WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Volvo Trademark Holding AB v. Nicholas Johnson
Case No. D2019-1558
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Volvo Trademark Holding AB, Sweden, represented by Anand & Anand, India.
The Respondent is Nicholas Johnson, United States of America (“United States”).
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <jbgvolvobus.com> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with NameSilo, LLC (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on July 3, 2019. On July 5, 2019, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On July 5, 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 July 12, 2019. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was August 1, 2019. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on August 6, 2019.
The Center appointed Ian Lowe as the sole panelist in this matter on August 16, 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 company incorporated in Sweden charged with owning and protecting the intellectual property rights of the Volvo Group of companies (“Volvo”). Volvo is an internationally renowned manufacturer of cars, buses, trucks and construction equipment providing a wide range of ancillary products and services. It was established in 1915 and has carried on business under that name since that date. Volvo employs some 115,000 people worldwide.
The Complainant is the proprietor of numerous registered trademarks around the world in respect of VOLVO including India trademark number 763288 VOLVO registered on June 20, 1997; United States trademark number 1,220,779 VOLVO registered on December 21, 1982; and United Kingdom trademark number 747362 registered on October 26, 1955. The Complainant and Volvo operate a number of websites promoting their goods and services including “www.volvo.com” whose domain name was registered in 1995.
The Domain Name was registered by the Respondent on June 1, 2018. It resolves to a website purporting to offer a wide range of CATERPILLAR branded products, including shoes, boots and socks, at heavily discounted prices. The Domain Name was previously the subject of court proceedings in the High Court of Delhi, India brought by Volvo against J.B.G. Volvo Bus Pvt Ltd (the “Delhi Litigation”). They were finally resolved in favour of Volvo by a court order dated April 26, 2018 recording permanent undertakings by the defendant not to use the VOLVO trademark.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to its VOLVO trademark, 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.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has uncontested rights in the VOLVO trademark (the “Mark”), both by virtue of its trademark registrations and as a result of the goodwill and reputation acquired through the use of the Mark by the Complainant and Volvo over very many years. Ignoring the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.com”, the Domain Name comprises the entirety of the Mark, together with the letters “jbg” and the addition of the word “bus”. In the view of the Panel, the addition of these terms does not detract from the confusing similarity between the Domain Name and the Mark. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to a trademark in which the Complainant has rights.
B. 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 Panel notes that the Respondent registered the Domain Name just five weeks after the final order in the Delhi Litigation. The Respondent has used the Domain Name not in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services, but for a website purporting to offer a wide range of CATERPILLAR branded products for sale (the “Website”). 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.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
In light of the nature of the Domain Name, including the entirety of the VOLVO mark and the word “bus” identifying one of the leading products of the Complainant, 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 Website offers a range of third party products for sale. The Panel accordingly considers that the Respondent has registered and used the Domain Name with a view to confusing Internet users into believing that the Website was associated with or authorised by the Complainant.
In the Panel’s view, the use of domain names for such activity, clearly with a view to commercial gain, amounts to paradigm bad faith registration and use for the purposes of the Policy, paragraph 4(b)(iv).
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 <jbgvolvobus.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: August 26, 2019