WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Guccio Gucci S.p.A. v. Bo Zhou

Case No. D2013-1624

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Guccio Gucci S.p.A. of Florence, Italy, represented by Studio Barbero, Italy.

The Respondent is Bo Zhou of Guangzhou, Florida, United States of America (“USA”); of Peng yang, Iowa, USA; Zhengan, Alabama, USA; of Zhengzheng, Iowa, USA; of Guangzhou, Illinois, USA; and of Ling pei, Iowa, USA.

2. The Domain Names and Registrar

The disputed domain names:

<besthotgucci.com>
<besthotguccijapan.com>
<bigguccijapan.net>
<bredhotguccijapan.com>
<buygucciyh2japan.com>
<buy-japangucciyahoo.com>
<cheap-gucci-japan.com>
<coldguccifan.com>
<coldguccijapan.com>
<coldguccilacquer.com>
<coldgucciyen.com>
<easy-gucci-japan.com>
<find-gucci-japan.com>
<freeguccijapan.org>
<freehotgucci.com>
<freehotguccijapan.com>
<fun-gucci-japan.com>
<global-gucci-japan.com>
<gucci-asiancountry.com>
<gucci-japan-blog.com>
<gucci-japan-center.com>
<gucci-japan-club.com>
<gucci-japanesearchipelago.com>
<gucci-japaneseislands.com>
<gucci-japan-homes.com>
<gucci-japan-media.com>
<gucci-japan-service.com>
<gucci-japan-site.com>
<gucci-japan-usa.com>
<guccijapanvip2home.com>
<gucci-japan-work.com>
<gucci-japan-world.com>
<gucci-japn.com>
<gucci-lacquerware.com>
<gucci-nihon.com>
<guccisalehomes.com>
<guccisalejobs.com>
<guccisaleleads.com>
<guccisaletraining.com>
<gucci-yen.com>
<gucci2yhsale-tojp.com>
<gucc1-jap4n.com>
<hi-guccijapanviphome.com>
<homegucci.com>
<home-gucci-japan.com>
<hotguccidesign.com>
<hotguccifan.com>
<hotguccigroup.com>
<hotguccihomes.com>
<hotgucciinc.com>
<hotguccijapanblog.com>
<hotguccijapancenter.com>
<hotguccijapanclub.com>
<hotguccijapangroup.com>
<hotguccijapanguide.com>
<hotguccijapanhome.com>
<hotguccijapanhomes.com>
<hotguccijapaninc.com>
<hotguccijapanmedia.com>
<hotguccijapanonline.com>
<hotguccijapansale.com>
<hotguccijapanservice.com>
<hotguccijapanshop.com>
<hotguccijapansite.com>
<hotguccijapanstore.com>
<hotguccijapantech.com>
<hotguccijapanwork.com>
<hotguccijapanworld.com>
<hotguccijapn.com>
<hotguccijap4n.com>
<hotguccijpn.com>
<hotguccijudo.com>
<hotguccij4pan.com>
<hotguccij4p4n.com>
<hotguccilacquer.com>
<hotguccinihon.com>
<hotguccinippon.com>
<hotgucciyen.com>
<hothotgucci.com>
<hothotguccijapan.com>
<hotrodguccijapan.com>
<hottiesguccijapan.com>
<ho7guccijapan.com>
<ho7guccijap4n.com>
<htguccijapan.com>
<htguccijapn.com>
<htguccijpn.com>
<h0tguccijapan.com>
<h0tguccijap4n.com>
<h0tguccij4pan.com>
<h07guccijapan.com>
<just-gucci-japan.com>
<live-gucci-japan.com>
<newguccijapn.com>
<newguccijap4n.com>
<newguccijpn.com>
<newguccij4pan.com>
<newguccij4p4n.com>
<newoutletguccisale2jp.com>
<nwguccijapan.com>
<nwguccijapn.com>
<nwguccijpn.com>
<n3wguccijapan.com>
<n3wguccijap4n.com>
<one-gucci-japan.com>
<oneguccijapanyh2-sale.com>
<onehotguccijapan.com>
<online-gucci-japan.com>
<pipingguccijapan.com>
<pipingguccilacquer.com>
<realhotguccijapan.com>
<redhotgucci.com>
<red-hotguccijapan.com>
<redhotguccijapan.com>
<sexyhotgucci.com>
<sexyhotguccijapan.com>
<shop-gucci-japan.com>
<smokinghotguccijapan.com>
<solarhotguccijapan.com>
<super-gucci-japan.com>
<superhotgucci.com>
<superhotguccijapan.com>
<theguccitosaleyahoo.com>
<top-gucci-japan.com>
<topguccijapan.net>
<warmguccifan.com>
<warmguccijapan.com>
<warmguccilacquer.com>
<web-gucci-japan.com>
<webhotgucci.com>
<webhotguccijapan.com>
<world-gucci-japan.com>
<your-gucci-japan.com>
<6ucci-j4p4n.com>

