WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Philipp Plein v. OPPP OPPP
Case No. D2015-2377
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Philipp Plein of Amriswil, Switzerland, represented by LermerRaible IP Law Firm, Germany.
The Respondent is OPPP OPPP of Bulgaria.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <outlet-philipp-plein.com> is registered with eNom, Inc. (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on December 31, 2015. On January 4, 2016, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On January 5, 2016, 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 and 4, the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on January 21, 2016. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was February 10, 2016. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on February 11, 2016.
The Center appointed Knud Wallberg as the sole panelist in this matter on February 18, 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.
4. Factual Background
The Complainant’s name is PHILIPP PLEIN and he is owner of several trademark registrations of Philipp Plein e.g. the International trademark no. 794860 and the Community trademark no. 002966505, covering inter alia goods in class 25 (clothing, footwear).
The disputed domain name <outlet-philipp-plein.com> was registered on November 19, 2015.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that
(i) <outlet-philipp-plein.com> is identical or confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademarks;
(i) the Complainant has not authorized any activities by the Respondent, nor any use of its trademarks and that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name; and
(iii) the Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith for a website selling counterfeited PHILPIP PLEIN products.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
According to paragraph 15(a) of the Rules, the Panel shall decide the Complaint in accordance with the Policy, the Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable and on the basis of the statements and documents submitted by the parties.
In accordance with paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainant must prove that each of the three following elements are satisfied:
(i) the disputed domain name is 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 name; and
(iii) the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy states that the burden of proving that all these elements are present lies with the Complainant. At the same time, in accordance with paragraph 14(b) of the Rules, if a party, in the absence of exceptional circumstances, does not comply with any provision of, or requirement under, the Rules, or any request from the Panel, the Panel shall draw such inferences there from as it considers appropriate.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The disputed domain name <outlet-philipp-plein.com> combines the Complainant’s registered trademark PHILIPP PLEIN in its entirety with the addition of the generic term “outlet”.
The Panel finds that the disputed domain name <outlet-philipp-plein.com> is confusingly similar (in the sense of the Policy) to the Complainant’s registered trademark because it contains the mark in its entirety. The addition of the generic term “outlet” as prefix to the trademark to form the disputed domain name does not, to this Panel, dispel a finding of confusing similarity. It has also long been held by UDRP panels that the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) gTLD suffix does not preclude a finding of confusing similarity where it otherwise exists, as it does in the present case.
The Panel finds that the conditions in paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy are therefore fulfilled in relation to the disputed domain name.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
According to the Complaint, the Complainant has not licensed or otherwise permitted the Respondent to use its trademark.
Given the circumstances of this case, the Panel is of the opinion that the Complainant has established a prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Respondent has not rebutted this and the way the Respondent has been and is using the disputed domain name (see below in Section C) does not support a finding of rights or legitimate interests.
Consequently the Panel finds that the conditions in paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy are also fulfilled.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy requires the complainant to prove both registration and use of the disputed domain name in bad faith. Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy provides an example of circumstances which shall be evidence of registration and use in bad faith:
(i) circumstances indicating that the holder has registered or has acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of the holder’s documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or
(ii) the holder has registered the domain name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that the holder has engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or
(iii) the holder has registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or
(iv) by using the domain name, the holder has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to the holder’s website or other online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the holder’s website or location or of a product or service on the holder’s website or location.
Accordingly, for the Complainant to succeed, the Panel must be satisfied that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
Given the circumstances of the case, in particular the extent of use of the Complainant’s trademark, the reputation and the distinctive nature of the mark, it is inconceivable to the Panel in the current circumstances that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name without prior knowledge of the Complainant and the Complainant’s mark. Further, the Panel finds that the Respondent could not have been unaware of the fact that the disputed domain name it chose could attract Internet users in a manner that is likely to create confusion for such users.
The Panel therefore finds that the disputed domain name was registered in bad faith.
According to the Complainant the disputed domain name was used to for a website that sold counterfeit goods bearing the PHILIPP PLEIN trademark, which was evidenced by an annex depicting the said website. The disputed domain name is now used to redirect to the website “www.creamdellacream.com”, which appears to be a website controlled by the Complainant.
The Panel therefore finds that the Respondent by its registration and use of the disputed domain name intentionally creates a likelihood of confusion as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of the disputed domain name with the purpose of either attracting Internet users to a website for commercial gain or disrupting the business of the Complainant as mainly per paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.
Noting that the disputed domain name incorporates a well-known trademark, that no response has been filed, and that there appears to be no conceivable good faith use that could be made by the Respondent of the disputed domain name, and considering all the facts and evidence, the Panel therefore finds that the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy are also fulfilled in this 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 <outlet-philipp-plein.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: March 9, 2016