WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Belmond Limited v. Syed Hussain, IBN7 Media Group
Case No. D2019-0120
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Belmond Limited of London, United Kingdom, represented by CSC Digital Brand Services AB, Sweden.
The Respondent is Syed Hussain, IBN7 Media Group of Closter, New York, United States of America.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The Disputed Domain Name <lvmhbelmond.com> is registered with Name.com, Inc. (Name.com LLC) (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on January 21, 2019. On January 21, 2019, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Disputed Domain Name. On January 21, 2019, 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 January 23, 2019. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was February 12, 2019. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on February 14, 2019.
The Center appointed Pablo A. Palazzi as the sole panelist in this matter on February 21, 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 a hotel company and travel operator delivering luxury experiences around the world.
The Complainant’s properties includes hotels like, like Hotel Cipriani in Venice, Hotel Splendido in Portofino, Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire, Grand Hotel Europe in St. Petersburg, Maroma Resort & Spa in Mexico, Hotel das Cataratas in the Iguassu National Park in Brazil, and Cap Juluca in Anguilla.
Belmond Interfin Ltd., a subsidiary of Belmond Ltd the Complainant is the owner of, inter alia; the following trademarks registrations:
- United States Trademark BELMOND Registration No. 4832479, registered on October 10, 2015;
- European Union Trademark BELMOND Registration No. 012293411, registered on November 8,2014; and
- International Trademark BELMOND Registration No. 1386978, registered on October 23, 2017.
Moreover, the Complainant’s interacts with its customers through its primary domain name <belmond.com>.
The Disputed Domain Name <lvmhbelmond.com> was registered on December 14, 2018.
The Disputed Domain Name redirects to various random third party websites.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant’s contentions can be summarized as follows:
Identical or confusingly similar
The Complainant alleges that the Disputed Domain Name captures and combines the Complainant’s BELMOND trademark and the trademark LVMH, registered by LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Societe Anonyme (“LVMH Moet”), in its entirety.
Rights or legitimate interests
The Complainant submits that the Respondent is not sponsored by or affiliated with the Complainant in any way.
In addition, the Complainant states that is has not given the Respondent permission to use its trademarks in any manner, including in domain names.
Moreover, the Respondent is not commonly known by the Disputed Domain Name.
The Complainant alleges that it has not licensed, authorizes or permitted the Respondent to register domain names incorporating the Complainant’s trademark.
The Complainant alleges that the Respondent is using the Disputed Domain Name as an aggregator website, which first resolved to a blank page and then redirects Internet users to random third party websites.
Moreover, the Complainant states that the Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests.
Finally, the Complainant submits that the third party websites to which the Disputed Domain Name redirects, likely request Internet users to provide personal information to sign up for surveys, or download unverified programs files.
Registration and use in bad faith
The Complainant alleges that its trademarks are known internationally and it has been using them since 2014, which is well before the Respondent registered the Disputed the Disputed Domain Name.
In addition, the Disputed Domain Name also includes another famous trademark LVMH, which owns luxury brands such as Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton and Fendi. Thus, the Respondent should be considered to have known of the existence of the, Complainant’s trademarks.
What is more, the Respondent’s registration of the Disputed Domain Name on the same day when it was announced that LVMH Moet has bought over the Complainant’s company, constitutes opportunist bad faith registration.
Finally, the Complainant states that the Respondent created a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s and its trademarks by registering a domain that consists of two well-known trademarks, in their entirety. Thus, the Respondent is using the Disputed Domain Name to confuse unsuspecting 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;
(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. Identical or Confusingly Similar
Based on the evidence submitted, the Panel finds that the Disputed Domain Name is confusingly similar to the trademark BELMOND in which the Complainant has rights for purposes of the Policy. The Disputed Domain Name wholly incorporates the BELMOND trademark and is clearly recognizable in it.
Furthermore, the Disputed Domain Name also contains the trademark LVMH owned by LVMH Moet, which has recently bought over the Complainant’s company. This addition does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity. Even in cases where the disputed domain names contain the addition of third-party marks, this does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity. See section 1.12 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Jurisprudential Overview 3.0”).
Therefore, the Panel concludes that the Complainant has satisfied the first requirement of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.
B. 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, or demonstrable preparations to use, the Disputed 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 Disputed 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 Disputed 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 trademark in the Disputed Domain Name. The Complainant has prior rights in the trademark, which precede the Respondent’s registration of the Disputed Domain Name. In addition, the Respondent is not commonly known by the Disputed Domain Name.
The Respondent has failed to show that it has acquired any rights with respect to the Disputed Domain Name. Moreover, it had the opportunity to demonstrate its rights or legitimate interests, but it did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
As such the Panel finds that the Complainant has satisfied the second requirement of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.
C. 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 fact the Disputed Domain Name fully incorporates the Complainant’s trademark is clear evidence that the Respondent was well aware of the Complainant’s trademark at the time of the registration of the Disputed Domain Name. In addition, the Disputed Domain Name also contains the trademark LVMH, which belongs to a company that has recently bought the Complainant’s company. Thus, Internet users would assume that the Disputed Domain Name had been registered by the Complainant or an affiliate of the Complainant to show the merger of the two companies.
The Panel is of the view that the Respondent has created a website to attract Internet users, most likely for commercial gain, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the BELMOND trademark, since users navigating to the Disputed Domain Name are redirected to random third party websites. Thereby, the Disputed Domain Name is being used to direct web traffic with the intention to generate profit for the Respondent by use of advertising links and /or to disrupt the Complainant’s business. As such, the Disputed Domain Name is being used in bad faith.
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, <lvmhbelmond.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Pablo A. Palazzi
Date: March 7, 2019