WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dux Mundi
Case No. D2015-1592
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. of Bentonville, Arkensas, United States of America (“United States”), represented by Drinker, Biddle & Reath, LLP, United States.
The Respondent is Dux Mundi of Baku, Azerbaijan.
2. The disputed domain names and Registrar
The disputed domain names <driveforwalmart.com>, <peopleatwalmart.com>, <pepoleofwalmart.com> and <yourwalmartcareer.com> are 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 September 4, 2015. On September 7, 2015, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain names. On September 8, 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 disputed domain names Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Policy” or “UDRP”), the Rules for Uniform disputed domain names Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Rules”), and the WIPO Supplemental Rules for Uniform disputed domain names Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Supplemental Rules”).
In accordance with the Rules, paragraphs 2 and 4, the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on September 14, 2015. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was October 4, 2015. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on October 5, 2015.
The Center appointed Ian Lowe as the sole panelist in this matter on October 14, 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
The Complainant is the world’s largest retailer whose international operations include more than 11,000 retail units in 27 countries. It carries on e-commerce in 10 countries, and serves more than 245 million customers weekly. As a result of its widespread use of the WAL-MART trademark in commerce since 1962, the Complainant has acquired a substantial goodwill and reputation in the mark WAL-MART. In addition, it is the registered proprietor of numerous trademarks around the world comprising WAL-MART including United States registration number 1,783,039 WAL-MART covering retail department store services in Class 42 registered on July 20, 1993.
The disputed domain names were registered between June and September 2009. At the time of preparation of the Complaint, with the exception of <driveforwalmart.com>, the disputed domain names redirected to other URLs which in turn resolved inconsistently to a variety of websites. <driveforwalmart.com>, when available, resolved to a web page featuring pay-per-click advertisements for products sold by third parties unrelated to the Complainant.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the disputed domain names are confusingly similar to its WAL-MART trademarks, that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain names and that the Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain names in bad faith within the meaning of paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
According to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, for this Complaint to succeed in relation to the disputed domain names the Complainant must prove that:
(i) the disputed domain names are identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and
(ii) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain names; and
(iii) the disputed domain names have been registered and are being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel readily accepts that the Complainant has long-standing, uncontested rights in respect of the
WAL-MART mark both through long standing use around the world over more than 50 years and by virtue of its registered trademarks in the United States and in many other countries. Ignoring the “.com” suffix for the purpose of assessing the similarity of the disputed domain names and the mark in which the Complainant has rights, the disputed domain names each comprise the entirety of the Complainant’s mark together only with generic words (“drive”, “for”, “people”, “at”, “your”, “career”, “of”) or the mistyped word “people”. In the Panel’s view, the addition of these generic terms does not detract from the distinctiveness of the
Accordingly, the Panel is satisfied that the disputed domain names are all confusingly similar to a mark in which the Complainant has rights.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant has made out a strong prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain names. The Respondent has used the disputed domain names to redirect Internet users to other websites which have no connection with the Complainant or to resolve to a website comprising pay-per-click advertisements for products sold by third parties. In the Panel’s view, none of these activities could possibly give rise to rights or legitimate interests on the part of the Respondent in domain names comprising the very well-known WAL-MART mark.
The Respondent has chosen not to respond to the Complaint or to put forward any explanation as to any rights or legitimate interests on its part. It has therefore failed entirely to dispel the strong prima facie case raised by the Complainant. In the circumstances, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain names.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
In light of the nature of the WAL-MART mark and its notoriety through its use by the Complainant in relation to retail activities across the United States and many other countries over more than 45 years before the disputed domain names were registered, the Panel is in little doubt that the Respondent must have had the Complainant and its rights in the WAL-MART mark in mind when it registered the disputed domain names. In the Panel’s view, the Respondent has used domain names comprising the Complainant’s famous mark to draw in Internet users and redirect them to a variety of websites either for obvious financial gain or for purposes that the Panel infers are very likely to be for commercial gain, or, in the case of <driveforwalmart.com>, to a web page comprising pay-per-click advertising for third-party products, again for commercial gain. The Panel considers that this amounts to paradigm bad faith registration and use.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the disputed domain names were registered and are being used in bad faith.
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 names <driveforwalmart.com>, <peopleatwalmart.com>, <pepoleofwalmart.com> and <yourwalmartcareer.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: October 19, 2015