WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Zippo Manufacturing Company v. PrivacyProtect.org, Domain Admin/ jiangdaoqian
Case No. D2013-2240
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Zippo Manufacturing Company of Bradford, Pennsylvania, United States of America (the “USA”), represented by Squire Sanders (US) LLP, Germany.
The Respondent is PrivacyProtect.org, Domain Admin of Nobby Beach, Queensland, Australia/ jiangdaoqian of Dandong, Liaoning, China.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <zippo123.com> is registered with PDR Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on December 23, 2013. On December 24, 2013, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On December 25, 2013 and December 27, 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 January 9, 2014. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was January 29, 2014. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on January 30, 2014.
The Center appointed Flip Jan Claude Petillion as the sole panelist in this matter on February 4, 2014. 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 manufactures and sells pocket lighters, lighter accessories and other goods under its ZIPPO mark. The Complainant shows to be the holder of inter alia following registered trademarks:
- ZIPPO (word), registered as a trademark in Australia since August 7, 1947 under number 92309 in class 34, and duly renewed;
- ZIPPO, registered as a trademark in China under number 347274 in class 34, applied for in 1988 and duly renewed.
The disputed domain name <zippo123.com> was created on July 1, 2009 and is registered by Respondent. The disputed domain name is linked to a website on which lighters, presented as original ZIPPO products, and knives, carrying the Victorinox mark, are offered for sale.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant considers the disputed domain name to be confusingly similar to the trademarks and service marks in which it claims to have rights. The Complainant further claims that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name. According to the Complainant, the Respondent has not used the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of services or a legitimate noncommercial use, as the Respondent would be offering for sale counterfeit or unauthorized imitations of goods that bear the Complainant’s trademark. Also, the Respondent has not been commonly known by the disputed domain name, according to the Complainant.
Finally, the Complainant considers that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 15 of the Rules provides that the Panel is to decide the Complaint on the basis of the statements and documents submitted in accordance with the Policy, the Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable.
The onus is on the Complainant to make out its case and it is apparent, both from the terms of the Policy and the decisions of past UDRP panels, that the Complainant must show that all three elements set out in paragraph 4(a) of the Policy have been established before any order can be made to transfer a domain name. As the proceedings are administrative, the standard of proof is the balance of probabilities.
Thus for the Complainant to succeed, it must prove, within the meaning of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy and on the balance of probabilities, that:
1. The disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights;
2. The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and
3. The disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Panel will deal with each of these requirements in turn.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
To prove this element the Complainant must first establish that there is a trademark or service mark in which it has rights. The Complainant has clearly established that there is a trademark in which the Complainant has rights. The ZIPPO mark has been registered and used by the Complainant, including in China, where the Respondent is located.
The Panel considers the disputed domain name <zippo123.com> to be composed of a name identical to the Complainant’s ZIPPO trademark and the non-distinctive generic terms “123”. The Panel is of the opinion that the mere addition of non-distinctive text to a complainant’s trademark constitutes confusing similarity, as set out in paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy (See Belstaff S.R.L. v. Jason Lau, Sharing, WIPO Case No. D2012-0783, where the domain name <belstaffjackenoutlet.info> was held to be confusingly similar to the BELSTAFF trademark; Red Bull GmbH v. Credit du Léman SA, Jean-Denis Deletraz, WIPO Case No. D2011-2209, where the domain names <redbull-fx.com>, <redbullfx.com>, <redbull-fx.net> and <redbullfx.net> were considered confusingly similar to the RED BULL trademark; L'Oréal and Lancôme Parfums et Beauté et Compagnie v. Deco Trends & Art, K. Plooyer, WIPO Case No. D2011-0524, where the addition of the non-distinctive generic terms “online”, “shop” and/or “gifts” and the addition of the geographical term “paris” to a name that is confusingly similar to the complainant’s trademark, were considered insufficient to reduce the identity or confusing similarity, as set out in paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy; Nike, Inc. v. Farrukh Zia, WIPO Case No. D2000-0167, where the domain name <enike.com> was held to be confusingly similar to the NIKE trademark).
Accordingly, the Complainant has made out the first of the three elements that it must establish.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Under paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy, the Complainant has the burden of establishing that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.
It is established case law that it is sufficient for the Complainant to make a prima facie showing that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name in order to place the burden of production on the Respondent. (See Champion Innovations, Ltd. v. Udo Dussling (45FHH), WIPO Case No. D2005-1094; 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).
The Panel notes that the Respondent has not been commonly known by the disputed domain name and that the Respondent has not acquired any trademark or service mark rights. The Respondent’s use and registration of the disputed domain name was not authorized by the Complainant. There are no indications that a connection between the Complainant and the Respondent existed.
Moreover, the Panel is of the opinion that the Respondent is not making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name. In fact, the Respondent is using the disputed domain name to advertise and sell products which the Respondent indicates to be original ZIPPO products. As the Respondent has no authorization from the Complainant to sell ZIPPO products, there is a high likelihood that these goods are counterfeit goods. Furthermore, the Respondent creates an impression that the website is an official website of the Complainant or is authorized or licensed by it. According to the Panel, such use of the disputed domain name is detrimental to the Complainant and cannot be considered to constitute a bona fide commercial or fair use (See Belstaff S.R.L. v. Jason Lau, Sharing, WIPO Case No. D2012-0783).
Finally, the Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s arguments and decided not to take part in the administrative proceedings. This is a further indication of the absence of rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name (See INTS IT IS NOT THE SAME, GmbH dba DESIGUAL v. Two B Seller, Estelle Belouzard, WIPO Case No. D2011-1978).
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Complainant must prove on the balance of probabilities both that the disputed domain name was registered in bad faith and that it is being used in bad faith (See e.g. Telstra Corporation Limited v. Nuclear Marshmallows, WIPO Case No. D2000-0003; Control Techniques Limited v. Lektronix Ltd, WIPO Case No. D2006-1052).
Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy provides a non-exclusive list of factors, any one of which may demonstrate bad faith. Among these factors demonstrating bad faith registration and use is the use of a domain name to intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to a 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 the web site or location or of a product or service on the web site or location.
In the present case, it is unlikely that the Respondent was unaware of the Complainant and its trademark rights when it registered the disputed domain name. This is shown by the fact that the disputed domain name is composed of the Complainant’s distinctive ZIPPO trademark in its entirety together with non-distinctive elements. Furthermore, the website that is linked to the disputed domain name claims to offer original ZIPPO lighters for sale. Hence, in the Panel’s assessment, it is apparent that the Respondent had the Complainant in mind when registering the disputed domain name.
Furthermore, without authorization the Respondent is using the Complainant’s trademark for the sale of (presumably counterfeit) goods carrying the ZIPPO trademark as well as other unrelated goods. Hence, the Respondent tries to intentionally attract Internet users to visit its website for commercial gain, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant's mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the website or location and of the products offered for sale on the website (See Belstaff S.R.L. v. Jason Lau, Sharing, WIPO Case No. D2012-0783).
Therefore, the Panel finds that, on the balance of probabilities, it is sufficiently shown that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
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 <zippo123.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Flip Jan Claude Petillion
Date: February 17, 2014