WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center


Amadeus IT Group S.A. v. Connect Systems / Hostonik.com Web Hosting,

Case No. D2018-0252

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Amadeus IT Group S.A. of Madrid, Spain, represented by UBILIBET, Spain.

The Respondent is Connect Systems / Hostonik.com Web Hosting, of Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, internally represented.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <sellingplatformconnecteamadeus.com> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with Name.com, Inc. (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on February 6, 2018. On February 6, 2018, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On February 6, 2018, 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 February 21, 2018. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was March 13, 2018. On February 21, 2018, the Respondent submitted an informal communication to the Center. The Respondent did not submit any substantive response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Commencement of Panel Appointment Process on March 14, 2018.

The Center appointed W. Scott Blackmer as the sole panelist in this matter on March 19, 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

The Complainant is a technology company established under Spanish law in 1987, headquartered in Madrid, Spain and publicly traded. The Complainant operates worldwide computer reservations systems for the travel industry, with more than 15,000 employees in over 190 countries.

The Complainant operates several websites, including a global website at “www.amadeus.com”, which has a version in French and Portuguese for central and west Africa covering Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), where the Respondent is located. One of the Complainant’s commercial services is named “Amadeus Selling Platform Connect”, a web-based booking and fulfillment service for travel agents. The Panel notes that the Complainant advertises this service in several languages, including French, on its global website and linked social media pages, on Youtube, and in a brochure designed to be distributed to travel agencies.

The Complainant holds several AMADEUS trademark registrations, including the following:







International Trademark


August 20, 1987



International Trademark


January 30, 1996



International Trademark


June 22, 2016



European Union Trademark


August 29, 2005



USA Trademark


March 14, 1989

The Complainant’s International Trademarks registered with WIPO under the Madrid Protocol were originally issued by Germany or Spain and then extended to numerous countries (not including Côte d’Ivoire).

According to the Registrar, the Domain Name was created on October 27, 2017 and is registered in the name of the Respondent Connect Systems, with Hostonik.com Web Hosting shown as the “contact name”. From its website, it appears that Hostonik.com is a web hosting company and domain name reseller based in Côte d’Ivoire. It has not expressed an interest in the Domain Name in this proceeding. A company in Côte d’Ivoire called Connect Systems maintains a French-language website at “www.connectsystems.ci”. The website contact details show the same telephone number in Abidjan given for the registrant of the Domain Name, and the contact email address for the Domain Name is in the domain <connectsystems.ci>, so it may be presumed that this company is the same as the Domain Name registrant. In addition to architecture and construction, management and finance, and agroindustry, the Respondent advertises expertise in information and communications technology, including website development and hosting.

There is no evidence in the record that the Domain Name has been used for an active website. At the time of this Decision, it resolves to a page announcing, in French, that “your account has been suspended”, giving the Respondent’s telephone number and email address at Connect Systems for further information.

On February 21, 2018, after the Center delivered notice of the Complaint in this proceeding, the Center received the following communication by email from individuals apparently related to the Respondent, using the Domain Name for an email address:


The domain and the hosted website have been deleted from our server.

Our provider retrieved the domain.

We don’t want the domain and give authorisation to our favorite provider to sell it again to another customer

or delete it from it system.

As mentioning in the WIPO administrative procedure we agree with the Respondent [sic] about the domain.

They can buy it with name.com for being the owner.

You can stop the administrative procedure now.”

By this time, however, the Registrar had locked the Domain Name and the UDRP proceeding had commenced. The Complainant inquired about the possibility of settlement following the Center’s suggestion, but the Respondent did not reply.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant contends that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to its registered AMADEUS mark and that the Respondent has no permission or other legitimate reason to use the mark in the Domain Name.

The Complainant argues that the Respondent must have been aware of the well-known and distinctive AMADEUS mark. The Complainant concludes that there could be no reason to combine the mark with the name of one of the Complainant’s specific service offerings other than ultimately to mislead Internet users for commercial gain or use the Domain Name as a “bargaining asset”, presumably to prompt the Complainant to purchase it for an excessive price. The Complainant cites Telstra Corporation Limited v. Nuclear Marshmallows, WIPO Case No. D2000-0003, and other decisions articulating the “passive holding” doctrine that bad faith can be found in some circumstances even if the domain name has not yet been put to use.

B. Respondent

As detailed above, a presumably related third party suggested terminating the proceeding but the Respondent did not respond substantively to the Complaint.

