WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Compagnie Générale des Etablissements Michelin v. Privacy Protection Service INC d/b/a PrivacyProtect.org / Frank Park

Case No. D2014-1771

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Compagnie Générale des Etablissements Michelin of Clermont-Ferrand, France, represented by Dreyfus & associés, France.

The Respondent is Privacy Protection Service INC d/b/a PrivacyProtect.org of Queensland, Nobby Beach, Australia / Frank Park of Seoul, Republic of Korea.

2. The Domain Name And Registrar

The disputed domain name <treinamentosmichelin.com> is registered with Media Elite Holdings Limited dba Register Matrix (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on October 9, 2014. On October 10, 2014, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On October 15, 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 the same date 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 October 20, 2014.

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, and the proceedings commenced on October 21, 2014. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was November 10, 2014. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on November 12, 2014.

The Center appointed Nicolas Ulmer as the sole panelist in this matter on November 24, 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 part of a large and well-established multinational enterprise which manufactures and markets tires worldwide, has operations and plants in more than a dozen countries, and is also known for its restaurant and travel guides. The complainant owns many michelin trademark registrations for numerous classes of goods and services, including international trademarks, a community trademark, Australian trademarks and a korean trademark. The trademarks listed in the complaint are:

- International Trademark No. 348615 MICHELIN, registered on July 24, 1968, duly renewed and covering goods in classes 1, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, 16, 17 and 20;

- International Trademark No. 816915 MICHELIN, registered on August 27, 2003 and covering services in classes 35, 37, 39 and 42;

- Community Trademark No. 004836359 MICHELIN, registered on January 4, 2006 and covering goods and services in classes 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11,12, 14, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 24, 25, 26, 28, 34 and 39;

- Australian trademark No. 879562 MICHELIN, registered on June 18, 2001 duly renewed and covering goods and services in classes 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 24, 25, 39 and 42;

- Australian Trademark No.258104 MICHELIN, registered on May 1, 1972, duly renewed and covering goods in class 12.

The complainant has for many years operated a web site at “www.michelin.com” as well as other web sites making use of the michelin name and trademark.

The respondent’s address is a privacy protection service in queensland, australia; but after the registrar’s confirmation, the registrant of the disputed domain name would appear to be frank park of seoul, republic of korea, and he is named in the amended complaint. The disputed domain name appears to have been created in march 2014.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant submits a long and well documented description of the MICHELIN enterprise and brand, demonstrating its notoriety, and cites a number of previous UDRP decisions which have considered the MICHELIN trademark to be “famous” or “well known”. Accordingly, the Complainant asserts, it is evident that the Respondent can only have registered the disputed domain name with knowledge of the Complainant’s rights or with willful disregard for them. The Complainant points out that the word “treinamentos” means training in Portuguese, and asserts that the addition of this generic term to the Complainant’s trademark does not remove the evident confusing similarity between the disputed domain name and that trademark, and that such confusion will be exacerbated as concerns the Complainant’s training programmes. The Complainant further alleges that the Respondent has never been authorized to use the Complainant’s trademarks and can have no legitimate right or interest in those marks. The Complainant asserts that it is here evident that the Respondent can only have registered the disputed domain name in bad faith and with knowledge of the Complainant’s rights, and that the subsequent use of the domain name to resolve to a “pay per click” site was an illegitimate means of trading on the Complainant’s name and reputation and a bad faith use of the disputed domain name.

In its Amended Complaint, the Complainant added Respondent Frank Park indicating that it had only learned of his identity after filing the Complaint. The Complainant asserted that Frank Park had already used the other Respondent as a privacy shield, and that Respondent Frank Park “is engaged in a cyber squatting pattern of conduct”, as revealed, inter alia, by cases Lego Juris A/S v. Frank Park / Privacy Protection Service Inc. d/b/a PrivacyProtect.org, WIPO Case No. D2014-0725; Banco Brandeso S/A v. Domain admin, Privacy Protection Service Inc D/B/A PrivacyProtect.org /Frank Park, WIPO Case No. D2014-0833.

Thereupon, the Complainant asks that the disputed domain name be cancelled.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion And Findings

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Complainant has amply demonstrated the distinctiveness and notoriety of its MICHELIN trademark. The disputed domain name reproduces the entirety of that trademark, preceded by the Portuguese language word “treinamentos”, which means training in English and can therefore be considered to be generic. The addition of that generic word as a prefix may render the disputed domain name somewhat confusing to a non-Portuguese speaking reader, but it does not eliminate confusing similarity with the Complainant’s fully reproduced trademark. See, e.g., RapidShare AG, Christian Schmid v. InvisibleRegistration.com, Domain Admin, WIPO Case No. D2010-1059. The Complainant has accordingly met its burden of demonstrating the confusing similarity between the disputed domain name and its trademarks.

The Panel therefore finds that the Complainant has satisfied paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Complainant needs to establish at least a prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name. See Croatia Airlines d.d. v. Modern Empire Internet Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2003-0455. Once such a prima facie case is made, the burden shifts to the Respondent to demonstrate that it has such rights or legitimate interests. See also, Meizu Technology Co., Ltd v. “osama bin laden”, WIPO Case No. DCO2014-0002; H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB v. Simon Maufe, Akinsaya Odunayo Emmanuel and Nelson Rivaldo, WIPO Case No. D2014-0225.

In the instant case, the Complainant has clearly and convincingly asserted that neither it, nor any of its affiliates, nor any of their products have any connection with the Respondent, and that the Complainant has at no time given the Respondent any authorization of any kind to use the trademark MCHELIN in the disputed domain name or in any other manner.

There is also no evidence before the Panel to suggest that the Respondent is commonly known as “treinamentosmichelin”, or any other evidence or indicia suggesting that the Respondent has any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

The Respondent having failed to answer the Complaint, the Complainant has accordingly met its burden under paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

Given the long-established international notoriety of the Complainant’s corporate name and its trademarks incorporating that name, it is not plausible to consider that the Respondent’s March 2014 registration of a domain name including the entirety of that trademark was serendipitous, or otherwise in good faith. The fact that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name through a privacy shield service in order to conceal its identity may also be indicia of bad faith. See, e.g. Schering Corporation v. Name Redacted, WIPO Case No. D2012-0729.

The disputed domain name devolves to a site with numerous items on sale and other apparently for profit links to further products, which the Complainant describes as a “pay per click” site. When the Panel visited the site among the many products offered were tires, this is, both of the Complainant’s brand and of other presumably competing brands. There appears no good faith explanation for this conduct, and the evidence demonstrates that the Respondent is making use of the Complainant’s trademarks to attract Internet users for improper commercial gain. Respondent Frank Park’s registration of other infringing domain names is further evidence that he is likely engaged in bad faith registration and use.

The Panel therefore finds that the disputed domain name has been registered and used in bad faith and the burden of paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy is met by the Complainant.

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 <treinamentosmichelin.com> be cancelled.

Nicolas Ulmer
Sole Panelist
Date: November 27, 2014