WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Carrefour v. Tony Mancini, USDIET Whoisguard, Inc.
Case No. D2015-0962
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Carrefour of Boulogne-Billancourt, France, represented by Dreyfus & associés, France.
The Respondent is Tony Mancini, USDIET of Los Angeles, United States of America; Whoisguard, Inc. of Panama.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <carrefour-france.com> is registered with eNom (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on June 5, 2015. On June 8, 2015, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On June 9, 2015, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the disputed domain name which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on June 10, 2015 providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting the Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. The Complainant filed an amended Complaint on June 15, 2015.
The Center verified that the Complaint and the amended 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 18, 2015. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was July 8, 2015. On June 18, 2015, the Center received an informal email from the Respondent. The Respondent did not submit any formal response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent of the proceeding to panel appointment on July 9, 2015.
The Center appointed Clive Duncan Thorne as the sole panelist in this matter on July 21, 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
According to the Complainant it has over the past 50 years grown to become a world leader in the retail sector. It is the second largest retailer in the world and the first in Europe. It currently operates under four store formats: hypermarkets, supermarkets, convenience stores and cash and carry shops for professionals. The Complainant states currently operates over 10,000 stores throughout the world, either company-operated or franchises.
As a multi-format, multi-channel and multi-location retailer, the Complainant responds to the diverse needs of its urban and rural customers, both individual shoppers and trade clients, wherever they are in the world. In addition, the Complainant states that it updates its stores on an ongoing basis to create a more comfortable shopping experience and improved service quality whilst reducing their environmental impact. Carrefour has always given priority to products sourced locally that is products from a region in which they are sold. In France, each Carrefour hypermarket works with around 100 local producers on average. This direct supply policy generates benefits at all levels. It provides customers with a wider choice, as well as better tasting regional products; it guarantees product freshness and quality since there is a direct relationship between producers and shops.
The Complainant noticed that the disputed domain name <carrefour-france.com> has been registered. A search revealed that the disputed domain name was registered by the Respondent and resolves to a website entitled “Carrefour France” which promotes slimming products and teeth bleaching products. The website is reproduced at Annex 1 to the Complaint. It should be noted that the extract from the website is in French.
The Complainant, on December 9, 2014, sent a cease and desist letter to the Respondent by way of registered letter and email referring to its trademark rights. The letter requested the Respondent to reveal the identity and contact details of the registrant and to transfer the disputed domain name to the Complainant. However, no reply was obtained from the Respondent despite several reminders sent. Copies of the correspondence are set out at Annex 4 to the Complaint.
The Complainant submits that under the trademark CARREFOUR it enjoys a worldwide reputation. Moreover it owns numerous trademark registrations for the mark CARREFOUR around the world.
In particular, the Complainant is the owner of International Trademark Registration CARREFOUR number 1010661 dated April 16, 2009 covering services in Class 35.
The Complainant is the owner of the domain name <carrefour.com> which incorporates the trademark CARREFOUR.
The disputed domain name was registered on September 27, 2014.
In the absence of a Response, the Panel accepts the evidence adduced above by the Complainant to be true. It proceeds to determine this Complaint on the basis of the Complainant’s evidence only.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends:
1. The disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights.
2. The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.
In particular there is no evidence of the Respondent being known by the mark CARREFOUR nor is there evidence that the Respondent was using the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services under the mark CARREFOUR.
3. The domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith. The Complainant relies upon the fact that CARREFOUR is a well-known trademark throughout the world and particularly in France. Its worldwide reputation has been mentioned in previous panel decisions. The Respondent should therefore have known of the existence of the Complainant’s rights.
Internet users attempting to visit the Complainant’s website have ended up on the Respondent’s website because of the strong likelihood of confusion.
The Respondent has not replied to the cease and desist letters and reminders and this in itself constitutes bad faith.
The Respondent did not formally reply to the Complainant’s contentions. In its informal email of June 18, 2015, the Respondent simply stated “WE DONT USE IT ANU]YMORE [sic].”
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant submits that the disputed domain name <carrefour-france.com> reproduces the Complainant’s trademark CARREFOUR. The disputed domain name also associates the Complainant’s trademark CARREFOUR with the geographical term France. This does not dispel any likelihood of confusion given that the Complainant has its major operations and headquarters in France.
The Complainant further submits that the use of a hyphen between “carrefour” and “france” should be disregarded. Similarly the use of the generic Top-Level Domain “.com” should be disregarded as is shown by earlier panel decisions.
The Panel has already identified the Complainant’s trademark rights in the mark CARREFOUR. It is satisfied that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to a trademark i.e. CARREFOUR in which the Complainant has rights.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
There is no evidence that the Respondent has any prior rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Moreover there is no evidence that the Respondent is commonly known by the name “carrefour” or in any way affiliated with the Complainant or authorised or licensed to use the mark CARREFOUR or to seek registration of any domain name incorporating the mark.
The Respondent has failed to show any intention of noncommercial or fair use in respect of the disputed domain name and in these circumstances the Panel is entitled to find that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
For all of these reasons, the Panel finds in favour of the Complainant in respect of there being no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Complainant submits that it is “implausible” that the Respondent was unaware of the Complainant when it registered the domain name. It points out that CARREFOUR is a well-known trademark throughout the world which has been accepted by earlier panel decisions. This Panel also finds on the basis of the Complainant’s evidence that CARREFOUR is a well-known trademark throughout the world and that the Respondent would have been aware of the Complainant’s trademark rights when it registered the disputed domain name
The Complainant submits that “taking into account the worldwide reputation of the Complainant and its trademark as well as the high level of notoriety of the Complainant, it is hard to believe that the Respondent was unaware of the existence of the Complainant and its trademark at the time of registration of the disputed domain name”. The Panel accepts this submission. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name was registered in bad faith by the Complainant.
The disputed domain name resolves to the website entitled “Carrefour France” which promotes slimming products and teeth bleaching products. It also displays commercial links which direct to other websites. The Complainant submits that the use of the disputed domain name to direct Internet users towards the websites of other companies is also taking advantage of the Complainant’s goodwill.
The Complainant relies upon the fact that the Respondent has not responded to any cease and desist letters and reminders sent and that this is also evidence of bad faith.
The Panel accepts the Complainant’s submissions. The Panel finds that the Respondent registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith in accordance with paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.
For all 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 <carrefour-france.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Clive Duncan Thorne
Date: July 27, 2015