WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
VENTE-PRIVEE.COM, VENTE-PRIVEE.COM IP S.à.r.l. v. Idah Idah / Privacy Administrator
Case No. D2017-1053
1. The Parties
The Complainants are VENTE-PRIVEE.COM of La Plaine Saint-Denis, France and VENTE-PRIVEE.COM IP S.à.r.l. of Luxembourg, Luxembourg, represented by Cabinet Degret, France.
The Respondent is Idah Idah of Jawa Barat, Indonesia / Privacy Administrator of Bellevue, Washington, United States of America.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <vente-prive.co> is registered with NameScout Corp. (the "Registrar").
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on May 30, 2017 initially involving the disputed domain name and the domain name <vent-eprivee.com>. On May 31, 2017, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On June 2, 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 Complainant filed an amended Complaint on June 8, 2017, removing the domain name <vent-eprivee.com> and maintaining the disputed domain name.
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 June 19, 2017. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was July 9, 2017. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on July 11, 2017.
The Center appointed Alistair Payne as the sole panelist in this matter on July 18, 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 Complainants form part of the same corporate group which runs the "www.vente-privee.com" website, a shopping club originally formed in France that has been operating for more than 15 years in connection with the organization of sales event for all kinds of discounted products and services through their websites. The Complainants' business now operates in numerous countries worldwide and ranks amongst the most visited e-commerce sites in France and in Europe.
Between them the Complainants own numerous trade mark registrations worldwide that incorporate the VENTE-PRIVEE mark including the combined logo and word mark VENTE-PRIVEE.COM registered in France under number 3318310 on October 14, 2004, the same mark registered in the European Union under number 5.413.018 on December 20, 2007 and the combined logo and word mark VENTE-PRIVEE registered in the United States under No. 4.263.242 on December 25, 2012.
The Complainants own numerous domain names that include their VENTE-PRIVEE mark.
The disputed domain name was registered on September 29, 2016.
5. Parties' Contentions
The Complainants submit that they own registered trade mark rights in the VENTE-PRIVEE and VENTE-PRIVEE.COM marks as set out above. They say that the disputed domain name wholly incorporates their mark VENTE-PRIVEE and that the only difference is the omission of one letter, namely an "e". They submit that the disputed domain name is a case of typosquatting that is aimed at Internet users seeking to reach their website but who omit the additional "e" required on "privee" in order to make it agree with the feminine "vente". In addition, they submit that the use of the ".co" country-code topLevel Domain renders the disputed domain name even more similar to their VENTE-PRIVEE.COM mark. Consequently, they say that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to their VENTE-PRIVEE and VENTE-PRIVEE.COM marks.
The Complainants submit that the Respondent is not known by the disputed domain name and based on the Complainants' searches do not own registered rights in the disputed domain name. In addition, the Complainants says that it is indicative that they began to use their VENTE-PRIVEE and VENTE-PRIVEE.COM marks more than 15 years ago and neither the Respondent nor any third party has complained about such use. They confirm that they have not authorised or licensed such use and are not related to the Respondent in any way. Finally, the Complainants say that the fact that the Respondent is exploiting the disputed domain name to resolve to a parking page containing links to competitor's websites demonstrates that the Respondent has no intent to use the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services.
The Complainants submit that the Respondent must have been aware of its VENTE-PRIVEE and VENTE-PRIVEE.COM marks at the date of registration as by that time their mark was well known internationally and a simple on-line search would have revealed their marks and business. Further, they say that this is an obvious case of typosquatting as "vente-prive" does not exist in any language.
In addition, the Complainants say that the Respondent is engaged in a pattern of behavior in that it previously registered the <vent-eprivee.com> domain name on April 5, 2016 which was used to resolve to a parking page at least until April 14, 2017. The Complainants also point to a reverse WhoIs search from the Respondent's email address that shows that the Respondent is linked to at least 5,783 registered domain names that reproduce and or typosquat various well-known marks.
