WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
ROFIN-SINAR Laser GmbH v. Jinan Lifan Machinery Co, Ltd
Case No. D2014-0265
1. The Parties
The Complainant is ROFIN-SINAR Laser GmbH of Hamburg, Germany, represented by Meissner, Bolte & Partner, Germany.
The Respondent is Jinan Lifan Machinery Co, Ltd. of Jinan, Shandong, China.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <rofinlaser.net> is registered with Hangzhou AiMing Network Co., LTD (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on February 20, 2014. On February 20, 2014, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On February 21, 2014, 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 February 24, 2014, the Center transmitted an email to the parties in both English and Chinese regarding the language of the proceeding. On February 27, 2014, the Complainant confirmed its request that English be the language of the proceeding by email to the Center. The Respondent did not make any submissions regarding the language of the proceeding.
On March 3, 2014, the Complainant filed an amendment to the Complaint by email to the Center.
The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amendment to 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 English and Chinese, and the proceedings commenced on March 4, 2014. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was March 24, 2014. The Respondent did not submit any Response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on March 25, 2014.
The Center appointed Sebastian M.W. Hughes as the sole panelist in this matter on April 2, 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 is a company incorporated in Germany and the owner of several national and international registrations for the trade mark ROFIN (the “Trade Mark”), the earliest dating from 1987.
The Respondent is a company apparently incorporated in China.
C. The Disputed Domain Name
The disputed domain name was registered on October 31, 2012.
D. The Website at the Disputed Domain Name
The website at the disputed domain name (the “Website”) promotes the laser manufacturing business of Jinan Ruofen Laser machinery Co., Ltd, a company apparently based in Shandong, China.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant made the following submissions in the Complaint.
The Complainant is a major and globally renowned laser manufacturer, founded in 1975. The Complainant has been using the Trade Mark continuously since 1981. Its total net sales for the most recent fiscal year amounted to almost USD 600 million.
The disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Trade Mark. It comprises the Trade Mark in its entirety, together with the non-distinctive and descriptive word “laser”.
The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name. The Respondent is not affiliated with or authorised by the Complainant in any way and is not commonly known by the disputed domain name.
The disputed domain name has been registered and used in bad faith. It has been used in order to intentionally attract Internet users for commercial gain to the Website, by creating a likelihood of confusion as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the Website or of the products or services on the Website. In addition to using the Trade Mark in the disputed domain name, the Respondent has both in the company name used on the Website, and otherwise in the Chinese language version of the Website, adopted and used the identical Chinese language transliteration of the Trade Mark used by the Complainant in China, “罗芬”.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
6.1 Language of the Proceeding
The language of the registration agreement for the disputed domain name is Chinese.
Pursuant to the Rules, paragraph 11, in the absence of an agreement between the parties, or unless specified otherwise in the registration agreement, the language of the administrative proceeding shall be the language of the registration agreement.
Paragraph 11(a) allows the Panel to determine the language of the proceeding having regard to all the circumstances of the administrative proceeding. In particular, it is established practice to take paragraphs 10(b) and (c) of the Rules into consideration for the purpose of determining the language of the proceeding. In other words, it is important to ensure fairness to the parties and the maintenance of an inexpensive and expeditious avenue for resolving domain name disputes. Language requirements should not lead to undue burdens being placed on the parties and undue delay to the proceeding (Whirlpool Corporation, Whirlpool Properties, Inc. v. Hui’erpu (HK) electrical appliance co. ltd., WIPO Case No. D2008-0293; Solvay S.A. v. Hyun-Jun Shin, WIPO Case No. D2006-0593).
The Complainant has requested that English be the language of the proceeding, for the following reasons:
1. The content of the Website is in English, Chinese and Russian;
2. In the Chinese and Russian versions of the Website, the main content of the Website is still English;
3. The “contact-us” menu on the Website provides contact information in English;
4. All of this demonstrates the Respondent is familiar with English.
The Respondent did not file a Response and did not file any submissions with respect to the language of the proceeding.
In exercising its discretion to use a language other than that of the registration agreement, the Panel has to exercise such discretion judicially in the spirit of fairness and justice to both parties, taking into account all relevant circumstances of the case, including matters such as the parties’ ability to understand and use the proposed language, time and costs (Groupe Auchan v. xmxzl, WIPO Case No. DCC2006-0004; Finter Bank Zurich v. Shumin Peng, WIPO Case No. D2006-0432).
