WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Federation Francaise de Tennis (FFT) v. Mark Boucher

Case No. D2016-2515

1. The Parties

Complainant is Federation Francaise de Tennis (FFT) of Paris, France, represented by Nameshield, France.

Respondent is Mark Boucher of Ahmedabad, India.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <frenchopen2017live.net> is registered with BigRock Solutions Pvt Ltd. (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on December 13, 2016. On December 13, 2016, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On December 14, 2016, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on December 20, 2016. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was January 9, 2017. On December 23, 2016, the Center received an informal email communication from Respondent. Respondent did not submit a formal Response. Accordingly, on January 10, 2017, the Center notified the Parties that the Center would proceed to appoint the Administrative Panel.

The Center appointed Lynda J. Zadra-Symes as the sole panelist in this matter on January 13, 2017. 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 was founded in 1920. Complainant promotes, organizes and develops tennis in France and provides representation of France in international meetings and organizes major tournaments such as the International of France at Roland Garros, the biggest tournament of the tennis season on clay. The International of France event has been known as the “French Open” since 1968. It is one of the four Grand Slam tournaments, the second in the calendar after the Australian Open in January. Complainant sells the television rights for the entire tournament to selected official and exclusive broadcasters worldwide.

Complainant is the owner of the International Trademark FRENCH OPEN, Registration No. 538170 registered on June 22, 1989.

Respondent registered the disputed domain name on October 11, 2016.

On November 24, 2016, Complainant sent Respondent a cease-and-desist letter notifying Respondent of Complainant’s trademark rights and demanding transfer of the disputed domain name. Respondent did not reply to the cease-and-desist letter.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s trademark, that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name, and that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.

B. Respondent

In an email dated December 20, 2016, Respondent acknowledged receipt of notification of commencement of the proceedings in this case. However, Respondent did not submit a formal response to Complainant’s contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

Complainant has the burden of proving each of the following three elements under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy in order to be entitled to a transfer of the disputed domain name:

(i) That the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights; and

(ii) That Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and

(iii) That the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

Complainant is the owner of the International Trademark FRENCH OPEN. The disputed domain name includes Complainant’s mark in its entirety, with the addition of the word “live” and the year “2017”. Complainant’s mark is the dominant feature of the disputed domain name. The generic term “live” and the year “2017” do not add any distinguishing feature.

The Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

Based on previous UDRP decisions, “a complainant is required to make out a prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests. Once such a prima facie case is made, the burden 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”. See WIPO Overview 2.0 of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Second Edition (“WIPO Overview 2.0”), paragraph 2.1.

Complainant’s allegations in the Complaint and evidence submitted on this issue are sufficient to make out a prima facie case that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

In view of the international recognition of the FRENCH OPEN trademark, it is highly unlikely that Respondent was unaware of the existence of Complainant’s trademark rights at the time of registering the disputed domain name. Respondent is not related in any way to Complainant’s business and has not been authorized by Complainant to use or apply for registration of the disputed domain name.

Respondent has not made use of the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. The disputed domain name resolves to a website which displays the title “French Open 2017 Live Streaming”. Complainant has not authorized Respondent to broadcast the 2017 French Open event.

Respondent’s name is Mark Boucher. Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name.

Respondent did not respond to Complainant’s cease-and-desist letter and has not submitted any evidence showing that he has any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

The Panel finds that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy lists a number of circumstances that, without limitation, are deemed to be evidence of the registration and use of a domain name in bad faith. Circumstances that “shall be evidence” of bad faith include facts indicating an intentional attempt to attract for commercial gain Internet users to a website by creating a likelihood of confusion with another’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the website.

Complainant’s FRENCH OPEN trademark is widely known and therefore it is highly unlikely that Respondent was unaware of Complainant’s trademark when registering the disputed domain name. The evidence indicates that Respondent has registered the disputed domain name for the purpose of attracting Internet users to Respondent’s website by creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainant’s trademark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of Respondent’s website.

The Panel finds that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

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 name <frenchopen2017live.net> be transferred to Complainant.

Lynda J. Zadra-Symes
Sole Panelist
Date: January 17, 2017