(the “Disputed Domain Names”) are registered with Domain.com, LLC (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on September 16, 2013. On September 16, 2013, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Disputed Domain Names. On September 17, 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 September 27, 2013. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was October 17, 2013. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on October 18, 2013.

The Center appointed Nicholas Weston as the sole panelist in this matter on November 6, 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 language of this administrative proceeding is English, being the language of the registration agreement.

4. Factual Background

The Complainant operates a business selling apparel and accessories and has 380 directly operated stores worldwide. The Complainant holds thousands of national and international trademark registrations for the GUCCI trademark and variations of it in numerous countries worldwide including Italian Registration No. 801958 for GUCCI (word mark), filed on January 13, 1977; International Registration No. 429833 for GUCCI (word mark), registered on March 30, 1977; and Community Trademark Registration No. 000121988 for GUCCI (word mark) registered on November 24, 1998 which it uses to designate goods and services in every international class ranging from plastics in class 1 to beauty care in class 42. Approximate global revenue for sales of GUCCI brand product in 2011 was USD 2.1 billion.1

The Complainant conducts business on the Internet using numerous domain names containing the word “gucci” including <gucci.com>. The Complainant owns more than 1,000 domain names comprising or containing the word “gucci”.

The Respondent registered the Disputed Domain Names between April and May 2013. Some of these resolve to a web page containing advertisements and links in connection with GUCCI brand apparel and accessories in Japanese; others are inactive.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant cites its trademark registrations of the trademark GUCCI in various countries as prima facie evidence of ownership.

The Complainant submits that the mark GUCCI is well-known (citing Guccio Gucci S.p.A., v. Bravia Stoli, WIPO Case No. D2009-1170; Guccio Gucci SpA v. Zhou Guodong, WIPO Case No. D2010-1695; Guccio Gucci S.p.A. v. D T, WIPO Case No. DTV2011-0006; Guccio Gucci S.p.A v. Andrea Hubner, Beijing Harmony Software Co. Ltd., jiang wang, brian miller, Pornsawang Chotima, Domain Whois Protection Service, Whois Agent, Jie Zhou, Jayzhou, Hi to every day in Zhengzhou Medical Devices Co., Ltd., tian jin hua jin you xian gong si, lihong jay, hu, lizhu hu, da tou, Tamia Liu, Wang Jie, Yijiwangluo, WIPO Case No. D2012-2212). It submits that the Disputed Domain Names are confusingly similar to its trademark, because each of the Disputed Domain Names incorporates in its entirety the GUCCI trademark (citing Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Henry Chan, WIPO Case No. D2004-0056; PepsiCo, Inc. v. Henry Chan, WIPO Case No. D2004-0033; Banca Intesa S.p.A. v. Roshan Wickramaratna, WIPO Case No. D2006-0215; Guccio Gucci S.p.A. v. Bravia Stoli, WIPO Case D2009-1170; Guccio Gucci S.p.A. v. Edardy Ou, WIPO Case No. D2011-1028; and Guccio Gucci S.p.A. v. Domain Administrator, WIPO Case No. D2010-1836) and that the similarity is not removed by the addition of “the non-distinctive elements "best", "hot", "big", bred", "buy", "cold", "cheap", "lacquer/s", "easy", "find", "free", "fun", "global", "country", "club", "center", "blog", "sale", "training", "site", "jobs", "home", "service", "leads", "jobs", "judo", "world", "work", "vip", "yen", "archipelago", "islands", "live", "new", "one", "your", "web", "warm", "top", "the", "super", "shop", "sexy", "red", "real", "new", etc.”

