WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
S.L.E. Services aux Loteries en Europe v. Juergen Strenger
Case No. D2014-1850
1. The Parties
Complainant is S.L.E. Services aux Loteries en Europe of Brussels, Belgium, represented by Inlex IP Expertise, France.
Respondent is Juergen Strenger of Köln, Germany.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <euromillionsticketsonline.com> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with 1&1 Internet AG (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed at the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on October 22, 2014. On the same day, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On October 27, 2014, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response, confirming Respondents listing as registrant and providing the contact details.
On October 29, 2014, the Center asked Complainant via e-mail whether it had submitted a copy of the Complaint, including any annexes, together with the cover sheet, to Respondent. Complainant confirmed that such email transmission had in fact occurred on the following day.
Thereafter, 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on October 31, 2014. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was November 20, 2014. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on November 24, 2014.
On November 26, the Center appointed Bernhard F. Meyer as Sole Panelist in this matter. The Panel submitted the Statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality and Independence, as required by the Center to ensure compliance with the Rules, paragraph 7 and confirms its proper constitution.
4. Factual Background
Complainant is a Belgian entity, incorporated for coordinating, managing and operating a lottery game named “Euro Millions”. Nowadays, “Euro Millions” has become very popular.
Pursuant to evidence attached to the Complaint, Complainant is the registered holder of the following trademarks reflecting the name “Euro Millions”:
- Community trademark filed under no. 002987568 on December 23, 2002, registered on September 28, 2004 in classes 9, 16, 28, 35, 36, 38 and 41;
- Community trademark filed under no. 003644564 on January 27, 2004, registered on September 26, 2005 in classes 9, 16, 28, 35, 38 and 41;
- Community trademark filed under no. 009656638 on January 13, 2011 registered on June 21, 2011 in classes 9, 16, 28, 35, 36, 38 and 41.
Complainant also holds numerous national trademark registrations, totally or partially using the name “Euro Millions”. Such registrations exist in countries like Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, Turkey, Spain, Switzerland and Norway.
Furthermore, Complainant registered numerous domain names containing the name “Euro Millions”, such as <euro-millions.bg>, <euromillion.com>, <euromillion.eu> and most notably <euromillionsonline.org>.
The Domain Name was created on August 20, 2012.
5. Parties’ Contentions
First, Complainant alleges that the Domain Name <euromillionsticketsonline.com>, registered by Respondent, contains Complainant’s trademark EUROMILLIONS in combination with the English terms “tickets” and “online”. In Complainant’s view, it is identical or confusingly similar, visually, phonetically and conceptually. Indeed, taking into account that the Domain Name combines the well-known trademark “Euro Millions” with two generic terms, “tickets” and “online”, the attention of the consumer will be focused on the dominant element, which is “Euro Millions”. The addition of certain generic terms does not change this overall impression. Thus, it is established that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s trademarks and domain names.
Secondly, Respondent has no legitimate interest in the Domain Name and does not transact any legitimate business under “Euro Millions”. Respondent has not been authorized to use the name “Euro Millions” and there is no business relationship between Complainant and Respondent. Also, Complainant alleges the web page under the Domain Name contains several links to an active website “www.fr.trillonario.com” which allows to play a lottery game named “Euro Millions” that is not the official game of Complainant and which is directly in competition with it. Therefore, it is obvious that Respondent does not hold a right or legitimate interest in the Domain Name and is using it to deliberately create confusion between Complainant’s game and Respondent’s business in the minds of Internet users.
Thirdly, the Domain Name was registered and is used in bad faith. Complainant submits that the “Euro Millions” game has been very famous in European countries since 2004. In light of this, Respondent could not have ignored Complainant’s trademarks when registering the Domain Name. Respondent’s goal is to attract Internet users to its website and to benefit from the wide reputation of the European game of Complainant.
Lastly, Complainant sent a cease and desist letter to Respondent, which was not answered. The failure to respond is further evidence of bad faith.
Consequently, Complainant requests the transfer of the Domain Name to Complainant.
As mentioned above, Respondent was notified in accordance with paragraph 2(a) and 4(a) of the Rules, but failed to submit a Response in accordance with the requirements of the Policy.
