WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Cofra Holding AG v. Abdulmuttalip Celikkollu, Redevco Yatirim Danismanlik Hizmetleri AS

Case No. D2017-2103

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Cofra Holding AG of Zug, Switzerland, represented by Ports Group AB, Sweden.

The Respondent is Abdulmuttalip Celikkollu, Redevco Yatirim Danismanlik Hizmetleri AS of Istanbul, Turkey.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <redevcoyatirim.com> is registered with Realtime Register B.V. (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on October 27, 2017. On October 27, 2017, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On October 29, 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 November 16, 2017. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was December 6, 2017. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on December 7, 2017.

The Center appointed Kaya Köklü as the sole panelist in this matter on December 17, 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 a holding company that comprises a group of companies that are mainly active in the retail, real estate and private equity investment management industry. Its real estate activities are conducted by the Redevco group of companies, which is active under a licence of the Complainant. The Complainant and its group of companies have a long history in retail and real estate business and their combined portfolio comprises several hundred properties in various cities across Europe.

The Complainant and its group of companies own various word and figurative trademark registrations for REDEVCO in many jurisdictions throughout the world, including Turkey. For instance, the Complainant is the owner of the Turkish REDEVCO trademarks with the registration no. 1229412 and no. 1229021, both registered on October 20, 2014 in classes 35, 36, 37 and 45, covering protection, inter alia, for various kinds of real estate management and investment services.

According to the current record, the disputed domain name <redevcoyatirim.com> was registered on March 18, 2017.

The Respondent seems to be an investment company with its registered seat in Istanbul, Turkey.

At the time of the decision, the disputed domain name resolved to a webpage offering various services for real estate management and investments in Turkey. On the respective webpage, the trademark REDEVCO was prominently used by the Respondent in various forms.

A cease-and-desist letter sent to the Respondent by the Complainant’s legal representatives on April 10, 2017 has remained unanswered.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant requests the transfer of the disputed domain name.

The Complainant is of the opinion that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark REDEVCO.

Furthermore, the Complainant argues that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name and registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

According to paragraphs 14(a) and 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 Complaint where no Response has been submitted.

In accordance with paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainant must prove that each of the three following elements is satisfied:

(i) the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the trademarks 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 Complainant bears the burden of proving that all these requirements are fulfilled, even if the Respondent has not replied to the Complaint. Stanworth Development Limited v. E Net Marketing Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2007-1228.

However, concerning the uncontested information provided by the Complainant, the Panel may, where relevant, accept the provided reasonable factual allegations in the Complaint as true. Belupo d.d. v. WACHEM d.o.o., WIPO Case No. D2004-0110.

It is further noted that the Panel has taken note of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”) and, where appropriate, will decide consistent with the WIPO Overview 3.0.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the REDEVCO trademark of the Complainant.

First, the Panel confirms that the Complainant has satisfied the threshold requirement of having trademark rights in REDEVCO. As evidenced in the Complaint, the Complainant is the owner of a large number of trademarks comprising the brand REDEVCO, which are registered since many years in various jurisdictions around the world, including Turkey.

Although not identical, the disputed domain name fully incorporates the Complainant’s REDEVCO trademark.

The disputed domain name differs from the Complainant’s REDEVCO trademark only by the addition of the Turkish term “yatırım”, which means “investment“ in the English language. In the Panel’s view, the addition of this term does not negate the confusing similarity between the Complainant’s trademark REDEVCO and the disputed domain name. The Panel finds that this additional incorporation is descriptive and does not distinguish the disputed domain name from the Complainant’s REDEVCO trademark.

In view of the above, the Panel is satisfied that the Complainant has met the requirements under paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

While the burden of proof remains with the Complainant, the Panel recognizes that proving a respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests may often result in the impossible task of proving a negative, requiring information that is often primarily within the knowledge of the respondent. Therefore, the Panel agrees with prior UDRP panels that the Complainant is required to make out a prima facie case before the burden of production of evidence shifts to the Respondent to show that it has rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name in order to meet the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy. Croatia Airlines d.d. v. Modern Empire Internet Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2003-0455.

The Panel finds that the Complainant has satisfied this requirement, while the Respondent has failed to file any evidence or convincing argument to demonstrate rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name according to the Policy, paragraph 4(a)(ii) and 4(c).

With its Complaint, the Complainant has provided uncontested prima facie evidence that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.

In the absence of a Response, there is no indication in the current record that the Respondent is commonly known by the disputed domain name. The Respondent has also failed to demonstrate any of the other non‑exclusive circumstances evidencing rights or legitimate interests under the Policy, paragraph 4(c) or any other evidence of rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Also, the Panel does not see any indication in the record for assessing a bona fide offering of goods or services by the Respondent.

On the contrary, the offered services under the disputed domain name indicate that the Respondent tries to gain illegitimate commercial benefit by using a domain name which fully incorporates the Complainant’s trademark REDEVCO and additionally comprises the Turkish term for “investment”, which directly targets the Complainant’s core business of real estate management and investment services.

Hence, the Panel finds that the Complainant has also satisfied the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The Panel is further convinced that the Respondent has registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith.

The Panel concludes that the disputed domain name is likely to confuse Internet users into their believing that the disputed domain name is affiliated or endorsed by the Complainant or that the use of the disputed domain name is at least authorized by the Complainant. The Panel is of the opinion that the Respondent deliberately attempted to confuse Internet users in relation to the Complainant’s REDEVCO trademark, apparently for illegitimate purposes, and to free ride on the Complainant’s goodwill.

The Panel is particularly convinced that the Respondent was well aware of the Complainant’s REDEVCO trademark when it registered the disputed domain name. At the date of registration of the disputed domain name, the Complainant’s trademark was already registered and recognized for many years, including in Turkey. The fact that the Respondent prominently used the Complainant’s trademark on its website linked to the disputed domain name to promote its real estate investment services further indicates that the Respondent must have been fully aware of the Complainant’s trademark rights when registering the disputed domain name.

Furthermore, the Respondent preferred not to respond to the Complainant’s cease-and-desist letter of April 10, 2017 or even the Complaint itself. The Panel finds that the Respondent’s silence to the dispute supports the conclusion that it has registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith.

All in all, the Panel cannot conceive of any good faith use of the disputed domain name which is not related to the trademark owned by the Complainant.

Hence, the Panel concludes that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith and that the Complainant consequently has satisfied the third element of the Policy, namely, paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.

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 <redevcoyatirim.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Kaya Köklü
Sole Panelist
Date: December 29, 2017