WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

VALEO v. Yikunli

Case No. D2016-1245

1. The Parties

The Complainant is VALEO of Paris, France, represented by Tmark Conseils, France.

The Respondent is Yikunli of Shanghai, China.

2. The Domain Names and Registrar

The disputed domain names <valeo-cn.com>, <valeo-dcmotors.com> and <valeo-gear-motor.com> are registered with Shanghai Yovole Networks, Inc. (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on June 20, 2016. On June 21, 2016, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain names. On June 24, 2016, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a reminder for registrar verification. On June 27, 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. On June 28, 2016, the Center transmitted by email to the Parties a request for comment on the language of proceedings. The Complainant submitted its language request and annexes by email on June 28, 2016. The Respondent did not submit any comments on the language request.

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 in English and Chinese, and the proceedings commenced on July 8, 2016. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was July 28, 2016. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on July 29, 2016.

The Center appointed Douglas Clark as the sole panelist in this matter on August 3, 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 is a French automotive parts company. The Complainant is the registered proprietor of the trademark VALEO in numerous countries including China.

The disputed domain names <valeo-cn.com>, <valeo-dcmotors.com> and <valeo-gear-motor.com> were registered in 2012. The websites under the disputed domain names resolved to pages advertising Valeo motors and stated that the company was a distributor of Valeo products.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

(1) Identical or confusingly similar

The Complainant argues that the disputed domain names <valeo-cn.com>, <valeo-dcmotors.com> and <valeo-gear-motor.com> are made entirely up of the registered trademark VALEO and the geographic description “cn” or generic terms “dcmotors” (direct current motors) and “gear-motor” to which generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.com” has been added. They are therefore confusingly similar to the Complainant’s registered trademark VALEO.

(2) No rights or legitimate interests

The Complainant submits that the Respondent has not been known by the disputed domain names and the Respondent has no connection with the Complainant or any of its affiliates and has never sought or obtained any trademark registrations for VALEO.

(3) Registered and used in bad faith

The Complainant submits that there is no doubt that before registration of the disputed domain names the Respondent knew of the Complainant’s rights in the VALEO trademark and registered the disputed domain names to attract business to its websites.

B. Respondent

The Respondent did not respond to the Complainant’s contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

6.1. Language of the Proceedings

The language of the Registration Agreement is Chinese. Paragraph 11(a) of the Rules provides that:

“Unless otherwise agreed by the Parties, or specified otherwise in the Registration Agreement, the language of the administrative proceeding shall be the language of the Registration Agreement, subject to the authority of the Panel to determine otherwise, having regard to the circumstances of the administrative proceeding.”

The Complainant requested the language of the proceedings to be English on grounds that included that the Respondent had chosen to include English words in the disputed domain names and had some English words on its website.

The Respondent did not respond to this request.

The Center made a preliminary determination to:

1) accept the Complaint as filed in English;

2) accept a Response in either English or Chinese;

3) appoint a Panel familiar with both languages mentioned above, if available.

The final determination of the language of the proceedings lies with this Panel.

The Respondent did not respond to the Center’s preliminary determination. This Panel decided in Zappos.com, Inc. v. Zufu aka Huahaotrade, WIPO Case No. D2008-1191, that a respondent’s failure to respond to a preliminary determination by the Center as to the language of the proceedings “should, in general, be a strong factor to allow the Panel to decide to proceed in favour of the language of the Complaint”.

As set out below, the Panel considers the merits of the case to be strongly in favour of the Complainant. Translating the Complaint would cause unnecessary delays and expense. This factor leads the Panel to determine to follow the Center’s preliminary determination. As the only pleading before the Panel is in English, the Panel will render its decision in English.

6.2. Substantive Issues

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The disputed domain name <valeo-cn.com> is made up of the registered trademark VALEO, the geographic description “cn” and the gTLD “.com”. The disputed domain names <valeo-dcmotors.com> and <valeo-gear-motor.com> are made up of the registered trademark VALEO and the generic terms “dcmotors” (direct current motors) and “gear-motor” to which generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.com” has been added.

The disputed domain names are confusingly similar to the registered trademark VALEO.

The first part of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy is therefore satisfied.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Respondent has not responded to the Complaint to assert any rights or legitimate interests. Paragraph 2.1 of the WIPO Overview 2.0 provides:

“While the overall burden of proof rests with the complainant, panels have recognized that this could result in the often impossible task of proving a negative, requiring information that is often primarily within the knowledge of the respondent. Therefore a complainant is required to make out a prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests. Once such prima facie case is made, the burden of production shifts to the respondent to come forward with appropriate allegations or evidence demonstrating rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. If the respondent fails to come forward with such appropriate allegations or evidence, a complainant is generally deemed to have satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the UDRP.”

The Complainant has made out a prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

The Panel notes that on some of the webpages under the disputed domain names, there was a claim that the company concerned was a distributor of the Complainant’s products. However, the Respondent has not filed a response to verify this claim. In the circumstances, noting the Complainant’s contention that the Respondent has no connection with the Complainant or any of its affiliates, the Panel does not consider it necessary to consider if this would give the Respondent any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names.

The second part of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy is therefore satisfied.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The Panel finds that the disputed domain names were registered in bad faith and are being used in bad faith. The websites under the disputed domain names make it clear the Respondent knew of the Complainant.

This case falls with paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy which provides that a registrant has registered and is using a domain name in bad faith where:

“(iv) by using the domain name, you have intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to your web site or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of your web site or location or of a product or service on your web site or location.”

The use of the disputed domain names can only have been intended to attract consumers to the Respondent’s websites to promote sales of the Respondent’s products by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s mark as to the source or affiliation of the websites.

The third part of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy is therefore satisfied.

7. Decision

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, <valeo-cn.com>, <valeo-dcmotors.com> and <valeo-gear-motor.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Douglas Clark
Sole Panelist
Date: August 17, 2016