WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Koninklijke Philips N.V. v. NadaHost
Case No. D2014-0454
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Koninklijke Philips N.V. of Eindhoven, Netherlands, represented by Theo-Willem van Leeuwen, Netherlands.
The Respondent is NadaHost of Fayoum, Egypt.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <philips-egypt.com> is registered with GoDaddy.com, LLC (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on March 24, 2014. On March 24, 2014, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name March 24, 2014. On March 24, 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. In response to a notification by the Center that the Complaint was administratively deficient, the Complainant cured the deficiency by email on April 4, 2014.
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 April 7, 2014. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was April 27, 2014. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on April 28, 2014.
The Center appointed Kaya Köklü as the sole panelist in this matter on May 13, 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.
In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 11(a), and since the parties have not agreed otherwise, the Panel finds that the language of the administrative proceedings is the language of the registration agreement for the disputed domain name <philips-egypt.com>, i.e. English.
4. Factual Background
The Complainant is a globally active and widely known manufacturer of a variety of goods, including consumer electronics, domestic appliances, security systems and semi-conductors. The Complainant has manufacturing sites in 28 countries, sales outlets in more than 150 countries and around 116,000 employees worldwide.
The Complainant is the owner of the trademark PHILIPS. The trademark is in use since 1891 and meanwhile registered globally in more than 245 countries, including Egypt and the Middle East. The PHILIPS trademark registrations cover a large variety of products and services. According to the provided documents in the case file, the first trademark registration in Egypt dates back to the year 1945.
Furthermore, the Complainant holds and operates various websites. Its primary website is linked to the domain name <philips.com>. Via its subsidiary, the Complainant further owns and operates a country specific website in Egypt under <philips.com.eg>.
The Respondent seems to be an individual or company located in Egypt.
The disputed domain name <philips-egypt.com> was registered on May 10, 2013.
According to the undisputed documents provided with the Complaint, the website linked to the disputed domain name includes the company logo and images of various products of the Complainant. Next to the company logo of the Complainant, there is a text in Arabic, which can be translated as follows:
[Excerpt:] “Maintenance Philips accredited” and “Center approved for maintenance […]”
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant requests the transfer of the disputed domain name.
The Complainant is of the opinion that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark PHILIPS.
Furthermore, the Complainant argues that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. It is convinced that the Respondent must have registered and used disputed domain name in bad faith.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
According to paragraphs 14(a) and 15(a) of the Rules, the Panel shall decide the Complaint in accordance with the Policy, the Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable and on the basis of the Complaint where no Response has been submitted.
In accordance with paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainant must prove that each of the three following elements is satisfied:
(i) the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark 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 has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy states that the Complainant bears the burden of proving that all these requirements are fulfilled, even if the Respondent has not replied to the Complaint. Stanworth Development Limited v. E Net Marketing Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2007-1228.
However, concerning the uncontested information provided by the Complainant, the Panel may, where relevant, accept the provided reasonable factual allegations in the Complaint as true. Belupo d.d. v. WACHEM d.o.o., WIPO Case No. D2004-0110.
It is further noted that the Panel has taken note of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Second Edition (“WIPO Overview 2.0”) and, where appropriate, will decide consistent with the WIPO Overview 2.0.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s PHILIPS trademark.
First, the Panel confirms that the Complainant has satisfied the threshold requirement of having trademark rights regarding PHILIPS. As evidenced in the Complaint, the Complainant has been the owner of a large number of word and figurative trademarks comprising the mark PHILIPS since many decades. In Egypt, where the Respondent is apparently located, the Complainant has longstanding trademark rights which date back to the 1940’s.
Although not identical, the disputed domain name fully incorporates the Complainant’s PHILIPS trademark.
