WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Anheuser-Busch InBev S.A., Anheuser-Busch LLC v. chen liang jin

Case No. D2013-1882

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Anheuser-Busch InBev S.A. of Leuven, Belgium; Anheuser-Busch LLC of St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America, represented by CSC Digital Brand Services AB, Sweden.

The Respondent is chen liang jin of Guiyang, Guizhou Province, China.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <ab-inbev.mobi> is registered with HiChina Zhicheng Technology Ltd. (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on November 5, 2013. On November 5, 2013, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On November 6, 3024, 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 November 6, 2013, the Center sent an email communication to the parties in both Chinese and English regarding the language of the proceeding. On the same day, the Complainant confirmed its request that English be the language of the proceeding. The Respondent did not comment on the language of the proceeding by the specified due date.

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 in both Chinese and English, and the proceedings commenced on November 13, 2013. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was December 3, 2013. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on December 4, 2013.

The Center appointed Douglas Clark as the sole panelist in this matter on December 11, 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

Anheuser-Busch InBev S.A. is a publicly traded company (Euronext: ABI) based in Leuven, Belgium, with American Depositary Receipts on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: BUD). Anheuser-Busch InBev S.A. is a leading global brewer and one of the world’s top five consumer products companies. In 2012, the Complainant generated revenues of USD 39.8 billion.

The Complainant is the owner of ANHEUSER BUSCH INBEV, INBEV and A-B INBEV trademarks including, in China, three international registrations which have been extended to China.

The Complainant is also the owner of 285 domain names containing the terms “ab inbev”, “inbev” and “anheuser busch”. In particular, the Complainant is the owner of the domain name <ab-inbev.com>.

The disputed domain name was registered on December 13, 2010.

The disputed domain name has been offered for sale on “www.sedo.com”.

In an email (sent before this administrative proceeding was filed) to the Complainant in response to a cease and desist letter the Respondent wrote in Chinese that he did not understand the Complainant’s letter. A translation was then sent. Subsequently, an email in English was received by the Complainant’s representative from a Chinese law firm offering to act as an intermediary in the sale of the disputed domain name for a fee of USD 500.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant’s contentions are as follows:

Identical or confusingly similar

The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name <ab-inbev.mobi> is identical or confusingly similar to the Complainant’s registered trademarks A-B INBEV and INBEV. Further, the Complainant’s main website is “www.ab-inbev.com”. This strengthens the risk that consumers will mistake the disputed domain name for a domain name that belongs to the Complainant.

No rights or legitimate interests

The Respondent has no connection with the Complainant or any of its affiliates and has never sought or obtained any trademark registrations for “Ab”, “Inbev” or “Ab-Inbev”. It, therefore, has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

Registered and used in bad faith

Before registration of the disputed domain name it is highly likely, given the fame of the Complainant that the Respondent knew of the Complainant’s rights in A-B INBEV.

The website at the disputed domain name has sponsored links suggesting a desire to make commercial gain from the use of the disputed domain name.

The disputed domain name is available for sale on “www.sedo.com”. Once contacted, a Chinese law firm offered to assist in selling the disputed domain name for a fee of USD 500. This suggested the disputed domain name has been registered to be on sold.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

Language of the Proceeding

The language of the Registration Agreement is Chinese. The Complainant requested the language of the proceeding be English on the grounds that a Chinese law firm had responded to a cease and desist letter sent by the Complainant in English.

The Respondent did not respond to the language request.

The Respondent was informed of the request for the language of the proceeding to be in English by the Center in English and Chinese. He did not respond to the request and to the Complainant’s contentions. In this Panel’s opinion, the Respondent clearly understands the nature of this proceeding. Given that a Chinese law firm (apparently connected to the Respondent) did respond in English, the Panel does not consider it appropriate to require the Complainant to translate the Complaint.

In the circumstances of this case the Panel decides that the language of the proceeding shall be English pursuant to paragraph 11 of the Rules.

Substantive Decision

This is a very simple case of clear trademark cybersquatting for the purposes of commercial gain which the UDRP was designed to stop.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The disputed domain name <ab-inbev.mobi> is confusingly similar to the registered trademark A-B INBEV. Further, it is identical, other than the generic top level domain gTLD “.mobi”, to the Complainant’s main domain name <ab-inbev.com>.

The first part of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy is therefore satisfied.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Respondent has not responded to the Complaint to assert any rights or legitimate interests. None of the circumstances in paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, which sets out how a respondent can prove its rights or legitimate interests, are present in this case.

Since the Complainant has made out a prima facie case that the Respondent has not rebutted, the Panel finds the second part of the paragraph 4(a) of the Policy is therefore satisfied.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

For the same reasons as those above, the Panel has no hesitation in finding that the disputed domain name <ab-inbev.mobi> was registered in bad faith and is being used in bad faith as per paragraph 4(b)(iv).

The Complainant alleged the disputed domain name resolves to a parking page. The evidence is not entirely clear that this has been arranged by the Respondent. The page placed in evidence by the Complainant had written at the top in Chinese: “The page requested cannot be resolved to”. A number of sponsored links appear on the page below this.

The majority of panels have found that such automatic generation of sponsored links even if not done by the registrant of the domain name itself amount to use in bad faith. (See paragraph 3.8 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Second Edition, “WIPO Overview 2.0”.)

Even if the disputed domain name is been passively held and the Respondent has nothing to do with the sponsored links, the Panel has no hesitation in finding that no other use could be made of the disputed domain name other than bad faith use. The disputed domain name is almost identical to the Complainant’s registered trademark rights that have no other meaning. (See paragraph 3.2 of the WIPO Overview 2.0.)

Further, the offer to sell on “www.sedo.com”; the fact the disputed domain name resolves to a parking page (or is not used) and the Respondent’s lawyer’s request for a fee of USD 500 are further circumstances indicating the disputed domain name was registered for the purpose of selling the disputed domain name for valuable consideration in excess of out of pocket expenses. This is a breach of paragraph 4(b)(i) of the Policy.

The Panel finds that the third part of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy is satisfied.

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 disputed domain name, <ab-inbev.mobi>, be transferred to the Complainant.

Douglas Clark
Sole Panelist
Date: January 2, 2014