The Complainant contends that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Disputed Domain Names because the Respondent has no trademark rights in or license to use the Complainant’s trademark (citing Pharmacia & Upjohn Company v. Moreonline, WIPO Case No. D2000-0134; National Football League Properties, Inc. and Chargers Football Company v. One Sex Entertainment Co., a/k/a chargergirls.net, WIPO Case No. D2000-0118; N.C.P. Marketing Group, Inc. v. Entredomains, WIPO Case No. D2000-0387). The Complainant also contends that use which intentionally trades on the fame of another to sell prima facie counterfeit products can not constitute a bona fide offering of goods or services (citing Guccio Gucci S.p.A. v. Zhiyuan Zou, Zouzhi Zhou, Fujian Anfu, WIPO Case No. D2012-0888: “the sales of counterfeit goods from a domain name that incorporates the mark used for genuine goods to which the counterfeits correspond, does not provide a legitimate interest in that domain name.”).

Finally, the Complainant alleges that the registration and use of the Disputed Domain Names were, and currently are, in bad faith, contrary to paragraphs 4(a)(iii) and 4(b) of the Policy, and paragraph 3(b)(ix)(3) of the Rules, as Respondent is using the Complainant’s GUCCI mark in the Disputed Domain Names, “to capitalize on the reputation of Complainant's mark by diverting Internet users seeking products under GUCCI mark to their own websites for financial gain, by intentionally creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant's mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of its websites and/or the goods offered or promoted through their websites, according to paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy”. The Complainant further contends that the well-known reputation of the Complainant’s trademark, its long standing registrations and use, and the sale by the Respondent of goods that prima facie are counterfeit are other factors indicating bad faith.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

Under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the complainant has the burden of proving the following:

(i) that the domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights; and

(ii) that the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and

(iii) that the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

A. Multiple Domain Names

There are 134 domain names in this case. The Policy and the Rules do make express provision permitting consolidation of multiple domain names. Under the Rules, paragraph 3(c), a complaint may relate to more than one domain name, provided that the domain names are registered by the same domain name holder. In the present case, the Disputed Domain Names have all been registered by the same registrant, Bo Zhou, as confirmed by the Registrar.

B. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Complainant has produced sufficient evidence to demonstrate that it has registered trademark rights in the mark GUCCI in many countries throughout the world. The Panel finds that the Complainant has rights in the mark GUCCI in the Complainant’s relevant jurisdiction, Italy, pursuant to Italian Trademark Registration No. 801958 filed on January 13, 1977. Even so, location of the trademark is irrelevant for the purpose of finding rights in a trademark under the first element of the UDRP: , see Thaigem Global Marketing Limited v. Sanchai Aree, WIPO Case No. D2002-0358 (the “propriety of a domain name registration may be questioned by comparing it to a trademark registered in any country”). The Panel finds that the Complainant has rights in the mark GUCCI.

It is well established from numerous previous UDRP decisions that the mark GUCCI is well-known, see Guccio Gucci S.p.A., v. Bravia Stoli, WIPO Case No. D2009-1170 (“GUCCI mark is a famous luxury brand”); Guccio Gucci SpA v. Zhou Guodong, WIPO Case No. D2010-1695 (“the trade mark GUCCI is well-known”); Guccio Gucci S.p.A. v. D T, WIPO Case No. DTV2011-0006 (“the trademark GUCCI enjoys well-known reputation”); Guccio Gucci S.p.A. v. ddsidake, sidake, WIPO Case No. D2012-2237 (“the Complainant’s well-known trademark”); Guccio Gucci S.p.A. v. Brenda Hawkins, WIPO Case No. D2013-0603 (“the Respondent registered a total number of 53 domain names all incorporating the Complainant’s highly distinctive and well known GUCCI Marks and additional terms referring to the Complainant’s products and business. It is inconceivable that the Respondent registered the disputed domain names without knowledge of the Complainant.”).

Turning to whether the Disputed Domain Names are identical or confusingly similar to the GUCCI trademark, the Panel observes that the Disputed Domain Names fall into two categories:

The “descriptive and geographical” Domain Names

1. The first category comprises: (a) an exact reproduction of the Complainant’s trademark; (b) conjoined with the descriptive or geographical terms set out below or a combination of them; and (c) followed by a top level domain suffix “.com”, “.org” or “.net”. The descriptive words used are as follows: “best”, “big”, “blog”, "bred”, "buy", "center", "cheap", "club", "cold", "design", "fan", "easy", "find", "free", "fun", "group", "guide", "home", "homes", "hot", "hotties", "inc", "jobs", "judo", "just", "lacquer", "lacquerware", "leads", "live", "media", "new", "one", "online", "outlet", "piping", "real", "rod", "sale", "service", "sexy", "shop", "site", "smoking", "solar", "store", "super", "tech", "to", "top", "training", "vip", "warm", "web", "work", "yahoo", "yen" and "your". The geographical terms used are as follows: "asian country", "global", "japan", "japanese archipelago", "japanese islands", "nihon", "nippon", "usa" and "world".