The disputed domain name differs from the PHILIPS trademark only by the addition of the country name “Egypt”. In the Panel’s view, the addition of a country name does not negate the confusing similarity between the Complainant’s trademark and the disputed domain name. The Panel finds that this additional incorporation is purely descriptive and does not distinguish the disputed domain name from the Complainant’s PHILIPS trademark. On the contrary, the full inclusion of the Complainant’s trademark in combination with the term “Egypt” enhances the false impression that the disputed domain name is somehow officially related to the Complainant and its products and services offered in Eygpt.
The Panel concludes that the disputed domain name is likely to confuse Internet users into believing that the disputed domain name is affiliated or endorsed by the Complainant or that the use of the disputed domain name is at least authorized by the Complainant.
The Panel notes that the mere addition of the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.com” has no distinguishing effect and may as a general principle not to be considered when assessing identity or confusing similarity between a domain name and a trademark (in line with prior UDRP decisions concerning the use of a gTLD within domain names, cf. V&S Vin & Sprit AB v. Ooar Supplies, WIPO Case No. D2004-0962; Google Inc. v. Nijat Hassanov, WIPO Case No. D2011-1054).
In view of the above, the Panel is satisfied that the Complainant has met the requirements under paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Panel further finds that the Respondent has not demonstrated any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
While the burden of proof remains with the Complainant, the Panel recognizes that this would often result in the impossible task of proving a negative, in particular as the evidence needed to show the Respondent’s lack of rights or legitimate interests is primarily within the knowledge of the Respondent. Therefore, the Panel agrees with prior UDRP decisions that the Complainant is required to make out a prima facie case before the burden of production of evidence shifts to the Respondent to show that it has rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name in order to meet the requirements in paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy. Croatia Airlines d.d. v. Modern Empire Internet Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2003-0455.
The Panel finds that the Complainant has satisfied this requirement, while the Respondent has failed to file any evidence or convincing argument to demonstrate any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name in accordance with the Policy, paragraphs 4(a)(ii) and 4(c).
In its Complaint, the Complainant has provided uncontested prima facie evidence that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in using the Complainant’s PHILIPS trademark in the disputed domain name.
In the absence of a Response by the Respondent, there is no indication in the available record that the Respondent is commonly known by the disputed domain name. Furthermore, the Respondent has failed to demonstrate any of the other nonexclusive circumstances evidencing rights or legitimate interests under the Policy, paragraph 4(c) or any other evidence of a right or legitimate interest in the disputed domain name. By using the Complainant’s company logo and a confusingly similar design on the website linked to the disputed domain name, it is apparent that the disputed domain has never been or is not intended to be used in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services.
Due to the notoriety of the Complainant’s PHILIPS trademark and the concrete way of using this trademark by the Respondent on the website linked to the disputed domain name, the Panel cannot conceive of any use by the Respondent that would qualify as a legitimate and lawful use.
Consequently, the Panel finds that the Complainant has satisfied the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel is further convinced that the Respondent has registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith.
The Panel shares the Complainant’s view that the Respondent is deliberately attempting to create a likelihood of confusion among Internet users for commercial gain. The Panel believes that the available record provides sufficient evidence to justify an assessment of bad faith registration and use for the following reasons.
First, the Respondent used the Complainant’s trademark and company logo on its website, which shows that it was well aware of the PHILIPS trademark when it registered the disputed domain name in May 2013.
Second, the design of the website linked to the disputed domain name causes the false impression that the Respondent is somehow officially affiliated with the Complainant or its subsidiaries. The overall impression of the website linked to the disputed domain name consequently leads to the conclusion that the Respondent intentionally tried to cause confusion among Internet users.
Third, the Respondent preferred not to respond to the Complainant’s contentious, which the Panel assesses as another indication of bad faith.
In light of the above, the Panel cannot conceive of any good faith use of the disputed domain name by the Respondent. The Panel rather believes that the above demonstrates a typical cybersquatting case, which the UDRP was designed to stop.
The Panel therefore concludes that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith and that the Complainant consequently has satisfied the third element of the Policy, namely, paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.
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 <philips-egypt.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: May 19, 2014