6. Discussion and Findings

Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy provides that in order to divest a respondent of a disputed domain name, a complainant must demonstrate each of the following:

(i) the disputed 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 disputed domain name; and

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

Under paragraph 15(a) of the Rules, “A Panel shall decide a complaint on the basis of the statements and documents submitted and in accordance with the Policy, these Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable.”

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Complainant holds registered AMADEUS trademarks. The Domain Name incorporates the arbitrary and distinctive AMADEUS mark and adds the words “selling platform connecte” (with a slight misspelling in the terminal “e” on the last word). However, this heightens rather than avoids the confusing similarity, because the Complainant itself offers a service named “Selling Platform Connect”.

The first element of a UDRP complaint “serves essentially as a standing requirement” and entails “a straightforward visual or aural comparison of the trademark with the alphanumeric string in the domain name”. See WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), section 1.7. The Panel concludes under this test that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s mark for purposes of the first element of the Policy.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy gives non-exclusive examples of instances in which the Respondent may establish rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name, by demonstrating any of the following:

(i) before any notice to it of the dispute, the Respondent’s use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the Domain Name or a name corresponding to the Domain Name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; or

(ii) that the Respondent has been commonly known by the Domain Name, even if it has acquired no trademark or service mark rights; or

(iii) the Respondent is making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the Domain Name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue.

Since a respondent in a UDRP proceeding is in the best position to assert rights or legitimate interests in a disputed domain name, it is well established that after a complainant makes a prima facie case, the burden of production on this element shifts to the respondent to come forward with relevant evidence of its rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. See WIPO Overview 3.0, section 2.1.

Here, the Complainant demonstrates confusing similarity. The Complainant’s mark is arbitrary, and the string that constitutes the Domain Name is not a natural, generic phrase. The Respondent has not come forward to offer evidence of rights or legitimate interests. No rights or legitimate reasons are apparent in the record, or from a perusal of the Respondent’s own website. The Respondent has not made use of the Domain Name and is known by an entirely different name.

The Panel concludes that the Complainant prevails on the second element of the Complaint.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The Policy, paragraph 4(b), furnishes a non-exhaustive list of circumstances that “shall be evidence of the registration and use of a domain name in bad faith”, including the following (in which “you” refers to the registrant of the domain name):

“(i) circumstances indicating that you have registered or you have acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of your documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or …

(iv) by using the domain name, you have intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to your website or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of your website or location or of a product or service on your website or location.”

There is no evidence in the record that after registering the Domain Name in October 2017 the Respondent attempted to sell the Domain Name to the Complainant or publish a commercial website (or even a pay-per-click advertising portal) associated with the Domain Name. Nevertheless, the Respondent must have had a reason for registering the Domain Name, and only illegitimate motivations come to mind, such as the hope of selling it to the Complainant or using it to mislead Internet users familiar with the Complainant’s well-known and long-established mark, precisely the scenarios envisioned in paragraphs 4(b)(i) and (iv). When challenged in this UDRP proceeding, the individuals associated with the Respondent did not deny prior knowledge of the AMADEUS mark and offered no alternative explanation. Rather, they hastened to write, “we don’t want the domain,” asking the Center to stop the proceeding.

The fact that the Respondent had not yet approached the Complainant or associated the Domain Name with an active commercial website does not prevent a finding of bad faith. The circumstances of this case are appropriate for an application of the passive holding doctrine. See WIPO Overview 3.0, section 3.3 and Telstra, supra. The AMADEUS mark is distinctive and well established, and the Respondent has failed to offer plausible, legitimate reasons for using it in the Domain Name. As in other “passive holding” decisions, it is simply hard to imagine any good faith uses for this Domain Name by the Respondent. The Respondent has denied any desire to retain the Domain Name but has failed to take steps to relinquish it. The Panel considers this conduct itself an act of bad faith.

The Panel finds it probable that the Respondent was aware of the well-known and distinctive AMADEUS mark, as evidenced by the creation of a Domain Name combining the mark with a close approximation of the name of one of the Complainant’s commercial services. The Panel also finds it probable that the Respondent acted in bad faith by registering and holding the Domain Name for eventual exploitation of the Complainant’s trademark.

The Panel concludes that the Respondent registered and used the Domain Name in bad faith within the meaning 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 Domain Name, <sellingplatformconnecteamadeus.com>, be transferred to the Complainant.

W. Scott Blackmer
Sole Panelist
Date: March 28, 2018