WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Inter IKEA Systems BV (IISBV) v. Omid, IkeaIran
Case No. D2015-0778
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Inter IKEA Systems BV of Amsterdam Zo, the Netherlands, represented by Saba & Co. IP, Lebanon.
The Respondent is Omid, IkeaIran of Tehran, Iran (Islamic Republic of).
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <ikea-iran.com> (the "Domain Name") is registered with Realtime Register B.V. (the "Registrar").
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on April 30, 2015, naming the Respondent as "Omid".
The Center transmitted its request for registrar verification to the Registrar on May 1, 2015. The Registrar replied on May 4, 2015, confirming that it had received a copy of the Complaint, that the Domain Name is registered with it, that the Respondent is the registrant, that the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the "Policy" or "UDRP") applies, that the Domain Name has been or is in the process of being placed on Registrar lock and will remain so during this proceeding, and that the registration agreement is in English. The Registrar also provided the contact details held on its database in respect of the Domain Name, which identified the Registrant Organization as "IkeaIran".
The Center informed the Complainant on May 5, 2015 that the registrant and contact details provided by the Registrar differed from those of the Respondent as named in the Complaint and invited the Complainant to amend the Complaint based on the registrant information provided by the Registrar. The Complainant replied on May 6, 2015, pointing out that the Registrar's WhoIs information identified the registrant name as "Omid" and the Registrant Organization as "IkeaIran". The Complainant submitted an Amended Complaint making minor changes to its substantive arguments but without changing the name of the Respondent. The Panel admits the Amended Complaint under paragraph 10(a) of the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the "Rules").
The Center verified that the Amended Complaint satisfied the formal requirements of the UDRP, the Rules, and the WIPO Supplemental Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the "Supplemental Rules").
In accordance with paragraphs 2(a) and 4(a) of the Rules, the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Amended Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on May 13, 2015. In accordance with paragraph 5(a) of the Rules, the due date for Response was June 2, 2015. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on June 3, 2015.
The Center appointed Jonathan Turner as the sole panelist in this matter on June 22, 2015. The Panel has submitted the Statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality and Independence, as required by the Center to ensure compliance with paragraph 7 of the Rules. Having reviewed the file, the Panel is satisfied that the amended Complaint satisfied applicable formal requirements, was duly notified to the Respondent, and has been submitted to a properly constituted Panel in accordance with the UDRP, the Rules and the Supplemental Rules.
4. Factual Background
The Complainant franchises a retail system and branding under the mark IKEA in respect of ready-to-assemble furniture and related products. Its franchisees operate 361 stores in 45 countries. Some 821 million people visited its franchisees' stores in the year ended August 31, 2014. The Complainant has registered trademarks consisting of or containing IKEA in more than 80 countries, including Iran (Islamic Republic of). Its registered trademarks in Iran (Islamic Republic of) include the mark IRANIKEA, dated January 5, 2006, and the mark IKEA, dated April 10, 1977. The Complainant has also registered numerous domain names including the string "ikea".
The Respondent registered the Domain Name on June 4, 2013, and has used it to locate a website which displayed the name "IKEAstore" in a banner, the mark IKEA on large labels attached to bicycles, and pictures of furniture on its home page. The website advertised IKEA products for sale online for delivery in Iran and at retail stores in Tehran and Karaj, Iran (Islamic Republic of), stating that they are imported from the United Arab Emirates. The website contained hypertext links to official websites of the Complainant or its franchisees in various countries including the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The website also provided information about IKEA's history and latest news.
5. Parties' Contentions
The Complainant contends that the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to its trademarks IKEA and IRANIKEA in which it has registered and unregistered rights.
The Complainant submits that the Respondent has not used or made demonstrable preparations to use the Domain Name for a bona fide offering of goods or services, and has not been commonly known by the Domain Name, and is not making legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the Domain Name. To the contrary, the Complainant points out that its registered trademarks long predate the Respondent's registration of the Domain Name; that the Respondent's own name has no relation to the Domain Name; that the name of the Respondent's organization is derived from the Complainant's own invented name; that the Complainant has not authorized the Respondent to use its mark as an organization or as a domain name; and that the Respondent's use of the Domain Name and the IKEA marks creates a false impression that its website is an authentic "IKEA" website for Iran (Islamic Republic of), associated with or sponsored by the Complainant.
