WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Etihad Airways PJSC v. Sohail Nazar
Case No. D2013-1608
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Etihad Airways PJSC of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (“UAE”), represented by DLA Piper UK LLP, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (“UK”).
The Respondent is Sohail Nazar of Abbottabad, Pakistan.
2. The Domain Names and Registrar
The disputed domain names <etihadairwaysuk.com> and <etihaduk.com> are registered with PDR Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on September 12, 2013. On September 12, 2013, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain names. On September 13, 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 identified a formal deficiency in the Complaint in that it did not contain the statement required by the Rules, paragraph 3(b)(xii) that a copy of the Complaint had been sent to the Respondent and notifed the Complainant of the deficiency on September 18, 2013. The Complainant replied on September 18, 2013, with the required statement and 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 September 19, 2013. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was October 9, 2013. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on October 10, 2013.
The Center appointed Michael J. Spence as the sole panelist in this matter on October 22, 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 national airline of the UAE. It is a “world-class carrier with passenger and cargo routes to 87 destinations in 55 countries.” It owns a significant portfolio of trademarks including UK trademarks ETIHAD with registration no. 2345415 of October 9, 2003 and ETIHAD AIRWAYS with registration no. 2360564 of April 8, 2004. The Respondent at one point operated a website offering travel services for sale under the disputed domain names. Both disputed domain names subsequently and currently resolve to websites offering them for sale.
The disputed domain names were registered on February 21, 2011.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the disputed domain names are identical or confusingly similar to its trademarks; that the Respondent has not rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names; and that they have been registered and are being used, in bad faith.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The disputed domain names contain the Complainants trademarks in their entirety and the addition of a geographical descriptor does nothing to distinguish the disputed domain names from the trademarks. Indeed, given that the Complainant offers flight services to the UK, it may reinforce the potential for confusion. There can be no doubt that the disputed domain names are identical or confusingly similar to the Complainants trademarks, especially given the strength of the Complainant’s reputation in those marks.
The Panel therefore finds that the Complainant has established the first element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy in relation to the disputed domain names.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
It is for the Complainant to establish, at least prima facie that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names (Croatia Airlines d.d. v. Modern Empire Internet Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2003-0455; Belupo d.d. v. WACHEM d.o.o., WIPO Case No. D2004-0110).
In this case, the use that has been made of the disputed domain names includes use for a website the evident purpose of which was to profit from confusion between the disputed domain names and the Complainant’s trademarks. Extensive evidence of this intention has been provided by the Complainant. In addition, the Respondent has used the disputed domain names for the purpose of offering them for sale. Neither of these types of use constitutes use that gives rise to rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names.
The Panel therefore finds that the Complainant has established the second element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy in relation to the disputed domain names.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Complainant has again provided extensive evidence of registration and use in bad faith. But the intention to profit from confusion between a disputed domain name and a trademark, or to profit from the sale of a disputed domain name identical or confusingly similar to a trademark, are in themselves sufficient to establish bad faith in the registration and use of the disputed domain names. In this case the evidence of such behavior is strong, especially given the strength of the likelihood of confusion.
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 <etihadairwaysuk.com> and <etihaduk.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Michael J. Spence
Date: October 25, 2013