WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Opéra National de Paris v. Al Veiga

Case No. D2013-1895

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Opéra National de Paris of Paris, France, represented by Cabinet Santarelli, France.

The Respondent is Al Veiga of Drums, Pennsylvania, United States of America.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <paris-opera-garnier.com> is registered with Network Solutions, LLC (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on November 7, 2013. On November 8, 2013, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On November 12, 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 November 14, 2013. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was December 4, 2013. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on December 5, 2013.

The Center appointed Eva Fiammenghi as the sole panelist in this matter on December 10, 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 a French Public Utility Company (EPIC), managing two establishments in Paris, that is, Opéra Garnier and Opéra Bastille, creating and hosting shows in Paris, and touring in France and in the world through its ballet company.

The first establishment Opéra Garnier, is the thirteenth theater to house the Paris Opera since it was founded by Louis XIV in 1669. The project for an opera house was put out to competition and was won by Charles Garnier, an unknown 35-year-old architect. Building work, which lasted fifteen years, from 1860 to 1875, was interrupted by numerous incidents, including the 1870 war, the fall of the Empire and the Commune. The Palais Garnier was inaugurated on January 5, 1875.

Opéra Garnier, also known as “Palais Garnier”, is probably the most famous opera house in the world

and is considered as one of the must-see places of Paris.

The Complainant is the owner, among others, of following trademark registrations:

- French trademark PALAIS GARNIER filed under No. 003012061, on February 29, 2000, registered and duly renewed in classes 9, 15, 16, 28, 35, 41 and 42;

- French trademark OPERA DE PARIS filed under No. 043329411, on December 13, 2004, registered in classes 9, 15, 16, 35 and 41;

- Community trademark OPERA NATIONAL DE PARIS registration No. 003320041, filed on August 20, 2003, registered and duly renewed for goods and services of classes 3, 9, 12, 14, 15, 16, 18, 25, 28, 35, 38 and 41.

The Complainant is also the owner of several domain names, namely:

<operagarnier.com>, <opera-garnier.com>, <operagarnier.fr>, <opera-garnier.fr>, <operagarnier.info>, <opera-garnier.info>, <operagarnier.net>, <opera-garnier.net>, <operagarnier.org> and <opera-garnier.org>.

The disputed domain name was registered in 2010.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant argues that the disputed domain name <paris-opera-garnier.com> is a combination of its trademarks OPERA DE PARIS and PALAIS GARNIER with the addition of the gTLD extension “.com”.

The Complainant claims that the combination of the three words “paris”, “opera” and “garnier” in the disputed domain name, obviously refers to the Complainant’s trademarks, with specific reference to the Complainant’s Opéra Garnier, a well-known Parisian establishment, and this causes the likelihood of confusion.

The Respondent is not affiliated with the Complainant and there is no evidence to suggest that the Respondent has registered the disputed domain name to advance legitimate interests.

The Complainant has never licensed or otherwise permitted the Respondent to use its trademarks or to register any domain name including its trademarks.

The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name resolves to an empty website. The Complainant further contends that all of the circumstances in this case “confirm confirm that the disputed domain name was registered in bad faith, without a genuine intention to use the domain name in legitimate way”.

The Complainant requests that the disputed domain name be transferred to it.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

Under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, to succeed the Complainant must prove that:

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

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

(iii) the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.

These elements are discussed in turn below. In considering these elements, paragraph 15(a) of the Rules provides that the Panel shall decide the Complaint on the basis of statements and documents submitted and in accordance with the Policy, the Rules and any other rules or principles of law that the Panel deems applicable.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

In the present case, the disputed domain name incorporates the words “paris”, “opera” and “garnier”, which is a combination of the Complainant’s registered well-known trademarks PALAIS GARNIER and OPERA DE PARIS.

The disputed domain name <paris-opera-garnier.com> is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademarks and the sole addition of the hyphens (the symbol “-”) between the words not eliminate the confusing similarity.

In view of the above, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name registered by the Respondent is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademarks, in which the Complainant has demonstrated, to the satisfaction of the Panel, that it has rights and legitimate use of the same for several years.

The first element of the Policy has, therefore, been met.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

In order to determine whether the Respondent has any rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name (paragraph 4(c) of the Policy), the Complainant showed that the Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.

The Complainant also declares that the Respondent has not been authorized or licensed to use the disputed domain name <paris-opera-garnier.com>.

The Respondent did not come forward with any evidence that it has any rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.

The Panel finds that the Respondent has failed to produce any evidence to establish rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

The second element of the Policy has, therefore, been met.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The disputed domain name resolves to a website without any apparent content and even though it has been registered since October 9, 2010 it does not appear to have been used for any commercial or noncommercial purpose.

The Respondent had the opportunity to make submissions to the contrary but failed to do so. The Panel deduces from this failure to respond that the Respondent could not provide any evidence of good faith registration and use of the disputed domain name (eBay Inc. v. Sunho Hong, WIPO Case No. D2000-1633).

On the basis of the above, the Panel finds that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name without a genuine intention to use it in a legitimate way.

Accordingly, pursuant to paragraph 4(b) of the Policy, this Panel finds that disputed domain name was registered and has been used in bad faith by the Respondent.

On this basis the Panel finds that the Complainant has satisfied the third and last element of the Policy, paragraph 4(a)(iii).

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 <paris-opera-garnier.com > be transferred to the Complainant.

Eva Fiammenghi
Sole Panelist
Date: December 23, 2013