Further, the Complainants say that the Respondent has intentionally sought to attract Internet users to its website by using the disputed domain name to create a likelihood of confusion with the Complainants' marks as to source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of the Respondent's website. They say that the disputed domain name resolves to a website that features links to competitors' websites in the fashion industry and that this is evidence of commercial use in bad faith under the Policy.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainants' contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainants have demonstrated, as noted above, that between them they own numerous combined logo and word mark registrations that incorporate their VENTE-PRIVEE and VENTE-PRIVEE.COM marks. In particular, the combined logo and word mark registered in the United States under No. 4.263.242 on December 25, 2012features the word mark VENTE-PRIVEE as its dominant and principal element, as does the combined logo and word mark VENTE-PRIVEE.COM registered in France under number 3318310 registered on October 14, 2004, and the Panel finds that this amounts to registered rights in the VENTE-PRIVEE and VENTE-PRIVEE.COM marks for the purposes of the Policy.
The disputed domain name only differs from the Complainants' VENTE-PRIVEE mark by the omission of the additional letter "e". This does not differentiate the disputed domain name from the Complainants' mark in any substantive way and as submitted by the Complainants the use of the ".co" country-code topLevel Domain is also not a distinguishing factor. As a result, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainants' VENTE-PRIVEE and VENTE-PRIVEE.COM marks and the Complaint succeeds under the first element of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainants have submitted that they have not authorised or licensed the Respondent to use their VENTE-PRIVEE and VENTE-PRIVEE.COM marks and that based on the searches that they have undertaken, the Respondent has no registered trade mark rights corresponding to the disputed domain name and otherwise is not generally known by the disputed domain name.
Based on the evidence provided by the Complainants, the Respondent also registered the domain name <vent-eprivee.com> on April 5, 2016 and the reverse WhoIs search undertaken by the Complainants indicates that the Respondent is linked to more than 5,000 registered domain names that reproduce or typosquat various well-known marks.
In these circumstances and considering that the disputed domain name resolves to a parking page with links to websites of the Complainants' competitors, as further described below, the Panel considers that the Complainants have made out a prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. As the Respondent has failed to rebut this case the Panel finds that the Complaint succeeds under this element of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The disputed domain name was registered on September 29, 2016, many years after the Complainants first used their VENTE-PRIVEE and VENTE-PRIVEE.COM marks and by which time the Complainants' mark had been used in numerous countries and at a point when its business under the marks was well established in France and internationally. The Panel acknowledges the Complainants' submission that an Internet search at this time would have clearly disclosed the Complainants' e-commerce websites under the marks even to the Respondent (apparently based in Indonesia) and finds that it is more likely than not that at the date of registration of the disputed domain name the Respondent was well aware of the Complainants' VENTE-PRIVEE and VENTE-PRIVEE.COM marks.
The Respondent is using the disputed domain name to resolve to a parking page that contains links to websites of companies in the jewellery and clothing business that the Complainants allege compete with their business. The Panel infers that the Respondent is doing so intentionally for commercial purposes and presumably earns revenue when Internet users are re-directed to these competitor websites. This inference is only reinforced by the evidence that the Respondent owns or is linked to many thousands of domain names that reproduce or typosquat various well-known marks. As a result, that Panel finds that this amounts to evidence of registration and use of the disputed domain name in bad faith in terms of paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.
The Respondent in this case appears to have engaged in a classic form of typosquatting in order to profit from Internet users who misspell the Complainants' mark or domain names. Based on the evidence provided by the Complainants of the Respondent owning or being connected with more than 5,000 registered domain names that reproduce or typosquat various well-known marks, it seems that the Respondent has a significant history of conduct in this regard. Accordingly, the Panel also finds, in terms of paragraph 4(b)(ii) of the Policy that the Respondent has registered the disputed domain name in order to prevent the Complainants from reflecting their marks in a corresponding domain name and has engaged in a pattern of such conduct.
As a result, the Panel finds that the Respondent has registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith and the Complaint also succeeds under this element of the Policy.
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 <vente-prive.co> be transferred to the Complainant VENTE-PRIVEE.COM.
Date: July 31, 2017