WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Société Air France v. Jose Teixeira Mendes
Case No. D2018-2919
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Société Air France of Roissy, France, represented by MEYER & Partenaires, France.
The Respondent is Jose Teixeira Mendes of Alicante, Spain.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The Disputed Domain Name <air-france-reservation.com> is registered with 1&1 Internet AG (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on December 21, 2018. On December 21, 2018, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Disputed Domain Name. On December 26, 2018, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the Disputed Domain Name which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on December 26, 2018 providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting the Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. The Complainant filed an amended Complaint on January 4, 2019.
The Center sent an email communication to the parties on December 26, 2018 regarding the language of the proceeding, as the Complaint was submitted in English and the language of the registration agreement for the Disputed Domain Name is Spanish. The Complainant submitted within the amended Complaint a request for English to be the language of the proceeding on January 4, 2019. The Respondent did not submit any communication regarding the language of the proceeding.
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 in both English and Spanish, and the proceedings commenced on January 9, 2019. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was January 29, 2019. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on February 1, 2019.
The Center appointed Pablo A. Palazzi as the sole panelist in this matter on February 6, 2019. 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 the French airline passenger and freight company Société Air France. The company was founded in 1933.
The Complainant Air France has a fleet of 583 airplanes, serves 231 cities in 103 countries and makes 1,500 flights per day.
Moreover, the Complainant owns numerous trademark registrations for the term AIR FRANCE. Among others, the Complainant is the owner of the following trademark Registrations:
- International Trademark AIR FRANCE, Registration No. 828334, registered on October 20, 2003, and
- European Union Trademark AIR FRANCE, Registration No. 2528461, registered on October 7, 2003.
Since 2004, the Complainant has owned the <airfrance.com> domain name and has continuously and actively operated the Complainant’s website through which the Complainant provides information about itself, its products and services.
Furthermore, the Complainant registered or acquired, among others, the following domain names:
The Disputed Domain Name <air-france-reservation.com> was registered on November 5, 2018.
The Disputed Domain Name resolved to a website displaying information about the rental of a vacation home located in Villajoyosa (Alicante), Spain. The background illustration of the website consisted of a photograph of a plane branded with the Complainant’s trademark.
At the present, the Disputed Domain name is currently inactive.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Identical or confusingly similar
The Complainant states that the Disputed Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademarks AIR FRANCE, since the Disputed Domain Name reproduces the Complainant’s trademarks in its entirety.
The Complainant alleges that the Disputed Domain Name reproduces letter by letter the Complainant’s trademarks only separated by hyphens. The addition of the term “reservation” accentuates the risk of confusion between the Disputed Domain Name and the Complainant’s trademarks since it refers immediately to the sphere of airline travel in which the Complainant operates.
Moreover, the Disputed Domain Name is also confusingly similar to the following Complainant´s domain names: <airfrance.com>, <airfrancereservation.com>, <airfrancereservations.com>, <airfrance-reservation.com>, and <airfrance-reservations.com>.
Rights or legitimate interests
The Complainant states that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Disputed Domain Name.
The Complainant further submits that the Respondent is not affiliated with the Complainant in any way, nor authorized or licensed by the Complainant to use and register its trademarks, or to seek registration of any domain name incorporating its trademark.
Moreover, the Respondent is not known under the wording AIRFRANCE, AIR FRANCE or RESERVATION.
Registration and use in bad faith
The Complainant contends that the Respondent could not have ignored AIR FRANCE’s international reputation at the time of the Disputed Domain Name registration.
Moreover, in the website related to the Disputed Domain Name there was a picture of an AIR FRANCE branded plane.
As such, the Complainant states that the Respondent registered the Disputed Domain Name in bad faith.
Furthermore, the Complainant states that the Respondent has used AIR FRANCE reputation in order to attract Internet users.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy lists the three elements which the Complainant must satisfy with respect to the Disputed Domain Name in this case:
(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.
A. Language of the proceedings
Pursuant to paragraph 11 of the Rules, unless otherwise agreed by the Parties, the language of the proceeding is the language of the registration agreement, subject to the authority of the Panel to determine otherwise.
The Complainant has requested for the proceeding to be conducted in English due to the fact that the Disputed Domain Name is composed of the Complainant’s trademark AIR FRANCE and of the English term “reservation”. Moreover, the advertisement that the Respondent had published on the website “www.booking.com” regarding the rental of its apartment is written in English.
It should be pointed out that the Respondent didn’t make any comment in this regard.
The WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), section 4.5 states the following: “[…], panels have found that certain scenarios may warrant proceeding in a language other than that of the registration agreement. Such scenarios include (i) evidence showing that the respondent can understand the language of the complaint, (ii) the language/script of the domain name particularly where the same as that of the complainant’s mark, (iii) any content on the webpage under the disputed domain name, (iv) prior cases involving the respondent in a particular language, (v) prior correspondence between the parties, (vi) potential unfairness or unwarranted delay in ordering the complainant to translate the complaint, (vii) evidence of other respondent-controlled domain names registered, used, or corresponding to a particular language, (viii) in cases involving multiple domain names, the use of a particular language agreement for some (but not all) of the disputed domain names, (ix) currencies accepted on the webpage under the disputed domain name, or (x) other indicia tending to show that it would not be unfair to proceed in a language other than that of the registration agreement.”
Therefore, taking into consideration the Complainant’s argument and the fact that the Respondent did not make any objection, the Panel decides that the language of the proceedings will be English, and thus, the decision will be rendered also in English.
B. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has demonstrated that it has trademarks rights over the AIR FRANCE trademark.
Based on the evidence submitted, the Panel finds that the Disputed Domain Name
<air-france-reservation.com> is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s AIR FRANCE trademark. The Complainant’s trademark is clearly recognizable within the Disputed Domain Name.
Furthermore, the Disputed Domain Name contains the Complainant’s AIR FRANCE trademark in its entirety. The addition of the term “reservation” and the use of hyphens does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity. Moreover, the addition, of the generic Top-Level-Domain (“gTLD”) “.com” does not change this finding, since the gTLD is generally disregarded in such an assessment of confusingly similarity.
Therefore, the Panel finds that the Complainant has satisfied the first requirement of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.
C. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy provides a list of circumstances any of which is sufficient to demonstrate that the Respondent has rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name:
(i) before any notice to you of the dispute, your use of, 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) you (as an individual, business, or other organization) have been commonly known by the domain name, even if you have acquired no trademark or service mark rights; or
(iii) you are 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 at issue.
There is no evidence of the existence of any of those rights or legitimate interests. The Complainant has not authorized, licensed, or permitted the Respondent to register or use the Disputed Domain Name or to use the trademarks. The Complainant has prior rights in the trademarks which precede the Respondent’s registration of the Disputed Domain Name.
The Respondent has failed to show that it has acquired any trademark rights with respect of the Disputed Domain Name or that the Disputed Domain Name is used in connection with a bona fide offering of goods and services.
The Respondent had the opportunity to demonstrate its rights or legitimate interests, but did not do so.
As such the Panel finds that the Complainant has satisfied the second requirement of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.
D. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy provides that the Complainant must establish that the Respondent registered and subsequently used the Disputed Domain Name in bad faith.
The Disputed Domain Name was registered on November 5, 2018, while the Complainant’s AIR FRANCE Trademark Registration No. 2528461, was granted on October 7, 2003.
The Complainant’s trademarks are well known as it has been recognized by previous decisions under the Policy (See Société Air France v. Whois Privacy Corp, WIPO Case No. D2017-2143; Société Air France v. Spiral Matrix, WIPO Case No. D2005-1337; Société AIR FRANCE v. Alvaro Collazo, WIPO Case No. D2003-0417; Air France v. Kitchkulture, WIPO Case No. D2002-0158; Société Air France v. Van Wijk & Mesker Holding BV, WIPO Case No. D2002-0028).
In light of this, the Respondent had knowledge of the Complainant’s trademarks when he registered the Disputed Domain Name. The addition to the Disputed Domain Name of the term “reservation” to the well-known trademark AIR FRANCE is further evidence of bad faith since the term is related to the Complainant’s business.
Moreover, the Respondent had created a website using the Complainant’s AIR FRANCE trademark and its logo. This clearly shows that the Respondent was well aware of the Complainant’s trademark at the time he proceeded with the registration of the Disputed Domain Name, and that the Respondent registered and using the Disputed Domain Name in bad faith.
According to paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy, there is evidence of registration and use in bad faith if: “By using the domain name, you have intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to your web site 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 web site or location or of a product or service on your web site or location”.
Therefore, taking all the circumstances into account and for all the above reasons, the Panel concludes that the Respondent has registered and used the Disputed Domain Name 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 Disputed Domain Name <air-france-reservation.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Pablo A. Palazzi
Date: February 11, 2019