WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Pentair, Inc. v. Hossam Gamal

Case No. D2014-2151

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Pentair, Inc. of Golden Valley, Minnesota, United States of America ("U.S"), represented by Roetzel & Andress LPA, U.S.

The Respondent is Hossam Gamal of Cairo, Egypt.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <pentairwatereg.com> is registered with Network Solutions, LLC (the "Registrar").

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on December 10, 2014. On December 11, 2014, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On December 12, 2014, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming the Respondent as the registrant and providing contact details.

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 proceeding commenced on December 16, 2014. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was January 5, 2015. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on January 6, 2015.

The Center appointed Kaya Köklü as the sole panelist in this matter on January 26, 2015. 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 proceeding is the language of the registration agreement for the disputed domain name <pentairwatereg.com>, i.e., English.

4. Factual Background

The Complainant is a U.S. company active in the field of offering water pumps, water storage, water filtration, etc. Goods under the brand Pentair have been sold worldwide for more than 15 years.

According to the information provided in the case file, the Complainant is the owner of numerous trademark registrations for the mark PENTAIR in many countries, mainly for water related products like the ones mentioned above. The first use of the mark PENTAIR dates back to the year 1999. In Egypt, where the Respondent is apparently located, the mark PENTAIR gained protection since June 12, 2012 (registration nos. 275983, 275984, 275985 and 275986).

The Complainant further owns and operates several domain names like <pentair.com> and <pentairwater.com>.

The disputed domain name <pentairwatereg.com> was registered on March 27, 2014.

As indicated in the case file, the Complainant's attorneys sent to the Respondent a cease and desist letter on September 4, 2014, in which they asked for a voluntary transfer of the disputed domain name to the Complainant. The Respondent did not reply.

Although the website linked to the disputed domain name is mainly written in Arabic, the mark PENTAIR in combination with the English term "water" is prominently featured in logos and images on that website.

5. Parties' Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant requests transfer of the disputed domain name.

The Complainant is of the opinion that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant's PENTAIR trademark.

Furthermore, the Complainant argues that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

Finally, the Complainant asserts that the Respondent must have registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

According to paragraph 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 the trademarks 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 PENTAIR trademark.

First, the Panel confirms that the Complainant has satisfied the threshold requirement of having trademark rights regarding PENTAIR. Since many years, the Complainant has been the owner of a large number of word and figurative trademarks comprising the mark PENTAIR, claiming protection particularly for goods and services related to water pumps and filtration systems. Also in Egypt, where the Respondent is apparently located, the Complainant has trademark rights in the brand PENTAIR which date back to the year 2012.

Although not identical, the disputed domain name fully incorporates the Complainant's PENTAIR trademark.

The disputed domain name differs from the PENTAIR trademark only by the addition of the term "water" and the Internet country code for Egypt, namely "eg". In the Panel's view, these additions do 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 PENTAIR trademark. On the contrary, the full inclusion of the Complainant's trademark in combination with the terms "water" and the country code "eg" even enhances the false impression that the disputed domain name is somehow officially related to the Complainant and its water related products offered in Egypt. This is particularly the case as the term "water" is already used by the Complainant in one of its domain names, <pentairwater.com>.

The Panel concludes that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the trademark in which the Complainant has rights.

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 failed to demonstrate any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

While the overall 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 panels 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 of 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 make any convincing argument to demonstrate rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name according to the Policy, paragraph 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 to use the Complainant's trademark PENTAIR in the disputed domain name. In particular, the Complainant affirmed that it never granted a license or any other permission to the Respondent to use the PENTAIR trademark.

In the absence of a response by the Respondent, there is no indication in the current record that the Respondent is commonly known by the disputed domain name. Furthermore, the Respondent has failed to demonstrate any of the non-exclusive circumstances evidencing rights or legitimate interests under the Policy, paragraph 4(c) or other evidence of rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. In particular, the Respondent has failed to show that the disputed domain name has been or is intended to be used in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services.

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 believes that the Respondent is deliberately attempting to create confusion among Internet users and/or to tarnish the Complainant's PENTAIR trademark, likely for commercial gain or some other illegitimate benefit.

The Panel believes that the Respondent must have been well aware of the PENTAIR trademark when it registered the disputed domain name in March 2014. At the date of registration of the disputed domain name, the Complainant's PENTAIR trademark was already registered (including in Egypt) and recognized for water related products like pumps and filtration systems.

This assessment is supported by the fact that the Respondent prominently featured the Complainant's trademark on its website, which strongly indicates its knowledge about the existence of the Complainant and its business. By using the Complainant's trademark on its website, the Respondent apparently takes into account that it will cause the false impression that the website linked to the disputed domain name is somehow officially related to the Complainant or its affiliates.

Furthermore, the Respondent preferred not to respond to the Complainant's contentious, although being informed of the pending administrative proceeding by email and parcel service.

All in all, the Panel cannot conceive of any good faith use of the disputed domain name by the Respondent. The Panel is convinced that the available record provides sufficient evidence to justify an assessment of bad faith registration and use.

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.

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 <pentairwatereg.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Kaya Köklü
Sole Panelist
Date: February 6, 2015