WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Opera National de Paris v. Cty Tnhh Phuong Loan
Case No. D2017-2168
1. The Parties
Complainant is Opera National de Paris, France, of France, represented by Cabinet Santarelli, France.
Respondent is Cty Tnhh Phuong Loan of Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <loperaparis.com> is registered with P.A. Viet Nam Company Limited (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint in English was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on November 6, 2017. On November 6, 2017, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On November 7, 2017, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details and stating that the language of the Registration Agreement was Vietnamese.
On November 10, 2017, the Center sent a communication to the Parties, inviting Complainant to either submit satisfactory evidence of an agreement between Complainant and Respondent to the effect that the proceedings should be in English, or to submit the Complaint translated into Vietnamese, or to submit a request for English to be the language of the administrative proceedings. Respondent was also invited to submit comments. On November 13, 2017, Complainant submitted a request for English to be the language of the proceedings. Respondent did not reply to this 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 Respondent of the Complaint, in English and Vietnamese, and the proceedings commenced on November 20, 2017. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was December 10, 2017. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent of Respondent’s default on December 14, 2017.
The Center appointed Lawrence K. Nodine as the sole panelist in this matter on January 8, 2018. 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 is a renowned French opera company, with roots going back to the seventeenth century. More recently, in 1990, Complainant obtained its status as a public company and became known as Opera de Paris. While, in 1994, Opera de Paris changed its name to Opera National de Paris, Complainant continues to be commonly known as Opera de Paris. Complainant creates and hosts operas, ballets, and other performances in Paris and conducts tours of its programs worldwide. Complainant is the registered owner of the French registered trademarks OPERA NATIONAL DE PARIS (No. 94 538657; filed October 4, 1994) and OPERA DE PARIS (No. 04 3329411; filed December 13, 2004). Complainant also owns the European and the International trademark registrations for OPERA NATIONAL DE PARIS.
Respondent registered the disputed domain name <loperaparis.com> on May 24, 2017. The disputed domain name resolves to the website “www.loperaparis.com,” which features images of women in glamorous ball gowns and advertises various beauty treatments and creative makeup, hair care, and spa services under the name L’Opera de Paris. A portion of the website’s homepage is excerpted below:
The site does not appear to be fully functional as the various tabs included on the homepage are not operational. Clicking on a tab merely routes the user back to the homepage.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to its registered trademarks because it borrows the two dominant words “Opera” and “Paris” from its trademarks and merely includes the abbreviation of the French definite article “le” (meaning “the”). Moreover, Complainant argues that Respondent is making unauthorized use of the marks to lead consumers to believe that Respondent is providing services licensed by Complainant. Complainant also contends that its marks are very well known across the globe and that Respondent purposefully registered and is using the disputed domain name to take advantage of the goodwill and prestige Complainant enjoys for Respondent’s own commercial gain.
Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Language of proceedings
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”. Here, the Registration Agreement is in Vietnamese.
Complainant requests that English be the language of the proceeding, and claims that Respondent must understand English as the website at disputed domain name is in English. Moreover, Complainant states that the costs and delay entailed by requesting translation would unfairly burden Complainant.
In light of Complainant’s arguments, Respondent’s failure to object to Complainant’s request and the circumstances of the case, the Panel determines that the language of the proceedings is English.
B. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s registered trademarks OPERA NATIONAL DE PARIS and OPERA DE PARIS. The disputed domain name incorporates a substantial portion of Complainant’s marks such that the dominant features of both marks (OPERA and PARIS) are recognizable in the disputed domain name. The addition of the abbreviated definite article does nothing to diminish the confusion created by the reproduction in the disputed domain name of the dominant features of Complainant’s marks.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that Complainant has satisfied paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
C. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Complainant's evidence is sufficient to establish a prima facie case and shift the burden of production to Respondent, which has offered no evidence or argument to demonstrate rights or legitimate interests, such as a bona fide offering of goods and services. Accordingly, the Panel finds that Complainant has satisfied Policy paragraph 4(a)(ii).
D. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Respondent was plainly aware of Complainant's reputation and rights as evidenced by the imagery suggestive of evening elegance – a night at the opera. As there is no plausible storyline in which Respondent registers the disputed domain name without awareness of Complainant's rights, the Panel finds that Respondent registered the disputed domain name in bad faith.
The Panel also finds that Respondent is intentionally confusing internet users for its own commercial gain. Respondent exploits Complainant's reputation for sophisticated luxury to enhance its commercial image. It reaps commercial benefit from the suggestion of a connection to Complainant. This is bad faith use.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that Complainant has satisfied paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.
For the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders the transfer of the disputed domain name <loperaparis.com> to Complainant.
Lawrence K. Nodine
Date: January 25, 2018