Respondent has no permission from the Complainant to use the HERMES trade mark in the Domain Names or for any other purpose. Accordingly, the Panel has to treat the Respondent has an unauthorized reseller of genuine HERMES products.

Here, paragraph 2.3 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Second Edition is of help. It reads as follows:

“Normally, a reseller or distributor can be making a bona fide offering of goods and services and thus have a legitimate interest in the domain name if its use meets certain requirements. These requirements normally include the actual offering of goods and services at issue, the use of the site to sell only the trademarked goods, and the site's accurately and prominently disclosing the registrant's relationship with the trademark holder. The respondent must also not try to "corner the market" in domain names that reflect the trademark. Many panels subscribing to this view have also found that not only authorized but also unauthorized resellers may fall within such Oki Data principles. Pay-per-click (PPC) websites would not normally fall within such principles where such websites seek to take unfair advantage of the value of the trademark.”

The reference to Oki Data is a reference to Oki Data Americas, Inc. v. ASD, Inc. WIPO Case No. D2001-0903, which is the leading UDRP authority for this type of case. In the present case, the problem for the Respondent is that the websites to which the Domain Names are connected are not used exclusively for the sale of the Complainant’s branded product. The sites feature the products of a large number of the Complainant’s competitors including Prada, Celine and Gucci to name but three.

On this basis alone the Respondent’s websites fail the Oki Data principles.

The Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Names.

D. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

In the Complaint the Complainant asserts bad faith registration and use on a number of grounds. For present purposes it is only necessary to deal with the fact that the Respondent is using the Domain Names for one purpose only, namely to sell HERMES branded products of the Complainant and branded products of competitors of the Complainant1. The Complainant asserts that this is the reason that the Respondent registered the Domain Names and the Respondent has not seen fit to challenge that assertion.

The Panel believes it to be probable that people visiting the Respondent’s websites connected to the Domain Names, while appreciating that the websites themselves are independent of the Complainant, will nonetheless believe that they are visiting websites devoted exclusively to the brand identified in the Domain Names, i.e. the Complainant’s HERMES brand. Instead, they will find themselves at websites promoting the sale of products not only of the Complainant, but also the Complainant’s competitors. In other words, by adopting domain names featuring the Complainant’s HERMES trade mark the Respondent is attracting Internet users to his websites and is then offering for sale to those visitors not only the Complainant’s goods but also those of the Complainant’s competitors. On no basis can that be anything other than an abusive use of the Domain Names.

The Panel finds that the Domain Names were registered and are being used in bad faith within the meaning of paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy which reads:

“Evidence of Registration and Use in Bad Faith. For the purposes of Paragraph 4(a)(iii), the following circumstances, in particular but without limitation, if found by the Panel to be present, shall be evidence of the registration and use of a domain name in bad faith:

(iv) by using the domain name, you have intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to your web site or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant's mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of your web site or location or of a product or service on your web site or location.”

The Panel finds that the Domain Names were registered and are being used in bad faith.

