WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd v. SoftTech, YongHoon Lee
Case No. D2015-0893
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. of Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do, Republic of Korea, represented by You Me Patent & Law Firm, Republic of Korea.
The Respondent is SoftTech, YongHoon Lee of Seoul, Republic of Korea.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <samsungschool.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 May 27, 2015. On May 27, 2015, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On May 27, 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 June 3, 2015. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was June 23, 2015. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on June 25, 2015.
The Center appointed Moonchul Chang as the sole panelist in this matter on July 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. Due to exceptional circumstances, the date for the Panel to submit its decision to the Center was extended to July 26, 2015.
4. Factual Background
The Complainant is Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd, a Korean corporation which is manufacturing and selling a variety of electronic goods including, among many others, cell phones and televisions.
The Complainant owns trademark registrations for the SAMSUNG mark, in numerous countries including the Republic of Korea, France, Spain and the United States of America.
According to the publicly available WhoIs information and confirmed by the Registrar, the disputed domain name <samsungschool.com> was registered on July 22, 2008. The disputed domain name redirects to the domain name <ssbooks.com>.
5. Parties' Contentions
The Complainant contends that:
(i) The disputed domain name <samsungschool.com> is confusingly similar to the Complainant's trademark SAMSUNG. It incorporates the Complainant's SAMSUNG mark in entirety with the addition of a generic word "school" which does not sufficiently distinguish the disputed domain name from the trademark. "SAMSUNG" is the dominant feature of the disputed domain name, causing confusing similarity to the Complainant's trademark;
(ii) The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name. The Complainant has not authorized the Respondent to use the SAMSUNG mark for registration of any domain name incorporating the mark. There is no conceivable legitimate interest in the use of the disputed domain name by the Respondent;
(iii) The disputed domain name was registered and is being used by the Respondent in bad faith. Firstly, the Respondent registered the disputed domain name which entirely incorporates the Complainant's world famous SAMSUNG mark without the Complainant's permission. Secondly, the Respondent, a Korean individual, registered the disputed domain name with actual or presumable knowledge of the Complainant's rights in the SAMSUNG mark. Thirdly, the Respondent is using the disputed domain name to forward to another domain name <ssbooks.com> with which he does not have any relationship. Finally, the Respondent previously registered the domain names <samsungplus.com> and <gapkorea.com> which previous UDRP panels ordered to be transferred to the Complainant.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 15(a) of the Rules instructs the Panel to decide the Complaint on the grounds of the statements and documents submitted and in accordance with the Policy, the Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable.
Moreover, under paragraph 14(b) of the Rules, it is established that: "If a Party, in the absence of exceptional circumstances, does not comply with any provision of, or requirement under, these Rules or any request from the Panel, the Panel shall draw such inferences therefrom as it considers appropriate."
In light of the above, the Panel may draw such inferences from the Respondent's failure to comply with the Rules as it considers appropriate (see paragraph 14(b) of the Rules).
Under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainant must prove each of the following:
(i) the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the Complainant's trademark or service mark; 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.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The disputed domain name <samsungschool.com> is comprised of two words: "samsung" and "school". The generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) suffix ".com" can be disregarded under the confusing similarity test (see DHL Operations B.V. v. zhangyl, WIPO Case No. D2007-1653). The dominant feature of the disputed domain name is "samsung" which is entirely identical to the SAMSUNG trademark and the word "school" is a generic term and only a descriptive suffix. Numerous UDRP panels have held that where a domain name substantially incorporates a complainant's trademark, this is sufficient to make the domain name "confusingly similar" within the meaning of the Policy (see Amazon.com, Inc. v. MCL International Limited, WIPO Case No. D2000‑1678).
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the first element under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy has been met by the Complainant.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Under paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy, the overall burden of proof is on the Complainant. However, once the Complainant presents a prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, the burden of production shifts to the Respondent (see Belupo d.d. v. WACHEM d.o.o., WIPO Case No. D2004-0110; Croatia Airlines d.d. v. Modern Empire Internet Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2003-0455).
Firstly, the Complainant contends that the Respondent is not using the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. In this present case, the Respondent has used the disputed domain name to forward to another website with which he does not appear to have any relationship.
Secondly, the Respondent failed to come forward with any appropriate allegations or evidence that might demonstrate its rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name to rebut the Complainant's prima facie case.
Thirdly, there is no evidence presented to the Panel that the Respondent has used, or has made demonstrable preparations to use, the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services or is making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name. In addition there is no evidence to suggest that the Respondent has been commonly known by the disputed domain name.
Accordingly, the Panel concludes that the Complainant has satisfied the second element under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy in the present case.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy requires that the disputed domain name "has been registered and is being used in bad faith". As this requirement is conjunctive, the Complainant must establish both bad faith registration and bad faith use of the disputed domain name. In addition, the circumstances listed in paragraph 4(b) of the Policy are not exclusive, and other circumstances may likewise lead to a finding of bad faith registration and use.
Firstly, since the Complainant's trademark SAMSUNG is widely known and the disputed domain name entirely incorporates the SAMSUNG mark, in this Panel's view it is highly unlikely that the Respondent failed to notice the presence of the trademark in the disputed domain name at the time of the registration.
Secondly, the Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract Internet users to another website by redirecting the disputed domain name. The mere fact of diverting users in this misleading manner suggests of bad faith.
Thirdly, the Respondent previously registered the domain name <samsungplus.com> which a previous UDRP panel ordered to be transferred to the Complainant in Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd v. YongHoon Lee, WIPO Case No. D2015-0215. There is also a history of prior bad faith findings in the case involving the Respondent in The Gap, Inc. v. YongHoon Lee, SofTech, WIPO Case No. D2007-0386. Having considered the Respondent's registration of multiple confusingly similar domain names incorporating widely known trademarks, the Panel finds that these registrations constitute a typical pattern of cybersquatting in bad faith.
Based on the foregoing, the Panel is satisfied that bad faith registration and use have been established with respect to the disputed domain name in accordance with paragraph 4(b) of the Policy.
Accordingly, the Panel concludes that the Complainant has satisfied the third element under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy in the present case.
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 <samsungschool.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: July 26, 2015