WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Inter IKEA Systems B.V. v. domain, i domain / Domain Admin, Privacy Protection Service INC d/b/a PrivacyProtect.org
Case No. D2015-0985
1. The Parties
Complainant is Inter IKEA Systems B.V. of Delft, the Netherlands, represented by CSC Digital Brand Services AB, Sweden.
Respondent is domain, i domain of Dubai, United Arab Emirates / Domain Admin, Privacy Protection Service INC d/b/a PrivacyProtect.org of Nobby Beach, Queensland, Australia.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <ikeame.com> is registered with PDR Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com (the "Registrar").
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on June 10, 2015. On June 10, 2015, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On June 11, 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 Complainant on June 11, 2015 providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. Complainant filed an amendment to the Complaint on June 11, 2015.
The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amendment to 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on June 15, 2015. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was July 5, 2015. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent's default on July 7, 2015.
The Center appointed Lawrence K. Nodine as the sole panelist in this matter on July 28, 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
Complainant, IKEA Systems B.V., is the owner of a store concept which sells furniture and home furnishing products under the IKEA trademark. IKEA stores operate through a franchise system of approved and licensed retailers. In 2014, there were 361 IKEA stores in over 40 countries.
Complainant owns more than 1,500 trademark registrations for the IKEA mark and its variations around the world, and has registered hundreds of domain names containing the IKEA mark. According to the evidence submitted by Complainant, Complainant's rights in the IKEA mark date back at least as early as 1975.
The disputed domain name was registered on May 25, 2014, renewed on May 25, 2015, and expires on May 25, 2016.
5. Parties' Contentions
Complainant alleges that it has trademark rights in the IKEA mark as evidenced by its worldwide registrations, its recognition as a famous leading global brand, and the inherent and acquired distinctiveness of the IKEA mark. Complainant further alleges that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to its IKEA mark because the addition of the non-distinctive term "me" does not have any impact on the overall impression of the dominant part of the name.
Complainant states that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name or the IKEA mark because it does not own any registered trademarks or other rights corresponding to the disputed domain name, it has not received a license or authorization of any kind from Complainant to use the mark and it is highly unlikely that Respondent would have been unaware of Complainant's famous worldwide mark. Complainant further notes that Respondent's use of Complainant's stylized IKEA mark and blue and yellow corporate IKEA colors falsely suggest affiliation with Complainant.
Complainant's priority date for the IKEA mark is at least as early as July 15, 1975. Complainant states that the IKEA mark has become well-known throughout the world and that Respondent registered the disputed domain name to take advantage of the goodwill associated with Complainant's mark. Additionally, Complainant states that it sent a cease-and-desist letter via the "privacy whois provider" to Respondent on January 15, 2015, to which Respondent never responded. The registration for the disputed domain name was renewed on May 25, 2015 despite Complainant's cease-and-desist letter. Complainant further alleges bad faith use because the disputed domain name resolves to an online store resembling Complainant's online stores, without authorization and without any disclaimer disclosing the lack of relationship with Complainant.
Respondent did not respond to Complainant's contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel finds that Complainant has rights in the IKEA trademark in view of its many trademark registrations. The Panel further finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the IKEA mark because it incorporates the entirety of the trademark. The addition of "me" after the mark fails to differentiate the disputed domain name from the mark.
The Panel finds that Complainant has satisfied paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The evidence of record supports Complainant's unrebutted allegations that Respondent is not authorized to use the IKEA mark and is not a licensee or affiliated with Complainant. Further, the Panel accepts that the disputed domain name was registered with the intention of referencing Complainant's mark in order to publish a webpage that closely resembles Complainant's authorized webpages. Respondent's use of the stylized IKEA mark on its website and the blue and yellow IKEA corporate colors misleads consumers by creating the false impression of sponsorship by Complainant. It is clear that Respondent's use of the IKEA mark in the disputed domain name is not a bona fide use and that it is not making a bona fide offering of goods or services. Complainant has made a prima facie showing that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name; Respondent, by virtue of its default, has failed to rebut that showing.
The Panel finds that Complainant has carried its burden and satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Respondent did not contest Complainant's allegations of bad faith registration and use. It is highly unlikely that Respondent was unaware of Complainant's trademark rights when Respondent registered the disputed domain name on May 25, 2014. Complainant had trademark registrations in the IKEA mark for nearly 40 years prior to the registration of the disputed domain name, and has used the IKEA mark extensively worldwide.
There is also evidence of bad faith use. Respondent not only failed to respond to Complainant's January 15, 2015 cease-and-desist letter, but subsequently renewed the disputed domain name on May 25, 2015. It is clear from these facts that Respondent is and was aware of Complainant's rights in the IKEA mark. The disputed domain name resolves to a page that features Complainant's stylized IKEA mark, which is being used without Complainant's authorization. Respondent fails to disclose this lack of relationship to consumers. Further, Respondent includes "copyright text" on the website, which, according to Complainant's unrebutted contentions, roughly translates to "Ikea store @ 1393 All Rights Reserved." This further reflects Respondent's intention to mislead and confuse Internet users in bad faith into the mistaken belief that Respondent is authorized by Complainant.
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, <ikeame.com> be transferred to Complainant.
Lawrence K. Nodine
Date: August 7, 2015