WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Naver Corporation v. Daichi Tomiyama/Whois Privacy Protection Service by onamae.com

Case No. D2014-1062

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Naver Corporation of Seongnam-si, Republic of Korea, represented by Sanderson & Co., United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The Respondent is Daichi Tomiyama of Tokyo, Japan; Whois Privacy Protection Service by onamae.com of Tokyo, Japan.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <naver-line.com> is registered with GMO Internet, Inc. d/b/a Discount-Domain.com and Onamae.com (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on June 20, 2014. On June 20, 2014, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On June 23, 2014, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the disputed domain name which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on June 25, 2014 providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting the Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. The Complainant filed an amended Complaint on June 27, 2014.

On June 25, 2014, the Center sent an email communication in both English and Japanese to the parties regarding the language of the proceeding. On June 27, 2014, 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 together with the amended 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 Japanese, and the proceeding commenced on July 1, 2014. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was July 21, 2014. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on July 22, 2014.

The Center appointed Douglas Clark as the sole panelist in this matter on August 5, 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 Korean Internet company. Line Corporation is a Japanese subsidiary of the Complainant. Line corporation develops and maintains the Line application which provides a number of services for Internet users. “Line” is a smartphone application which allows users to enjoy free calls and messaging with other Line users, regardless of where they are in the world and which mobile network provider they are using. Launched in June 2011, the Line application is now used in more than 230 countries, by 400 million users, becoming a worldwide global service. The Line application is particularly popular in Japan.

The Complainant is the registered proprietor of the trademark NAVER and NAVER LINE in the Republic of Korea, the trademark NAVER LINE in Japan and the trademark LINE in European Union for various goods and services related to computers and the Internet. The earliest application date for NAVER was in 2002. The earliest application date for NAVER LINE was in 2011.

The disputed domain name was registered on June 30, 2011.

The website under the disputed domain name is being used to provide a platform to allow users of Line to find “social friends”. All the postings on the website are in Japanese. The majority (but not all) of the postings are suggesting meeting for liaisons of a sexual nature. Internet Users include their Line IDs in the posting so they may be contacted through Line.

At the date of drafting this decision the disputed domain name re-directs to a website “line-提示版.com” (or “line-noticeboard.com”) in English.

The website under the disputed domain name is not operated or authorized by the Complainant or Line Corporation.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant’s contentions are set out below.

The Complainant submits that the disputed domain name <naver-line.com> consists of the trademark NAVER and LINE and NAVER LINE and is therefore the same or confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark.

The Complainant further submits that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. It is not commonly known by the name “Naver Line”. It has received no consent or license from the Complainant to use the Complainant’s trademark in the disputed domain name.

The Complainant submits that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith with the intention of attracting Internet users to the website. The Complainant also submits based on forensic analysis that the Respondent has engaged in a pattern of registration of various domain names with famous names or trademarks in them, such as <skype-id.com>, <kakao-ch.com>, <2hm.com> and <iphonecase-store.com>.

B. Respondent

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 Japanese. Paragraph 11(a) of the Rules provides that:

“Unless otherwise agreed by the Parties, or specified otherwise in the Registration Agreement, the language of the administrative proceeding shall be the language of the Registration Agreement, subject to the authority of the Panel to determine otherwise, having regard to the circumstances of the administrative proceeding.”

The Complainant requested the language of the proceeding to be English on the grounds that some English words were used on the website and that the Complainant and the Complainant’s representative are familiar in English. It is submitted that to change the language of the proceeding to Japanese will lead to delay and higher burden on the Complainant with no benefit.

The Respondent did not respond to this request.

The Center made a preliminary determination to:

1) accept the Complaint as filed in English;

2) accept a Response in either English or Japanese;

3) appoint a Panel familiar with both languages mentioned above, if available.

The final determination of the language of the proceeding lies with this Panel. As a first point, this Panel does not consider the Complainant’s submission that it would be unduly burdensome for the proceeding to proceed in Japanese. The Complainant’s subsidiary Line Corporation is a Japanese company and operates in Japan. In the Panel’s view, it must have numerous management staff conversant in Japanese. The use of English on the website under the disputed domain name is minimal and is mainly in postings by users.

Nevertheless, this Panel decided in Zappos.com, Inc. v. Zufu aka Huahaotrade, WIPO Case No. D2008-1191, that a respondent’s failure to respond to a preliminary determination by the Center as to the language of the proceeding “should, in general, be a strong factor to allow the Panel to decide to proceed in favour of the language of the Complaint.”

Further, as set out below, the Panel considers the merits of the case to be strongly in favour of the Complainant. Translating the Complaint would cause unnecessary delay in this matter.

These factors (and the fact the Respondent did not submit any Response) lead the Panel to determine to follow the Center’s preliminary determination. As the only pleading before the Panel is in English, the Panel will render its decision in English.

6.2. Substantive Decision

The Panel finds that this is a clear case of cybersquatting that the UDRP was designed to stop. The Panel agrees fully with the Complainant’s arguments and accordingly does not consider it necessary to write a long decision.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The disputed domain name <naver-line.com> is made up of the Complainant’s registered trademark NAVER LINE and the generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) “.com”. Other than the hyphen, it is identical to the Complainant’s registered trademark. In any event, it is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s registered trademark.

The first element of the Policy is made out.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Complainant has made a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Respondent has not responded to the Complaint to assert any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

The Panel finds that the second element of the Policy is made out.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The Panel has no hesitation in finding that the disputed domain name was registered in bad faith and is being used in bad faith.

This case falls within paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy which provides that a registrant has registered and is using a domain name in bad faith where:

“by using the domain name, you have intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to your 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 your web site or location or of a product or service on your web site or location.”

The use of the trademark NAVER LINE in the disputed domain name for a website designed to attract and allow Internet users of Line to meet is clearly designed to attract traffic to the website. In addition, the Panel notes that the majority of the postings are suggesting meeting for liaisons of a sexual nature and therefore the use of the disputed domain name has potential to tarnish the Complainant’s trademark (see WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Second Edition ("WIPO Overview 2.0"), paragraph 3.11).

The Panel finds that the third element of the Policy is made out.

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 <naver-line.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Douglas Clark
Sole Panelist
Date: August 18, 2014