The ‘misspellings’ Domain Names

2. The second category comprise: (a) an exact or misspelled reproduction of the Complainant’s trademark; (b) conjoined with a misspelled descriptive or geographical term set out above or in a combination; and (c) followed by a top level domain suffix “.com”, “.org” or “.net”. The misspellings are as follows: "japa", "2yhsale-tojp", "2home", "gucc1-jap4n", "japn", "jap4n", "jpn", "j4pan", "j4p4n", "ho7", "ht", "h0t", "2jp", "nw", "n3w", "nyh2", "6ucci".

It is well established that the generic top level designation used as part of a domain name should be disregarded: (see Magnum Piering, Inc. v. The Mudjackers and Garwood S. Wilson, Sr., WIPO Case No. D2000-1525; Rollerblade, Inc. v. Chris McCrady, WIPO Case No. D2000-0429; Phenomedia AG v. Meta Verzeichnis Com, WIPO Case No. D2001-0374). The relevant comparison to be made is with the second level portion of the Disputed Domain Names.

It is also well established that where a domain name incorporates a complainant’s well-known and distinctive trademark in its entirety, it is confusingly similar to that mark despite the addition of a word or, in this case, a descriptive word: (see Oki Data Americas, Inc. v. ASD, Inc., supra; Wal Mart Stores, Inc. v. Kuchora, Kal, WIPO Case No. D2006-0033). Moreover, the addition of the geographical location to a trade mark does not prevent the domain name from being confusingly similar to the trade mark: (See Koninklijke Philips Electronics NV v. Gopan P.K., WIPO Case No. D2001-0171: ("[a country name] adds nothing other than to signify a geographical location or limitation and would be regarded by virtually every person who saw the disputed domain name as an indication that it was the [Complainant’s] domain name"). This Panel therefore finds that the additional words descriptive of the Complainant’s products or geographical element or elements combined with the Complainant’s registered trademark do not serve to adequately distinguish and therefore the ‘descriptive and geographical’ Domain Names in this matter remain confusingly similar to the registered trademark: see Microsoft Corporation v. Global Net 2000, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2000-0554; Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG v. "Porsche AG", WIPO Case No. D2002-0103; Corbis Corporation v. RegisterFly.com/Whois Protection Service/surf advertising company/ Joseph, Graham, WIPO Case No. D2006-0546; Guccio Gucci S.p.A. v. Brenda Hawkins, WIPO Case No. D2013-0603.

It is also well established that where a domain name incorporates a common and obvious misspelling of a complainant’s well known and distinctive registered trade mark, it is confusingly similar to that mark despite the misspelling: see WordPress Foundation v. duanxiangwang, WIPO Case No. D2011-0836; (“The Domain Names [<wirdpress.org>, <wordprees.org> and <wordprss.org>] are all common and obvious misspellings of the Complainant’s registered trade mark, WORDPRESS”).

This Panel finds, consistently with a long line of typosquatting decisions by other panels, that the substitution of the letter "g" with "6" in the Complainant’s trademark incorporated into the Disputed Domain Name <6ucci-j4p4n.com> as well as the descriptive and geographical words misspelled in the “misspellings” Domain Names do not serve to adequately distinguish the “misspellings” Domain Names and so these also remain confusingly similar to the registered trademark: see WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Second Edition (“WIPO Overview 2.0”), paragraph 1.7.

In Arthur Guinness Son & Co. (Dublin) Limited v. Dejan Macesic, WIPO Case No. D2000 1698, the panel held that “[t]he use to which the site is put has no bearing upon the issue whether the domain name is confusingly similar to the trademark, because by the time Internet users arrive at the Website, they have already been confused by the similarity between the domain name and the Complainant’s mark into thinking they are on their way to the Complainant’s Website”. Each and all of the Disputed Domain Names are therefore confusingly similar to the GUCCI trademark.

Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Complainant has established the first element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.

C. Rights or Legitimate Interests

Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy lists the ways that the respondent may demonstrate rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name:

(i) before any notice of the dispute, respondent’s use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the disputed domain name or a name corresponding to the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; or

(ii) the respondent (as an individual, business or other organization) has been commonly known by the disputed domain name, even if it has acquired no trademark or service mark rights; or

(iii) the respondent is making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue.

