WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Reusch International S.P.A. v. Jerry Rodgers
Case No. D2018-0743
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Reusch International S.P.A. of Bozen, Italy, represented by Weinmann Zimmerli, Switzerland.
The Respondent is Jerry Rodgers of Fayetteville, North Carolina, United States of America (“United States”).
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <reuschskigloves.com> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with PDR Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on April 3, 2018. On April 5, 2018, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On April 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 April 10, 2018. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was April 30, 2018. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on May 1, 2018.
The Center appointed Ian Lowe as the sole panelist in this matter on May 14, 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 an Italian corporation manufacturing and distributing alpine and soccer gloves. Its business was first established in 1934. It is a worldwide leader in the sale of high quality ski gloves and an exclusive sponsor for the national ski teams of the United Sates, Switzerland, Austria and Norway. The Complainant is the registered proprietor of numerous trademarks in respect of the stylized word mark REUSCH including United States trademark number 1418793 registered on November 25, 1986, International trademark number 455863 registered on September 19, 1980 and European Union trademark number 8699671 registered on May 27, 2010.
The Domain Name was registered on May 12, 2017. It resolves to a website (the “Website”) whose home page has the tag “REUSCH Ski Gloves – Men’s Cheap – REUSCH New York Online Shop”. The Website offers for sale what purport to be REUSCH products at prices said to be “Save 50% off”. None of the “Privacy Notice”, “Shipping & Returns” or “Contact Us” webpages of the Website give any details of the name or address of the operator of the Website or the vendor of the products offered for sale. The Website does not give any indication as to its connection with the Complainant but uses images of the Complainant’s products apparently taken from the Complainant’s 2015 catalogue.
A cease and desist letter dated January 16, 2018, sent to the Respondent by registered mail at its address used to register the Domain Name could not be delivered because the address did not apparently exist. The Respondent did not reply to a cease and desist letter sent through the Website. The Complainant states that an order made through the Website was delivered by a Chinese sender not mentioned on the Website and notes the low prices at which products are offered. The Complainant accordingly alleges that the products sold from the Website are counterfeit.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to its REUSCH trademarks (the “Mark”), 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.
B. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has uncontested rights in the Mark, both by virtue of its many trademark registrations and as a result of the goodwill and reputation acquired through its widespread use of the mark over a number of years. Ignoring the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.com”, the Domain Name differs from the trademark only by the addition of the dictionary words “ski gloves”. In the view of the Panel, these additions do not detract from the confusing similarity between the Complainant’s mark and the Domain Name. See section 1.8 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”). Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to a trademark in which the Complainant has rights.
C. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant has made out a strong prima facie case that the Respondent could have no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name. The Respondent has no connection with the Complainant and is not authorized in any way to use the Complainant’s trademarks. The Respondent has used the Domain Name for a website advertising and offering for sale what purport to be the Complainant’s products at very heavily discounted prices. Products delivered in response to an order placed on the Website have been delivered by a Chinese sender. In the Panel’s view, this gives rise to a legitimate inference that the products sold from the Website are counterfeit and such use of the Domain Name cannot possibly give rise to rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name on the part of the Respondent. 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.
D. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
In light of the nature of the Domain Name, 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 use to which the Respondent has put the Domain Name in selling products purporting to be products of the Complainant under the Complainant’s distinctive REUSCH mark makes that quite clear. The Panel accepts on the balance of probabilities that the Respondent is selling counterfeit products of the Complainant and accordingly registered the Domain Name for commercial gain with a view to taking unfair advantage of the Complainant’s rights in the Mark, by confusing Internet users into believing that the Domain Name was being operated by or authorized by the Complainant for legitimate purposes related to the Complainant’s activities. The Panel is in no doubt that this amounts to 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 <reuschskigloves.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: May 20, 2018