WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Société Air France and Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij v. Registration Private, Domains By Proxy, LLC / Lease Domains, Inc., LeaseDomains.com / Elite Domains

Case No. D2013-1801

1. The Parties

The Complainants are Société Air France of Roissy CDG Cedex, France (“Air France”) and Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij of Amstelveen, the Netherlands (“KLM”), represented by Meyer & Partenaires, France.

The Respondent is Registration Private, Domains By Proxy, LLC of Scottsdale, Arizona, United States of America / Lease Domains, Inc., LeaseDomains.com / Elite Domains of Palos Park, Illinois, United States of America.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <flyingblue-email.com> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with Go Australia Domains, Inc. (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on October 21, 2013. On October 22, 2013, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On October 23, 2013, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the Domain Name, which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainants on October 29, 2013 providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting the Complainants to submit an amendment to the Complaint. The Complainants filed an amended Complaint on October 31, 2013.

The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amended 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 amended Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on November 1, 2013. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was November 21, 2013.

On November 8, 2013, the Respondent sent an email communication to the Center requesting that the Domain Name “somehow please be IMMEDIATELY transferred to the complainant”. On November 11, 2013, the Center sent an email communication to the Parties, inviting the Complainants to submit a suspension request of the proceedings within the following three (3) calendar days to explore a possible settlement between the Parties. The Complainants did not reply, therefore the Center informed the Parties of the continuation of the proceedings on November 15, 2013. On November 22, 2013 the Center noted that no formal Response was submitted and notified the Parties of the Commencement of the Panel Appointment Process.

The Center appointed Ian Lowe as the sole panelist in this matter on December 2, 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

Air France is a French airline, founded in 1933, and one of the largest airlines in the world. KLM is a Dutch airline founded in 1919. Air France and KLM merged in 2004. Together with other airlines, including Delta and Korean, they form the Skyteam Alliance that is currently ranked the second airline alliance in the world, serving 1,000 destinations in 187 countries. In 2012, Air France-KLM carried 77.4 million passengers in 573 aircraft and had a revenue of EUR 25.63 billion.

“Flying Blue” is the Complainants’ frequent flyer program and was created in 2005. It is also the frequent flyer program of a number of the other Skyteam Alliance members. Flying Blue has more than 21 million members and 131 airline and non-airline partners.

The Complainants are the joint owners of a number of French, Community and International trademarks comprising the words “flying blue”, including International trademark no. 863317 FLYING BLUE registered on February 23, 2005 designating the United States of America, Community trademark no. 4003489 FLYING BLUE registered on January 20, 2009 and French trademark no. 3310331 FLYING BLUE registered on August 30, 2004.

The Complainants operate a website at “www.flyingblue.com” and have registered a number of other generic and country code top-level domain names consisting of or incorporating the trademark FLYING BLUE.

The Domain Name was registered on March 2, 2011. The Domain Name resolves to a parking page presenting a number of commercial links to other websites including both the websites of competitors of the Complainants and websites offering airline services such as booking flights or flight comparisons.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainants contend that the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to their FLYING BLUE trademark; that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name; and that the Respondent registered and is using the Domain Name in bad faith within the meaning of paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.

B. Respondent

The Respondent did not formally reply to the Complainants’ contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

According to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, for this Complaint to succeed in relation to the Domain Name the Complainants must prove that:

(i) the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainants have rights; and

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

(iii) the Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Complainants have undoubted, uncontested rights in the FLYING BLUE mark both by virtue of their International, French and Community trademark registrations and as acquired through longstanding widespread use. The Domain Name differs from the Complainant’s trademark only by the addition of the word “email”, ignoring the “.com” suffix for this purpose. The generic term “email” does not detract from the distinctiveness of the FLYING BLUE mark. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to a mark in which the Complainant has rights.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Complainants have made out a strong prima facie case that the Respondent can have no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name. There is no question of the Respondent having been given permission to use the FLYING BLUE trademark. The Respondent has used the Domain Name for a website comprising click-through links to other commercial websites, including competitors of the Complainants. The Respondent has chosen not to respond to the Complaint to put forward any case as to how it might have such rights or legitimate interests. On the contrary, in its email to the Center dated November 8, 2013, the Respondent requested that the Domain Name be immediately transferred to the Complainants.

In the circumstances, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

In light of the distinctive nature of the FLYING BLUE mark and its very widespread use, and the nature of the website to which the Domain Name resolves, the Panel does not consider that there can be any doubt that the Respondent had the Complainants’ frequent flyer programme in mind when it registered the Domain Name. In the view of the Panel, the registration, and subsequent use of the Domain Name to attract Internet users to the Respondent’s website for commercial gain through click-through advertising, is paradigm bad faith registration and use according to paragraph 4(b)(iv) 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 Domain Name <flyingblue-email.com> be transferred to the Complainant Air France.

Ian Lowe
Sole Panelist
Date: December 14, 2013