The Policy places the burden on the complainant to establish the absence of respondent’s rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Because of the inherent difficulties in proving a negative, the consensus view is that the complainant need only put forward a prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests. The evidential burden then shifts to the respondent to rebut that prima facie case (see World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc. v. Ringside Collectibles, WIPO Case No. D2000-1306; WIPO Overview 2.0, paragraph 2.1).

It is well established that a respondent has a right to register and use a domain name to attract Internet traffic based solely on the appeal of a commonly used descriptive phrase, even where the domain name is confusingly similar to the registered mark of a complainant (see National Trust for Historic Preservation v. Preston, WIPO Case No. D2005-0424; Private Media Group, Inc., Cinecraft Ltd. v. DHL Virtual Networks Inc., WIPO Case No. D2004-0843; T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc. v. J A Rich, WIPO Case No. D2001-1044; Sweeps Vacuum & Repair Center, Inc. v. Nett Corp., WIPO Case No. D2001-0031; EAuto, L.L.C. v. Triple S. Auto Parts d/b/a Kung Fu Yea Enterprises, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2000-0047). However, this business model is legitimate only if the domain name was registered because of its attraction as a descriptive phrase comprising dictionary words, and not because of its value as a trademark and that web site is then used to post links that are relevant only to the common meaning of the phrase comprising dictionary words (see National Trust for Historic Preservation v. Barry Preston, WIPO Case No. D2005-0424; The Knot, Inc. v. In Knot We Trust LTD, WIPO Case No. D2006-0340; WIPO Overview 2.0, paragraph 2.2).

However, the Complainant contends that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Disputed Domain Name because 77 of the 134 Disputed Domain Names misleadingly directing Internet users to web pages advertising or offering for sale apparently counterfeit products in connection and competition with the Complainant’s mark and thereby “Respondent did not intend to use the disputed Domain Names in connection with any legitimate purpose”. This Panel draws the adverse inference, from the evidence of unfeasibly low pricing, that the goods advertised by Respondent seem to be counterfeit (see Karen Millen Fashions Limited v. Belle Kerry, WIPO Case No. D2012-0436). The Panel observes that Respondent is not a licensee of the Complainant and has not otherwise obtained authorization to use the Complainant’s trademark. Having regard to the material disclosed to the Panel or otherwise apparent from the record Panel finds there is no legal relationship between the Respondent and the Complainant.

On any objective view, the Respondent is not a reseller with a legitimate interest in a domain name incorporating a manufacturer's mark, such that it could meet the tests set out in Oki Data Americas, Inc. v. ASD, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2001-0903. Nor, alternatively, is the Respondent commonly known by the Disputed Domain Names.

Further, 57 of the 134 Disputed Domain Names are passively held, specifically the following: <buygucciyh2japan.com> , <buy-japangucciyahoo.com>, <cheap-gucci-japan.com>, <easy-gucci-japan.com>, <find-gucci-japan.com>, <gucc1-jap4n.com>, <gucci-japan-blog.com>, <gucci-japan-center.com>, <gucci-japan-club.com>, <gucci-japanesearchipelago.com>, <gucci-japan-homes.com>, <gucci-japan-media.com>, <gucci-japan-service.com>, <gucci-japan-site.com>, <gucci-japan-usa.com>, <guccijapanvip2home.com>, <gucci-japan-work.com>, <gucci-japan-world.com>, <gucci-japn.com>, <gucci-lacquerware.com>, <gucci-nihon.com>, <guccisalehomes.com>, <guccisalejobs.com>, <guccisaleleads.com>, <guccisaletraining.com>, <gucci-yen.com>, <hi-guccijapanviphome.com>, <home-gucci- japan.com>, <just-gucci-japan.com>, <live-gucci-japan.com>, <n3wguccijap4n.com>, <n3wguccijapan.com>, <newguccij4p4n.com>, <newguccij4pan.com>, <newguccijap4n.com>, <newguccijapn.com>, <newguccijpn.com>, <newoutletguccisale2jp.com>, <nwguccijapan.com>, <nwguccijapn.com>, <nwguccijpn.com>, <one-gucci-japan.com>, <oneguccijapanyh2-sale.com>, <online-gucci-japan.com>, <shop-gucci-japan.com>, <super-gucci-japan.com>, <theguccitosaleyahoo.com>, <top-gucci-japan.com>, <your-gucci-japan.com>, <fun-gucci- japan.com>, <global-gucci-japan.com>, <gucci2yhsale-tojp.com> , <gucci-asiancountry.com>, <6ucci-j4p4n.com>, <gucci-japaneseislands.com>, <web-gucci-japan.com> and <world-gucci- japan.com>.