On the evidence filed by the Complainant, the Panel finds that sufficient evidence has been adduced by the Complainant to suggest the likely possibility that the Respondent is sufficiently proficient in the English language (Finter Bank Zurich v. Shumin Peng, WIPO Case No. D2006-0432). The Panel is also mindful of the need to ensure the proceeding is conducted in a timely and cost effective manner.
In all the circumstances, the Panel therefore finds it is not foreseeable that the Respondent would be unduly prejudiced, should English be adopted as the language of the proceeding.
Having considered all the matters above, the Panel determines under paragraph 11(a) of the Rules that the language of the proceeding shall be English.
6.2 Substantive Elements of the Policy
The Complainant must prove each of the three elements in paragraph 4(a) of the Policy in order to prevail.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel finds that the Complainant has rights in the Trade Mark acquired through use and registration which predates the date of registration of the disputed domain name by decades.
UDRP panels have consistently held that domain names are identical or confusingly similar to a trade mark for purposes of the Policy “when the domain name includes the trade mark, or a confusingly similar approximation, regardless of the other terms in the domain name” (see Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Richard MacLeod d/b/a For Sale, WIPO Case No. D2000-0662).
It is also established that the addition of generic terms to a domain name has little, if any, effect on a determination of confusing similarity between the domain name and the mark (Quixtar Investments, Inc. v. Dennis Hoffman, WIPO Case No. D2000-0253). The mere addition of a generic or descriptive term does generally not exclude the likelihood of confusion (PRL USA Holdings, Inc. v. Spiral Matrix, WIPO Case No. D2006-0189).
The disputed domain name contains the Trade Mark in its entirety. The Panel concludes that the use of the generic word “laser”, a word directly descriptive of the products manufactured by both parties, does not serve to distinguish the disputed domain name from the Trade Mark in any significant way.
The Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Trade Mark.
The Panel therefore holds that the Complaint fulfils the first condition of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy provides a list of non-exhaustive circumstances any of which is sufficient to demonstrate that a respondent has rights or legitimate interests in a domain name:
(i) before any notice to the respondent of the dispute, the respondent’s use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the domain name or a name corresponding to the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; or
(ii) the respondent (as an individual, business, or other organisation) has been commonly known by the domain name even if the respondent has acquired no trade mark or service mark rights; or
(iii) the respondent is making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trade mark or service mark at issue.
There is no evidence that the Complainant has authorised, licensed, or permitted the Respondent to register or use the disputed domain name or to use the Trade Mark. The Complainant has prior rights in the Trade Mark which precede the Respondent’s registration of the disputed domain name by decades. The Panel finds on the record that there is therefore a prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, and the burden is thus on the Respondent to produce evidence to rebut this presumption (see Do The Hustle, LLC v. Tropic Web, WIPO Case No. D2000-0624; Croatia Airlines d.d. v. Modern Empire Internet Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2003-0455).
The Respondent has failed to show that it has acquired any trade mark rights in respect of the disputed domain name or that the disputed domain name is used in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. To the contrary, the disputed domain name has been used in respect of the Website, which has not been authorised by the Complainant, and which promotes and offers for sale laser products in competition with those manufactured by the Complainant. Furthermore, the Respondent has adopted and used, in the name of the company featured on the Website, and otherwise in the Chinese language version of the Website, the exact same Chinese transliteration of the Trade Mark used by the Complainant in the Chinese market. In all the circumstances, the Panel concludes such use does not amount to a bona fide offering of goods or services under the Policy.
There has been no evidence adduced to show that the Respondent has been commonly known by the disputed domain name.
There has been no evidence adduced to show that the Respondent is making any legitimate noncommercial or fair use 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 Panel therefore finds that the Complaint fulfils the second condition of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Pursuant to paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy, the following conduct amounts to registration and use of a domain name in bad faith on the part of a respondent:
By using the domain name, the Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to the respondent’s website or other online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the respondent’s website or location or of a product or service on the Respondent’s website or location.
The Panel refers to and repeats the findings under the second limb of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy above. This is a clear case of bad faith registration and use under paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.
For the foregoing reasons, the Panel concludes that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith. Accordingly, the third condition of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy has been fulfilled.
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 <rofinlaser.net> be transferred to the Complainant.
Sebastian M.W. Hughes
Dated: April 16, 2014