WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Veolia Environnement SA v. Milen Radumilo
Case No. D2017-0713
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Veolia Environnement SA of Paris, France, internally represented.
The Respondent is Milen Radumilo of Bucharest, Romania.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <véolia.com> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with Domain Name Origin, LLC (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on April 11, 2017. On April 11, 2017, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On April 11, 2017, 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 May 1, 2017. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was May 21, 2017. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on May 22, 2017.
The Center appointed Ian Lowe as the sole panelist in this matter on June 9, 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
The Complainant is the French holding company of the Veolia group founded more than 160 years ago. It had a turnover of some EUR 24.3 billion in 2016 and 163,000 employees around the world. Its three core businesses comprise the supply of water to up to 100 million people, the treatment of 30 million metric tons of waste and the production of 54 million MWh of electricity. The Complainant has a presence on all five continents and operates in Romania where the Respondent appears to be located.
The Complainant is the proprietor of many trademark registrations in respect of the word mark VEOLIA including International trademark number 814678 VEOLIA registered on September 11, 2003, designating a number of territories including Romania, and European Union trademark number 910325 VEOLIA registered as of March 10, 2006. The Complainant promotes its services through a website at the domain name <veolia.com> that was registered on December 30, 2002.
The Domain Name was registered on March 2, 2016. It resolves to a web parking page comprising sponsored links to the websites of third parties that have no connection with the Complainant.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to its VEOLIA trademark, that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name and that the Respondent registered and is using the Domain Name 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
For this Complaint to succeed in relation to the Domain Name the Complainant must prove that:
(i) the 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 Domain Name; and
(iii) the Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has uncontested rights in the VEOLIA trademark (the “Mark”), both by virtue of its many trademark registrations and as a result of the goodwill and reputation acquired through its use of the Mark over very many years. Ignoring the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) suffix “.com”, the Domain Name is identical to the Mark save that the Domain Name comprises an accented “e”, termed an “e-acute”, as used in French and other languages. In the view of the Panel, the addition of this accent does not detract from the identity or confusing similarity of the Domain Name to the Mark, particularly since the Complainant is a French company. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark 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 Domain Name. The Respondent has not used the Domain Name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services, but for a website comprising sponsored links to third party websites. There is no suggestion that the Respondent has ever been known by the Domain Name. In response to a cease and desist letter sent on behalf of the Complainant, the Respondent replied that “I don’t think this name is similar. I can sell this name for $1400 [USD 1,400].” The Respondent has chosen not to respond to the Complaint or to take any steps to counter the prima facie case established by the Complainant. In the circumstances, the Panel finds that the Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
In view of the notoriety of the Complainant’s VEOLIA mark, the Panel is in no doubt that the Respondent had the Complainant and its rights in the Mark in mind when it registered the Domain Name. The Panel cannot conceive of a legitimate, bona fide use to which the Respondent could put the Domain Name. In the Panel’s view, the Respondent’s use of the Domain Name for a web page comprising sponsored links to third party websites and the Respondent’s reaction to the cease and desist letter - offering the Domain Name for sale at an inflated price clearly amounting to more than out of pocket expenses for registering the Domain Name - together represent paradigm bad faith registration and use for the purposes of the Policy.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the 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 Domain Name <véolia.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: June 20, 2017