This Panel finds that the Respondent is making an illegitimate commercial use of the Disputed Domain Names. By misleadingly diverting consumers in 77 of the 134 instances, it can be inferred that the Respondent is opportunistically using Complainant’s well-known mark in order to attract Internet users to its websites and has been using the Disputed Domain Names to divert Internet traffic to its web pages.

The Respondent is not actively using the Disputed Domain names in 57 of the 134 instances of registration. Complainant submits that passive use is significant under this prong and cites the finding in Sanofi-aventis v. Gerard Scarretta, WIPO Case No. D2009-0229 which states “The Panel is satisfied that the Complainant has made a prima facie showing of the Respondent's lack of rights or legitimate interests in that the Respondent does not appear to be known by the disputed domain name and has not been authorised by the Complainant to use its trademark in any manner whatsoever. Furthermore, given the Respondent's incorporation in the disputed domain name of a trademark which is highly distinctive and exclusively referable to the Complainant, the Panel cannot conceive of any possible right or legitimate interest which the Respondent could have in the disputed domain name. Accordingly, the burden shifts to the Respondent to prove that it has such rights and interests. The Respondent has chosen not to respond to the Complainant's contentions nor to provide any evidence of rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. In these circumstances the Panel is satisfied that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name and that the Complainant has therefore met the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.”

In view of the similar relevant facts, the Panel accepts that submission and finds for the Complainant on the second element of the Policy.

D. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The third element of the Policy that the Complainant must also demonstrate is that the Disputed Domain Names have been registered and used in bad faith. Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy sets out certain circumstances to be construed as evidence of both.

“b. 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, (relevantly):

ii. you have registered the domain name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that you have engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or

iii. you have registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or

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 examples of bad faith registration and use in paragraph 4(b) are not exhaustive of all circumstances from which such bad faith may be found (see Telstra Corporation Limited v. Nuclear Marshmallows, WIPO Case No. D2000-0003). The objective of the Policy is to curb the abusive registration of domain names in circumstances where the registrant is seeking to profit from and exploit the trademark of another (see Match.com, LP v. Bill Zag and NWLAWS.ORG, WIPO Case No. D2004-0230).

The evidence supports the Complainant’s contention that the Respondent registered and has used the Disputed Domain Name in bad faith. The onus is on the Respondent to make the appropriate enquiries. Paragraph 2 of the Policy clearly states: “It is your [domain-name holder’s] responsibility to determine whether your domain name registration infringes or violates someone else’s rights”. The apparent lack of any good faith attempt to ascertain whether or not the Respondent was registering and using someone else’s trademarks, such as by conducting trademarks searches or search engine searches, supports a finding of bad faith (see Mobile Communication Service Inc. v. WebReg, RN, WIPO Case No. D2005-1304; L’Oréal v. Domain Park Limited, WIPO Case No. D2008-0072; BOUYGUES v. Chengzhang, Lu Ciagao, WIPO Case No. D2007-1325; Media General Communications, Inc. v. Rarenames, WebReg, WIPO Case No. D2006-0964; mVisible Technologies, Inc. v. Navigation Catalyst Systems, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2007-1141).

The trademark GUCCI is so well-known globally that it is inconceivable that the Respondent might have registered a domain name similar to or incorporating the mark without knowing of it.

Further, a gap of ten years between registration of the Complainant’s trademark and the Respondent’s registration of the Disputed Domain Names (containing the trademark) can in certain circumstances be an indicator of bad faith (see Asian World of Martial Arts Inc. v. Texas International Property Associates, WIPO Case No. D2007-1415). In this case, the Complainant held its Italian registration for the trademark GUCCI, Italian Registration No. 801958 from 1977 predating its rights from the Respondent’s registration by over 35 years.

