WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Arkema France v. Aaron Blaine
Case No. D2015-0502
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Arkema France, Colombes, France, represented by Fross Zelnick Lehrman & Zissu, PC, United States of America.
The Respondent is Aaron Blaine, Bellingham, Washington, United States of America.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <arkemacorporation.com> is registered with Melbourne IT Ltd (the "Registrar").
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on March 23, 2015. On March 24, 2015, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On March 24, 2015, 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.
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 March 31, 2015. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was April 20, 2015. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on April 21, 2015.
The Center appointed Tobias Zuberbühler as the sole panelist in this matter on April 23, 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.
4. Factual Background
The Complainant is a French company in the chemical industry with offices in 40 countries and 13,800 employees. Complainant has obtained registrations for its ARKEMA trademark around the world dating back to the year 2004, including the United States Reg. Nos. 3,082,135 and 3,082,057.
The disputed domain name was registered on December 16, 2014. The website currently associated with the disputed domain name appears to be a place-holder website with generic links regarding the establishment of corporations.
5. Parties' Contentions
In summary, the Complainant contends the following:
Through significant expenditures of time, money and effort, the Complainant has developed substantial goodwill in the ARKEMA trademark, and its ARKEMA trademark has become famous and well-known throughout the industry.
The Respondent registered the disputed domain name to perpetrate a fraud. Though currently nothing more than a parked website, when the disputed domain name first came to the Complainant's attention, it was being used in connection with a copycat website that was designed to impersonate the Complainant's subsidiary, Arkema Group Inc.
The disputed domain name consists of nothing more than the ARKEMA trademark plus the descriptive word "corporation" and the generic Top-Level Domain ("gTLD") ".com". A gTLD indicator such as ".com" cannot be taken into consideration when judging confusing similarity, and the term "corporation" was meant to further mislead Internet users to believe that the disputed domain name is associated with the Complainant. Thus, it is clear that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the Complainant's validly registered trademark.
Given that the Complainant's use of the ARKEMA trademark predates the Respondent's registration of the disputed domain name, the burden is on the Respondent to establish its rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Respondent has no connection or affiliation with the Complainant and has not received any license or consent to use the Complainant's trademark in domain names or in any other manner. Upon information and belief, the Respondent's only use of the disputed domain name is in connection with a fraudulent website. Such use demonstrates neither a bona fide offering of goods or services nor a legitimate interest.
The fact that the Respondent has used the disputed domain name to impersonate the Complainant is evidence of the Respondent's opportunistic bad faith in registering and using the disputed domain name. The Respondent's exploitation of the Complainant's goodwill for financial gain also demonstrates bad faith.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The disputed domain name is comprised of the Complainant's trademark ARKEMA and the suffix "corporation". UDRP panels have consistently held that the addition of merely generic or descriptive terms to a trademark in a domain name would typically be insufficient in itself to avoid a finding of confusing similarity under the first element of the UDRP (see WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Second Edition ("WIPO Overview 2.0"), paragraph 1.9).
The Complainant has thus fulfilled paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
There are no indications before the Panel of any rights or legitimate interests of the Respondent in respect of the disputed domain name.
Based on the Complainant's contentions, the Panel finds that the Complainant, having made a prima facie case which remains unrebutted, has fulfilled the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Conclusive evidence presented by the Complainant in these proceedings (Exhibits G and H to the Complaint) suggests that the disputed domain name has been registered and, for a certain period of time, was being used to copy and mirror a website of the Complainant's subsidiary, Arkema Group Inc. This is evidence of bad faith. Currently, the disputed domain name appears to be connected to a place-holder website with generic links regarding the establishment of corporations. It is apparent under these circumstances that the Respondent has registered and is using the disputed domain name to divert Internet traffic to unrelated websites offering competing and similar services to those of the Complainant, for the purpose of achieving commercial gain. Such conduct constitutes bad faith registration and use under paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.
The Complainant has thus also satisfied 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 <arkemacorporation.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: May 7, 2015