WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Schneider Electric S.A. v. Domain Whois Protect Service / Cyber Domain Services Pvt. Ltd.
Case No. D2015-2333
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Schneider Electric S.A. of Rueil-Malmaison, France, represented by Nameshield, France.
The Respondent is Domain Whois Protect Service of Mumbai, India / Cyber Domain Services Pvt. Ltd. of Mumbai, India.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <schnieder-electric.com> (the “Disputed Domain Name”) is registered with Tirupati Domains and Hosting Pvt Ltd. (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on December 22, 2015. On December 22, 2015, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On December 23, 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 December 30, 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 December 30, 2015.
The Center verified that the Complaint together with 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 and 4, the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on January 14, 2016. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was February 3, 2016. The Respondent did not submit any response.
Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on February 4, 2016.
The Center appointed Michael D. Cover as the sole panelist in this matter on February 10, 2016. 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. In accordance with its general powers under paragraph 10 of the Rules, the Panel extended the due date for the decision.
4. Factual Background
The Complainant was founded in 1871 and is a French-based publicly-listed company operating internationally in the areas of power management, automation and related solutions. The Complainant had a turnover of EUR 24 billion in 2012.
The Complainant is the proprietor of the trademark SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC, which is registered as a European (Community) Trade Mark, in the United States of America and as an International Trade Mark. The earliest registration dates back to 1998. The Complainant also owns many domain names, which include the words “Schneider Electric”. These latter are set out in Appendix 5 to the Complaint.
The Disputed Domain Name was registered in May 2005.
All that is known about the Respondent has already been set out above.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant submits that the Disputed Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC, in which it has rights. It notes that the Disputed Domain Name is identical to its trademark, save for the inversion of the letters ‘e’ and ‘i’ and submits that this inversion is not sufficient to avoid the Disputed Domain Name being confusingly similar to its trademark. The Complainant further submits that this is a clear case of typosquatting, which is a form of cybersquatting or ‘brandjacking’ which relies for its effect on mistakes, such as typographical errors, made by Internet users when putting a website address into a web browser.
The Complainant cites a number of decisions of previous panels, the most recent being Clarins v. “-“, Unknown Registrant” / Registration Private, Domains by Proxy, LLC, WIPO Case No. D2015-0451, where the panel noted that the only distinction between the disputed domain name in that case and the complainant’s trademark was the inversion of the letters ‘a’ and ‘i’ and that slight spelling variations were a common practice and did not prevent the disputed domain name from being confusingly similar to the complainant’s trademark. The panel in that case went on to decide and order the transfer of the disputed domain name in question.
Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant submits that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Disputed Domain Name. It notes that, in the case of Croatia Airlines d.d. v. Modern Empire Internet Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2003-0455, the panel, in noting the difficulty of proving a negative, went on to decide that, once the complainant had raised a prima facie case on this point, the burden shifted to the respondent. The panel also decided that, should the respondent not file a response, the burden of the complainant was deemed to be satisfied. The panel in that case went on to decide and order that the disputed domain name should be transferred to the complainant.
The Complainant also notes that it has granted no licence or authority to the Respondent to use its trademark SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC, which is well known, and that the Disputed Domain Name resolves to commercial links in relation to the Complainant. It submits that the use that has taken place of the Disputed Domain Name by the Respondent is in fact designed to generate confusion.
Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Complainant submits that the Dispute Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith. It notes again the point about typosquatting. It also notes that, with the commercial links already mentioned in this Decision, that the Respondent is intentionally attempting to attract for commercial gain Internet users to its website by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s well known trademark.
The Complainant requests that the Panel decide and order that the Disputed Domain Name be transferred to the Complainant.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
The Complainant must demonstrate on the balance of probabilities that the Disputed Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to its trademark, in which the Complainant has rights, that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Disputed Domain Name and that the Disputed Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith,
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel accepts that the Complainant has established that it has rights in its trademark SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC. The Complainant has registered rights in its trademark and it is a reasonable inference that it also has unregistered or common law rights in its trademark from the size of the activities carried on internationally under that trademark.
The Panel also accepts the Complainant’s submission that the Disputed Domain Name is confusingly similar to its trademark SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC. As noted in the decisions cited by the Complainant, it is well established that small variations and, in particular, the inversion of two letters are not sufficient to avoid confusing similarity.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Panel accepts that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name. It is a reasonable inference that the Respondent was aware of the Complainant’s well known trademark SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC when it registered the Disputed Domain Name in 2005 and the Panel accepts the submission of the Complainant with regard to the reversal of the burden of production on this point. In addition, the Respondent has not been able to go through any of the gateways in paragraph 4(c) of the Policy with regard to demonstrating that it does have rights to and legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel accepts the submissions of the Complainant in this regard and finds that the Disputed Domain Name has been registered and is 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 Name <schnieder-electric.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Michael D. Cover
Date: March 4, 2016