WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
AIDA Cruises - German Branch of Costa Crociere S.p.A. v. Hoteq.info Hamdi, Hamdi Gocen
Case No. D2015-0631
1. The Parties
The Complainant is AIDA Cruises - German Branch of Costa Crociere S.p.A. of Rostock, Germany, represented by Selting Attorneys at Law of Cologne, Germany.
The Respondent is Hoteq.info Hamdi, Hamdi Gocen of Istanbul, Turkey.
2. The Domain Name And Registrar
The disputed domain name <aidaalacarte.com> is registered with Domain.com, LLC (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on April 9, 2015. On April 9, 2015, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On the same date the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response, providing the full name of the registered Respondent. Since the location of the Registrar differed from the contact information in the Complaint, the Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on April 23, 2015 inviting the Complainant to confirm such information. On April 27, 2015 the Complainant sent a response email confirming the Registrar’s contact information.
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 April 29, 2015. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was May 19, 2015. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on May 20, 2015.
The Center appointed Marilena Comanescu as the sole panelist in this matter on June 1, 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.
The language of the proceeding is English.
4. Factual Background
The Complainant is a cruise line company based in Germany and operates cruises in Europe, the United States of America, the Caribbean area and Asia.
Since at least 2005, the Complainant holds trademark registrations for the word AIDA, such as:
- the International Trademark registration number 872409, designating, inter alia, Turkey where the trademark is protected for services in class 43, including for providing food and drink for guests in restaurants, cafeterias and cafés; and
- the Community Trademark registration number 004681987 covering goods and services in classes 3, 12, 16, 18, 24, 25, 28, 30, 32, 33, 39, 41, 43 and 44.
The disputed domain name was registered on November 3, 2013. At the time the Complaint was filed, the disputed domain name did not resolve to an active website.
The same parties were involved in another UDRP dispute for the trademark AIDA, see Aida Cruises - German Branch Of Costa Crociere S.p.A. v. Hamdi Gocen, WIPO Case No. D2011-1877 concerning the domain names <aidatour.info> and <aidatour.net>, case decided in favor of the Complainant.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is identical to its trademark AIDA, the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name and the Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion And Findings
In view of the default and the absence of any reply to the Complaint by the Respondent, the discussion and findings will be based upon the contentions in the Complaint and any reasonable position that can be attributable to the Respondent. Under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, a complainant can only succeed in an administrative proceeding under the Policy if the following circumstances are met:
(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 the disputed domain name; and
(iii) the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has rights in the AIDA trademark, holding registrations worldwide since at least 2005, including in Turkey, where the Respondent appears to be located.
The dominant part of the disputed domain name <aidaalacarte.com> incorporates the Complainant’s trademark AIDA in its entirety. In addition to this, the disputed domain name contains the generic terms “alacarte”, from the commonly used French expression “à la carte”, meaning “on the menu, according to the card”; whereas the Complainant has an active presence and trademark registrations in the cruise travel field providing a range of related services including those of restaurants and cafeteria.
Numerous UDRP panels have considered that the addition of generic wording to trademarks in a domain name is not sufficient to escape a finding of confusing similarity and does not change the overall impression of the domain name as being connected to a complainant’s trademark. See, paragraph 1.9 of theWIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Second Edition (“WIPO Overview 2.0”).
Further, it is well established in decisions under the UDRP that the presence or absence of spaces, characters (e.g., hyphens, dots) in a domain name and indicators for generic Top Level Domains (e.g., “.com”, “.info”, “.net”, “.org”) are typically irrelevant to the consideration of confusing similarity between a trademark and a domain name.
Given the above, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name <aidaalacarte.com> is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark AIDA, pursuant to the Policy, paragraph 4(a)(i).
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant asserts that it has given no authorization to the Respondent to use its trademark; since its registration, the disputed domain name does not resolve to an active website. In line with previous UDRP decisions made in similar circumstances, the Panel accepts that the Complainant has provided a prima facie case of the Respondent’s lack of rights or legitimate interests in relation to the disputed domain name, and the burden of production shifts to the Respondent.
The Respondent chose not to challenge the Complainant’s allegations. There is no evidence before the Panel to support the contrary, and therefore the Panel accepts these arguments as facts.
Consequently, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name <aidaalacarte.com>, pursuant to the Policy, paragraph 4(a)(ii).
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The trademark AIDA has been registered and used worldwide since at least 2005. In 2011 the same parties were involved in another UDRP dispute in connection with two domain names comprising AIDA trademark, see Aida Cruises - German Branch Of Costa Crociere S.p.A. v. Hamdi Gocen supra.
The disputed domain name <aidaalacarte.com> was registered in 2013 and incorporates the AIDA trademark and the generic non-distinctive words “à la carte”.
This Panel finds the above convincing evidence that the Respondent was aware of the Complainant’s business and trademark when registering the disputed domain name.
The Respondent did not respond to the Complaint nor to the Complainant’s letter sent prior to commencing the present procedure. Furthermore, it appears that the contact details provided to the Registrar are false since the hard copy documents of this case were undeliverable to the Respondent due to fake address. Given the other circumstances of the case, such behavior may be considered as further evidence of bad faith in registering and using the disputed domain name.
At the time of filing the Complaint the disputed domain name resolves to an inactive website. The passive holding of the disputed domain name does not prevent a finding of bad faith. See paragraph 3.2 of theWIPO Overview 2.0.
For all the above reasons, the Panel finds that the Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name <aidaalacarte.com> in bad faith, pursuant to the Policy, paragraph 4(a)(iii).
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 <aidaalacarte.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: June 9, 2015