6. Discussion and Findings
According to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, Complainant shall prove that all of the three following elements are present:
(i) The disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights; and
(ii) Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and
(iii) The disputed domain name was registered and is used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Domain Name comprises the four words “euro”, “millions”, “tickets” and “online”, as well as the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.com”.
With respect to Complainant’s widely registered EUROMILLIONS trademarks, the only difference is the addition of two generic words “tickets” and “online”. Thereby, the dominant part clearly appears to be “Euro Millions”, i.e. Complainant’s trademarks. Many UDRP decisions have found that domain names are confusingly similar to trademarks when they incorporate a trademark in its entirety (see e.g. PepsiCo, Inc. v. PEPSI, SRL (a/k/a/ P.E.P.S.I.) and EMS COMPUTER INDUSTRY (a/k/a EMS), WIPO Case No. D2003 0696). Thus, the Panel finds that the Domain Name, which fully incorporates Complainant’s EUROMILLIONS trademark, is confusingly similar to Complainant’s trademark. Fédération Française De Tennis (Fft) v. Buncan Knight, WIPO Case No. D2013-2022; Take-Two interactive Software Inc. v. Private Whois Service, WIPO Case No. D2013-1459; Christian Dior Couture v. Chen Takong, WIPO Case No. D2013-0053).
The gTLD “.com” is merely a technicality of the registration and not typically a distinguishing element. Likewise, the generic terms “tickets” and “online” are also negligible under the test of confusing similarity as they only reinforce the overall impression created by the Domain Name that Complainant’s “Euro Millions” lottery tickets may be purchased online through this website.
Taking the above into consideration, the Panel considers that there is a high risk that Internet users are confused and actually believe that there is a connection between the Domain Name and Complainant’s services (see Sports Holdings, Inc. v. Hoffman Hibbett, WIPO Case No. D2007-0283).
Complainant has established the first element of the Policy, paragraph 4(a)(i).
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Complainant alleges and - based on the evidence discussed above - has established a prima facie case that Respondent lacks any rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name. It is the consensus view of UDRP panels that once a complainant has established a prima facie case, the burden of production shifts to Respondent to demonstrate otherwise (see e.g. Nicole Kidman v. John Zuccarini, d/b/a Cupcake Party, WIPO Case No. D2000-1415; Inter-Continental Hotels Corporation v. Khaled Ali Soussi, WIPO Case No. D2000-0252).
In this case, Respondent chose not to participate in these proceedings and, hence, failed to come forward with appropriate allegations or evidence demonstrating any rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name. Such rights or legitimate interests are neither manifest otherwise.
Thus, the Panel concludes that Complainant also satisfied the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Bad Faith
Paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy provides that the following, amongst others, is evidence of registration and use of a domain name in bad faith:
By using the domain name, Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of Respondent’s website or location or of a product or services on Respondent’s website or location.
In this connection, the Panel notes the following:
Complainant showed that it intensely used its EUROMILLIONS trademarks for lotteries since 2004. Thus, the trademarks were widely publicized and generally known when Respondent registered the Domain Name. Under these circumstances, it is reasonable to assume that Respondent knew Complainant’s trademarks when registering the Domain Name on August 20, 2012. The facts of this case furthermore support a finding that Respondent specifically aimed to attract customers for its own commercial gain by using Complainant’s trademarks in the registered Domain Name. This is a classic case of continuous bad faith (see Services aux Loteries en Europe, SLE v. Take That LTD, WIPO Case No. D2007-0214). Finally, Respondent failed to reply to Respondent’s cease and desist letter nor did it participate in these proceedings. Such passive behavior prior to and in a domain name proceeding is usually considered by UDRP panels as further indication of bad faith (see Telstra Corporation Limited v. Nuclear Marshmallows, WIPO Case No. D2000-0003; Kabushiki Kaisha Toshiba v. Shan Computers, WIPO Case No. D2000-0325; Bayerische Motoren Werke AG v. (This Domain is For Sale) Joshuathan Investments, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2002-0787).
Therefore, the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy are sufficiently made out by Complainant to the Panel.
For the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the Domain Name <euromillionsticketsonline.com> be transferred to Complainant.
Bernhard F. Meyer
Date: December 8, 2014