Moreover, it appears that, in all instances, the Respondent provided false and inaccurate contact details, falsely nominating Guangzhou (which is located in China) as located in the State of Florida, in the USA and Peng Yang as located in the State of Iowa and so on. It is well established in numerous previous UDRP decisions that provision by the Respondent of incomplete or false contact information constitutes a further indication of bad faith (see Guccio Gucci S.p.A. v. Domain Administrato – Domain Administrator, WIPO Case No. D2010-1589 (“the initial failure of the Respondent to provide full and proper contact details amounts to further evidence of bad faith”); Ebay Inc. v. Wangming, WIPO Case No. D2006-1107 (“using false contact information in registering the domain name to conceal its identity may be an additional proof of the Respondent’s bad faith”); Steelcase Development Corporation v. Admin, Domain, WIPO Case No. D2005-1352 (“The Respondent’s bad faith is further demonstrated by the false contact information he provided to the registrar with which the domain names are registered”); Oxygen Media, LLC v. Primary Source, WIPO Case No. D2000-0362 (“My finding of bad faith use and registration is also supported by evidence that Respondent’s contact details are false”); Wachovia Corporation v. Peter Carrington, WIPO Case No. D20020775 (“The Respondent’s bad faith is further demonstrated by the false contact information he provided to the registrar”)).

Failure to respond to the cease and desist correspondence also supports a finding of bad faith (see News Group Newspapers Limited and News Network Limited v. Momm Amed Ia, WIPO Case No. D2000-1623 (“Respondent has registered and continues to use the domain name in bad faith for the reasons set out above and in particular […] Respondent’s failure to reply to the Complainant’s "cease and desist" letters”); Nike, Inc. v. Azumano Travel, WIPO Case No. D2000-1598 (“Failure to positively respond to a complainant’s efforts to make contact provides strong support for a determination of ‘bad faith’ registration and use”)).

A further conclusion can be drawn about the Respondent from its use of the Disputed Domain Names resolving to a web page containing links and advertisements that directly compete with the offerings to be found on the web site operated by the Complainant. In this Panel’s view, it is in breach of the “Domain.com, LLC Domain Registration Agreement” for breach of the required acknowledgment: “You further represent that, to the best of your knowledge and belief, neither the registration of the domain nor the manner in which it is directly or indirectly used infringes the legal rights of a third party. You further represent and warrant that all information provided by you in connection with your domain registration is accurate.”

The diversion of Internet users is a common example of use in bad faith as referred to in paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy and identified in many previous UDRP decisions (see L’Oréal, Biotherm, Lancôme Parfums et Beauté & Cie v. Unasi, Inc, WIPO Case No. D2005-0623; Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, Maison Fondée en 1772 v. The Polygenix Group Co., WIPO Case No. D2000-0163 and Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. v. Samuel Teodorek, WIPO Case No. D2007-1814).

The Respondent’s use of the Disputed Domain Names is apparently for domain monetization unconnected with any bona fide supply of genuine goods or services by the Respondent. The business model in 77 of these cases, is for the Respondent to exploit Internet users’ inaccurate guessing of the correct domain name associated with the Complainant’s GUCCI products to either sell goods that are, prima facie, counterfeit from its websites (see Nike, Inc. v. No Owner / Ashkan Mohammadi, WIPO Case No. D2013-1297; Guccio Gucci S.p.A. v. Domain Administrato - Domain Administrator, supra; Prada S.A. v. Domains for Life, WIPO Case No. D2004-1019). Alternatively, in 57 of the 134 cases, the Respondent’s aim was to passively collect click through revenue generated solely from the Complainant’s goodwill. Exploitation of the reputation of a trademark to obtain click through commissions from the diversion of Internet users is a common example of opportunistic bad faith use as referred to in paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy and identified in many previous UDRP decisions (see Veuve Cliquot Ponsardin, Maison Fondée en 1772 v. The Polygenix Group Co., WIPO Case No. D2000-0163; Expedia, Inc. v. European Travel Network, WIPO Case No.D2000-0137; Gateway, Inc. v. Lorna Kang, WIPO Case No. D2003-0257; Lilly ICOS LLC v. The Counsel Group LLC, WIPO Case No. D2005-0042; and L’Oréal, Biotherm, Lancôme Parfums et Beauté & Cie v. Unasi, Inc, WIPO Case No. D2005-0623).

The Panel finds that the Respondent has taken the Complainant’s trademark GUCCI and incorporated it in the Disputed Domain Names without the Complainant’s consent or authorization, for the very purpose of capitalizing on the reputation of the trademark by diverting Internet users to its web pages for commercial gain in 77 instances and in the other 57 of the 134 registrations, the Respondent has engaged in “passive holding” of the relevant Disputed Domain Names within the meaning agitated and found to comprise bad faith in Telstra Corporation Limited v. Nuclear Marshmallows, supra.

Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Complainant has overwhelmingly satisfied the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.