The Complainant further alleges that the Respondent registered and is using the Domain Name in bad faith. The Complainant draws attention to aspects of the Respondent's website at the Domain Name that would lead customers to believe that the Respondent is the Complainant's representative in Iran (Islamic Republic of) and that the website is associated with the Complainant.
The Complainant requests a decision that the Domain Name be transferred to the Complainant.
As stated above, the Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
In accordance with paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainant must prove: (i) that the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a mark in which it has rights; (ii) that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name; and (iii) that the Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith. It is appropriate to consider each of these requirements in turn.
In accordance with paragraph 14(b) of the Rules, the Panel shall draw such inferences as it considers appropriate from the Respondent's default in failing to file a response. This includes the acceptance of plausible evidence of the Complainant which has not been disputed.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel finds that the Complainant has registered and unregistered rights in the mark IKEA and registered rights in the mark IRANIKEA. The Panel further finds that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to these marks. Many Internet users would understand the Domain Name to refer to an operation of or authorized by the Complainant in Iran (Islamic Republic of). The first requirement of the UDRP is satisfied.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Although the position is not clear on the evidence, the Panel will assume in the Respondent's favour that it has been reselling in Iran (Islamic Republic of) products sourced from stores of the Complainant's franchisees.
As noted in section 2.3 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Second Edition ("WIPO Overview 2.0"), many panels have followed the guidance in the decision in Oki Data Americas, Inc. v. ASD, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2001-0903, <okidataparts.com>, as to the circumstances in which a reseller who is using a domain name corresponding to a supplier's mark may be regarded as making a bona fide offering, and hence as having a legitimate interest in the domain name in accordance with paragraph 4(c)(i) of the UDRP.
According to this guidance, the reseller may have a legitimate interest provided that it is actually offering the supplier's products; that the website at the domain name is used to sell only those products; that the website accurately and prominently discloses the true relationship between the registrant and the supplier; and that the respondent does not attempt to register all domain names that reflect the supplier's mark.
In this case, it appears that the Respondent's website did not accurately and prominently disclose his true relationship with the Complainant. On the contrary, the Panel accepts the Complainant's undisputed evidence that it was liable to mislead consumers into believing that it was a website of the Complainant or its authorized representative in Iran (Islamic Republic of). In these circumstances, the Respondent cannot be regarded as making a bona fide offering within the meaning of paragraph 4(c)(i) of the UDRP so as to give him a right or legitimate interest in the Domain Name.
Furthermore, it is evident that the Respondent is not commonly known by the Domain Name and that he is not making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the Domain Name.
In the circumstances the Panel finds that there is no other basis on which the Respondent could claim a right or legitimate interest in the Domain Name. The second requirement of the UDRP is satisfied.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
As stated above, the Panel accepts the Complainant's evidence that the Respondent's website is liable to mislead customers into believing that it is a website of the Complainant or its authorized representative. This evidence is well-substantiated by the nature of the Domain Name that is used, the absence of any statement that the Respondent is not an authorized representative of the Complainant, the hypertext links to official websites of the Complainant or its franchisees in other countries, and the information about IKEA's history and latest news. Furthermore, having regard to all the circumstances, the Panel considers that it was the Respondent's intention so to mislead customers.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that by using the Domain Name the Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract Internet users to his website for commercial gain by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant's mark as to its source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement. Under paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the UDRP this constitutes evidence that the Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith. There is no material on the file which would displace this presumption. In all the circumstances, the Panel finds that the Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith. The third requirement of the UDRP is satisfied.
The Panel concludes that all three requirements of the UDRP are satisfied. The Domain Name should be transferred to the Complainant.
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 <ikea-iran.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: July 6, 2015