WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Le Cordon Bleu International B.V. v. Perfect Privacy, LLC / Carlos Ceron Miranda
Case No. D2019-0384
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Le Cordon Bleu International B.V. of Amsterdam, Netherlands, internally-represented.
The Respondent is Perfect Privacy, LLC of Jacksonville, Florida, United States of America (“United States”) / Carlos Ceron Miranda of Mexico City, Mexico.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <eventoscordonblue.com> is registered with Network Solutions, LLC (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on February 19, 2019. On February 19, 2019, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On the same date, 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 February 21, 2019 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 February 22, 2019.
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, and the proceedings commenced on February 22, 2019. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was March 14, 2019. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on March 15, 2019.
The Center appointed Miguel B. O’Farrell as the sole panelist in this matter on March 28, 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 Le Cordon Bleu International B.V. is a private company incorporated under the laws of the Netherlands, which is engaged in the culinary and hospitality education and operates in several countries. For well over a century it has been involved in the transmission and influence of the French gastronomy through its international network. It produces and sells a wide range of products such as kitchen utensils and containers, textile goods, cutlery, books and magazines, foodstuffs and clothing.
The Complainant has registered the trademarks CORDON BLEU and LE CORDON BLEU alone or as part of a device or with other words, in respect of a wide range of goods and services in several jurisdictions including México registrations Nos. 391485 and 867887, France registration no.1295951 (registered on January 15, 1985), the United Kingdom registration No. UK00003115875, the United States registration Nos. 3570080 and 2149920. The Complainant also owns International Registration No. 494541 and European Union Trade Mark Registration No. 004751178. The Complainant’s registrations for the trademarks CORDON BLEU and LE CORDON BLEU cover a range of goods and services including education in class 41 and restaurant and catering services in class 43. The earliest registrations held by the Complainant for the trademark LE CORDON BLEU date back to 1963.
The Complainant communicates through its domain names <lecordonbleu.com>, registered since October 11, 1996 and <cordonbleu.com> registered since June 28, 2001.
The Respondent registered the disputed domain name <eventoscordonblue.com> on December 18, 2018, which resolves to a website offering catering services for weddings and social events sponsored links.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant claims that the disputed domain name <eventoscordonblue.com> is confusingly similar to the trademark CORDON BLEU in which the Complainant has rights; that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, which has been registered and is used by the Respondent in bad faith.
More specifically, the Complainant asserts that the Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name and that the Complainant has not authorized the Respondent to use the trademark CORDON BLEU in connection with a website nor for any other purpose.
The Complainant indicates that it has been using its marks extensively before registration of the disputed domain name by the Respondent. The trademarks and the domain names of the Complainant have been used and marketed prior to the registration of the disputed domain name. The Complainant is operating multiple schools in México, which are known to a large public.
The principle element of the disputed domain name <eventoscordonblue.com> is the Complainant’s trade name, trademark and domain name. The Respondent did not contact the Complainant regarding authorization to use the trademark for its services.
The Respondent registered the similar disputed domain name to take advantage of the confusion between the disputed domain name <eventoscordonblue.com> and the Complainant’s trademarks (LE) CORDON BLEU for commercial gain. The Respondent has taken active steps to conceal its identity, by registering the disputed domain name under a name that is not a registered business or personal name, using a privacy shield service.
The Complainant is widely known by the name Le Cordon Bleu, and the trademarks LE CORDON BLEU and CORDON BLEU have a strong reputation in multiple countries.
Finally, the Complainant requests the Panel to order the transfer of the disputed domain name to the Complainant.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
According to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, for this Complaint to succeed in relation to the disputed domain name, the Complainant must prove each of the following, namely that:
(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 was registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel is satisfied that the Complainant has proved that it has rights to the trademarks LE CORDON BLEU and CORDON BLEU.
The standing test for confusing similarity involves a reasoned but relatively straightforward comparison between the trademark and the disputed domain name to determine whether the domain name is confusingly similar to the trademark. The test involves a side-by-side comparison of the domain name and the textual components of the relevant trademark to assess whether the mark is recognizable within the domain name. In this case the disputed domain name <eventoscordonblue.com> contains the word “cordonblue” which is almost identical to the Complainant’s trademark CORDON BLEU, only the two last letters are in a different order “UE” instead of “EU”. The addition of the descriptive word “eventos” meaning “events” clearly does not avoid a finding of confusing similarity.
For the purposes of assessing identity or confusing similarity under paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy, it is permissible for the Panel to ignore the Top-Level Domain (“TLD”) as it is viewed as a standard registration requirement (section 1.11.1 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”)).
The Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the trademark CORDON BLEU in which the Complainant has rights and that the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy therefore are fulfilled.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Although the Policy addresses ways in which a respondent may demonstrate rights or legitimate interests In a disputed domain name, it is well established, as it is put in section 2.1 of the WIPO Overview 3.0, that a complainant is required to make out a prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Once such prima facie case is made, the burden of production shifts to the respondent to come forward with appropriate allegations and evidence demonstrating rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. If the respondent does not come forward with some allegations and evidence of relevant rights or legitimate interests, the panel weighs all the evidence, with the burden of proof always remaining on the complainant.
The Complainant sustains that the Respondent has not at any time been commonly known by the disputed domain name <eventoscordonblue.com>.
There is no evidence of any trademark rights in which the Respondent may have rights that are identical with or similar to the disputed domain name <eventoscordonblue.com>.
Furthermore, there is no evidence in the present case that the Respondent has been commonly known by the disputed domain name, enabling it to establish rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Moreover, the name of the Respondent Carlos Ceron Miranda does not resemble the disputed domain name in any manner.
Likewise, it does not seem that the Respondent is making any legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name, but rather has registered it for the purpose of deriving unfair monitory advantage by confusing Internet users and leading them to believe that the site to which the disputed domain name resolves is related to the Complainant.
The Respondent has failed to even allege and much less prove any circumstances to justify any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
Therefore, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel would have expected the Complainant to produce evidence to sustain that it is widely known by the name Le Cordon Bleu, that the trademarks CORDON BLEU and LE CORDON BLEU have a strong reputation in several countries and that they have been used extensively prior to the Respondent’s registration of the disputed domain name.
However, the Panel notes previous UDRP cases decided in favor of the Complainant (see Le Cordon Bleu International B.V. v. Carla Rodrigues, WIPO Case No. D2018-1990, Le Cordon Bleu International B.V. v. Gordon Blu Spolka Z Ograniczona Odpowiedzialnoscia, WIPO Case No. D2018-1989, Le Cordon Bleu International B.V. v. Domain Admin, Contact ID 5793445, FBS Inc, Whoisprotection biz / Halime Zehra Germen, WIPO Case No. D2018-1369). The fact that there is a clear absence of rights or legitimate interests coupled with no credible explanation for the Respondent’s choice of the disputed domain name, which is found confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark, and finds these are significant factors to consider and therefore the Panel concludes that the disputed domain name was registered in bad faith (see section 3.2.1 of WIPO Overview 3.0).
Furthermore, by using the disputed domain name, the Respondent clearly has intentionally attempted to attract for commercial gain, Internet users to its website by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant and the trademark CORDON BLEU as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement. This amounts to bad faith under paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.
Therefore, the Panel finds that the Respondent has registered and is using 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 <eventoscordonblue.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Miguel B. O’Farrell
Date: April 9, 2019