7. Decision

For the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the Domain Names <hermesbyhabitjp.org>, <hermesbyhabitualjp.org>, <hermesbyhaircutjp.org>, <hermesbyhairjp.org>, <hermesbyhalfjp.org>, <hermesbyhalljp.org>, <hermesbyhaltjp.org>, <hermesbyhamburgerjp.org>, <hermesbyhammerjp.org>, <hermesbyhandfuljp.org>, <hermesbyhandjp.org>, <hermesbyhandkerchiefjp.org>, <hermesbyhandsomejp.org>, <hermesbyhandwritingjp.org>, <hermesbyhandyjp.org>, <hermesbyhangjp.org>, <hermesbyhappenjp.org>, <hermesbyhappinessjp.org>, <hermesbyhappyjp.org>, <hermesbyhardenjp.org>, <hermesbyhardjp.org>, <hermesbyhardlyjp.org>, <hermesbyhardshipjp.org>, <hermesbyharmfuljp.org>, <hermesbyharmjp.org>, <hermesbyharmonyjp.org>, <hermesbyharnessjp.org>, <hermesbyharshjp.org>, <hermesbyharvestjp.org>, <hermesbyhastejp.org>, <hermesbyhastenjp.org>, <hermesbyhastyjp.org>, <hermesbyhatchjp.org>, <hermesbyhatefuljp.org>, <hermesbyhatejp.org>, <hermesbyhatjp.org>, <hermesbyhatredjp.org>, <hermesbyhavejp.org>, <hermesbyhawkjp.org>, <hermesbyhazardjp.org>, <hermesbyheadachejp.org>, <hermesbyheadingjp.org>, <hermesbyheadjp.org>, <hermesbyheadlinejp.org>, <hermesbyheadmasterjp.org>, <hermesbyheadquartersjp.org>, <hermesbyhealjp.org>, <hermesbyhealthyjp.org>, <hermesbyheapjp.org>, <hermesbyhearjp.org>, <hermesbyheartjp.org>, <hermesbyheatingjp.org>, <hermesbyheatjp.org>, <hermesbyheavenjp.org>, <hermesbyheavilyjp.org>, <hermesbyheavyjp.org>, <hermesbyhedgejp.org>, <hermesbyheeljp.org>, <hermesbyheightjp.org>, <hermesbyheirjp.org>, <hermesbyhejp.org>, <hermesbyhelicopterjp.org>, <hermesbyhelljp.org>, <hermesbyhellojp.org>, <hermesbyhelmetjp.org>, <hermesbyhelpfuljp.org>, <hermesbyhelpjp.org>, <hermesbyhencejp.org>, <hermesbyhenjp.org>, <hermesbyherdjp.org>, <hermesbyherejp.org>, <hermesbyherjp.org>, <hermesbyheroicjp.org>, <hermesbyheroinejp.org>, <hermesbyherojp.org>, <hermesbyherselfjp.org>, <hermesbyhersjp.org>, <hermesbyhesitatejp.org>, <hermesbyhidejp.org>, <hermesbyhighjp.org>, <hermesbyhighlyjp.org, <hermesbyhighwayjp.org>, <hermesbyhijp.org>, <hermesbyhilljp.org>, <hermesbyhillsidejp.org>, <hermesbyhimjp.org>, <hermesbyhimselfjp.org>, <hermesbyhintjp.org>, <hermesbyhirejp.org>, <hermesbyhisjp.org>, <hermesbyhistoryjp.org>, <hermesbyhitjp.org>, <hermesbyhobbyjp.org>, <hermesbyholdjp.org>, <hermesbyholejp.org>, <hermesbyholidayjp.org>, <hermesbyhollowjp.org> <hermesbyholyjp.org>, <hermesbyhomejp.org>, <hermesbyhonestyjp.org>, <hermesbyhoneyjp.org>, <hermesbyhonourablejp.org>, <hermesbyhonourjp.org>, <hermesbyhookjp.org>, <hermesbyhopefuljp.org>, <hermesbyhopejp.org>, <hermesbyhopelessjp.org>, <hermesbyhorizonjp.org>, <hermesbyhorizontaljp.org>, <hermesbyhornjp.org>, <hermesbyhorrorjp.org>, <hermesbyhorsejp.org>, <hermesbyhorsepowerjp.org>, <hermesbyhospitaljp.org>, <hermesbyhostessjp.org>, <hermesbyhostilejp.org>, <hermesbyhostjp.org>, <hermesbyhoteljp.org>, <hermesbyhotjp.org>, <hermesbyhourjp.org>, <hermesbyhouseholdjp.org>, <hermesbyhousejp.org>, <hermesbyhousewifejp.org>, <hermesbyhoweverjp.org>, <hermesbyhowjp.org>, <hermesbyhugejp.org>, <hermesbyhumblejp.org>, <hermesbyhumidjp.org>, <hermesbyhumorousjp.org>, <hermesbyhumourjp.org>, <hermesbyhundredjp.org>, <hermesbyhungerjp.org>, <hermesbyhungryjp.org>, <hermesbyhuntjp.org>, <hermesbyhurryjp.org>, <hermesbyhurtjp.org>, <hermesbyhusbandjp.org>, <hermesbyhutjp.org>, <hermesbyhydrogenjp.org>, <hermesbyice-creamjp.org>, <hermesbyicejp.org>, <hermesbyideajp.org>, <hermesbyidealjp.org>, <hermesbyidenticaljp.org>, <hermesbyidiomjp.org>, <hermesbyidlejp.org>, <hermesbyifjp.org>, <hermesbyignorantjp.org>, <hermesbyilljp.org>, <hermesbyillustratejp.org>, <hermesbyimagejp.org>, <hermesbyimaginaryjp.org>, <hermesbyimaginejp.org>, <hermesbyimitatejp.org>, <hermesbyimmediatejp.org>, <hermesbyimmediatelyjp.org>, <hermesbyimmensejp.org>, <hermesbyimmigrantjp.org>, <hermesbyimpactjp.org>, <hermesbyimpatientjp.org>, <hermesbyimplicationjp.org>, <hermesbyimplyjp.org>, <hermesbyimportancejp.org>, <hermesbyimportantjp.org>, <hermesbyimportjp.org>, <hermesbyimposejp.org>, <hermesbyimpossiblejp.org>, <hermesbyimpressionjp.org>, <hermesbyimpressivejp.org>, <hermesbyimpressjp.org>, <hermesbyimprisonjp.org>, <hermesbyimprovejp.org>, <hermesbyimprovementjp.org>, <hermesbyinchjp.org>, <hermesbyincidentjp.org>, <hermesbyinclinejp.org>, <hermesbyincludejp.org>, <hermesbyincomejp.org>, <hermesbyincorrectjp.org>, <hermesbyincreasejp.org>, <hermesbyincreasinglyjp.org>, <hermesbyinjp.org> be transferred to the Complainant.

Tony Willoughby
Sole Panelist
Date: October 15, 2013

1 The Complainant asserts that all the goods in question are counterfeit, but for the reason set out in Section C above the Panel is unable to proceed on that basis.