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 following Disputed Domain Names be transferred to the Complainant:

<besthotgucci.com>, <besthotguccijapan.com>, <bigguccijapan.net>, <bredhotguccijapan.com> <buygucciyh2japan.com>, <buy-japangucciyahoo.com>, <cheap-gucci-japan.com>, <coldguccifan.com>, <coldguccijapan.com>, <coldguccilacquer.com>, <coldgucciyen.com>, <easy-gucci-japan.com> <find-gucci-japan.com>, <freeguccijapan.org>, <freehotgucci.com>, <freehotguccijapan.com>, <fun-gucci-japan.com>, <global-gucci-japan.com>, <gucci-asiancountry.com>, <gucci-japan-blog.com>, <gucci-japan-center.com>, <gucci-japan-club.com>, <gucci-japanesearchipelago.com>, <gucci-japaneseislands.com>, <gucci-japan-homes.com>, <gucci-japan-media.com>, <gucci-japan-service.com>, <gucci-japan-site.com> <gucci-japan-usa.com>, <guccijapanvip2home.com>, <gucci-japan-work.com>, <gucci-japan-world.com>, <gucci-japn.com>, <gucci-lacquerware.com>, <gucci-nihon.com>, <guccisalehomes.com>, <guccisalejobs.com>, <guccisaleleads.com>, <guccisaletraining.com> <gucci-yen.com>, <gucci2yhsale-tojp.com>, <gucc1-jap4n.com>, <hi-guccijapanviphome.com>, <homegucci.com>, <home-gucci-japan.com>, <hotguccidesign.com>, <hotguccifan.com>, <hotguccigroup.com>, <hotguccihomes.com>, <hotgucciinc.com>, <hotguccijapanblog.com>, <hotguccijapancenter.com>, <hotguccijapanclub.com>, <hotguccijapangroup.com>, <hotguccijapanguide.com>, <hotguccijapanhome.com>, <hotguccijapanhomes.com>, <hotguccijapaninc.com>, <hotguccijapanmedia.com>, <hotguccijapanonline.com>, <hotguccijapansale.com>, <hotguccijapanservice.com>, <hotguccijapanshop.com>, <hotguccijapansite.com>, <hotguccijapanstore.com>, <hotguccijapantech.com>, <hotguccijapanwork.com>, <hotguccijapanworld.com>, <hotguccijapn.com>, <hotguccijap4n.com>, <hotguccijpn.com>, <hotguccijudo.com>, <hotguccij4pan.com>, <hotguccij4p4n.com>, <hotguccilacquer.com>, <hotguccinihon.com>, <hotguccinippon.com>, <hotgucciyen.com>, <hothotgucci.com>, <hothotguccijapan.com>, <hotrodguccijapan.com>, <hottiesguccijapan.com>, <ho7guccijapan.com>, <ho7guccijap4n.com>, <htguccijapan.com>, <htguccijapn.com>, <htguccijpn.com>, <h0tguccijapan.com>, <h0tguccijap4n.com>, <h0tguccij4pan.com>, <h07guccijapan.com>, <just-gucci-japan.com>, <live-gucci-japan.com>, <newguccijapn.com>, <newguccijap4n.com>, <newguccijpn.com>, <newguccij4pan.com>,, <newguccij4p4n.com>, <newoutletguccisale2jp.com>, <nwguccijapan.com>, <nwguccijapn.com>, <nwguccijpn.com>, <n3wguccijapan.com>, <n3wguccijap4n.com>, <one-gucci-japan.com>, <oneguccijapanyh2-sale.com>, <onehotguccijapan.com>, <online-gucci-japan.com>, <pipingguccijapan.com>, <pipingguccilacquer.com>, <realhotguccijapan.com>, <redhotgucci.com>, <red-hotguccijapan.com>, <redhotguccijapan.com>, <sexyhotgucci.com>, <sexyhotguccijapan.com>, <shop-gucci-japan.com>, <smokinghotguccijapan.com>, <solarhotguccijapan.com>, <super-gucci-japan.com>, <superhotgucci.com>, <superhotguccijapan.com>, <theguccitosaleyahoo.com>, <top-gucci-japan.com>, <topguccijapan.net>, <warmguccifan.com>, <warmguccijapan.com>, <warmguccilacquer.com>, <web-gucci-japan.com>, <webhotgucci.com>, <webhotguccijapan.com>, <world-gucci-japan.com>, <your-gucci-japan.com> and <6ucci-j4p4n.com>.

Nicholas Weston
Sole Panelist
Date: November 20, 2013


1 According to Business Week: http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-02-17/ppr-sees-growth-in-2012-after-gucci-slowed-in-fourth-quarter.html