WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Carrefour v. Perfect Privacy, LLC / Milen Radumilo
Case No. D2020-0409
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Carrefour, France, represented by Dreyfus & associés, France.
The Respondent is Perfect Privacy, LLC, United States of America (“United States”) / Milen Radumilo, Romania.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <carefouruae.com> is registered with NamePal.com, LLC (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on February 20, 2020. On February 20, 2020, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On February 20, 2020, 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 24, 2020 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 28, 2020.
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 March 2, 2020. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was March 22, 2020. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on March 24, 2020.
The Center appointed Petter Rindforth as the sole panelist in this matter on March 26, 2020. 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, founded in 1959, is an international food retail company, based in France.
The Complainant owns the trademark CARREFOUR, and refers to the following trademark registrations:
- United Arab Emirates Trademark No. 030547 CARREFOUR (word), registered on January 20, 2002 for goods in class 9;
- United Arab Emirates Trademark No. 096948 CARREFOUR (word), registered on September 28, 2009 for goods in class 3; and
- International trademark No. 1010661 CARREFOUR (word), registered on April 16, 2009 for services in class 35.
The Complainant also generally claims to own numerous CARREFOUR trademark registrations around the world.
The disputed domain name <carefouruae.com> was registered in the name of the Respondent on November 5, 2019, and resolves to a parking page containing sponsored links.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant is a global leader in food retail with its headquarters in France, and has acquired considerable goodwill and renown worldwide, in connection with a wide range of services, including supermarkets and banking and insurance services. The Complainant operates more than 12,000 stores and ecommerce sites in more than 30 countries, employs more than 360,000 people worldwide and generated 84.91 billion EUR sales including VAT in 2018. The Complainant operates in three major markets: Europe, Latin America, and Asia.
The Complainant’s trademark CARREFOUR has been considered to be well-known or famous by numerous previous UDRP panels.
The Complainant was launched in United Arab Emirates in 1995, and operates a website at “www.carrefouruae.com”, dedicated to the United Arab Emirates market.
The disputed domain name <carefouruae.com> imitates the Complainant’s trademark CARREFOUR by the deletion of one of the two “r” in said trademark. Additionally, the presence of the letters “uae”, which compose the acronym for the United Arab Emirates, is insufficient to avoid confusing similarity.
The disputed domain name redirects towards a parking page featuring various sponsored links, some of which target the Complainant’s field of activity (for instance “Buy Groceries” and “List of Retail Stores”). Also, the parking page contains a link indicating that the disputed domain name is for sale.
Furthermore, investigations made by the Complainant revealed that an email server has been configured on the disputed domain name. As such, there might be a risk of phishing.
Before starting the present proceeding, the Complainant made some efforts to resolve this matter amicably, including sending a cease-and-desist letter to the Registrant requesting him to transfer the disputed domain name free of charge. No reply was obtained from the Registrant, despite several reminders.
The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name. The Respondent is neither affiliated with the Complainant in any way nor has it been authorized by the Complainant to use and register its trademark, or to seek registration of any domain name incorporating said trademark. The Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name. A legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name cannot be inferred due to the Respondent’s clear intention for commercial gain.
The domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith. It is implausible that the Respondent was unaware of the Complainant when he registered the disputed domain name, as the Complainant is well-known throughout the world, and the composition of the disputed domain name clearly demonstrate that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name based on the attractiveness of the Complainant’ trademark to divert internet traffic to its website.
The Complainant requests that the Panel issue a decision that the disputed domain name be transferred 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, a complainant must prove each of the following:
(i) that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights; and
(ii) that the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and
(iii) that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant is the owner of the CARREFOUR trademark, registered in a number of countries around the world, including United Arab Emirates.
The relevant part of the disputed domain name is “carefouruae”, as it is well established in previous UDRP decisions that the added generic Top-Level Domain – being a required element of every domain name – may be irrelevant when assessing whether or nota domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark.
The Panel notes that the disputed domain name consists of the Complainant’s trademark CARREFOUR, spelled with only one letter “r” instead of two, followed by the letters “u”, “a”, and “e”. As stated by the Complainant, the letter combination “uae”, the International Organization for Standardization 3-letter country code for the United Arab Emirates, does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity. See WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), section 1.8. Furthermore, the slight misspelling of the trademark CARREFOUR in the disputed domain name does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity. See WIPO Overview 3.0, section 1.9.
The Panel therefore concludes that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark CARREFOUR and thus, the Complainant has satisfied the first element of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Once a complainant establishes a prima facie case of the second element of the Policy, the burden of production shifts to the respondent to come forward with appropriate allegations or evidence demonstrating that it does have rights or legitimate interests pursuant to paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy. See WIPO Overview 3.0, section 2.1.
By not submitting a Response, the Respondent failed to invoke any circumstance which could demonstrate, pursuant to paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name or to rebut the Complainant’s prima facie case that it lacks rights or legitimate interests.
The Respondent has no rights to use the Complainant’s trademark and is not an authorized agent or licensee of the Complainant’s products, services or trademarks. There is nothing in the Respondent’s name that indicates it may have become commonly known by the disputed domain name, enabling it to establish a legitimate interest in the disputed domain name, nor any evidence in the present record to indicate that the Respondent is making any legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name.
On the contrary – the Panel finds that the Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name for a website with sponsored links to competitors of the Complainant is an obvious attempt to mislead customers seeking the Complainant’s services and website and to earn click-through revenue. Such use does not establish rights or legitimate interests. See Fluor Corporation v. Above.com Domain Privacy / Huanglitech, Domain Admin, WIPO Case No. D2010-0583 (noting that it is “well established” that the use of a domain name to trade off Complainant’s trademark is not bona fide and “cannot confer any rights or legitimate interests” upon a respondent); see also CIMB Group Sdn. Bhd., CIMB-Principal Asset Management Berhad v. PrivacyProtect.org / Cyber Domain Services Pvt.Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2010-1680(registration of a domain name “for the purpose of misleading or diverting consumers” cannotgive to rise rights or legitimate interests).
Apart from such use, the disputed domain name is also offered for sale to the Complainant and/or to other interested parties, for an amount that is likely in excess of the Respondent’s out-of-pocket expenses directly related to the disputed domain name. Such use does not establish rights or legitimate interests.
The Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
As concluded above, the Complainant’s trademark CARREFOUR is well protected and well known in a number of countries and regions around the world. As the Complainant also has established rights and business activities in the United Arab Emirates, marketing themselves via the website connected to <carrefouruae.com>, it is clear to this Panel that the Respondent had the Complainant’s trademark in mind when the Respondent registered the disputed domain name.
Registration of a trademark by a party with no connection to the owner of the trademark and no authorization and no apparent legitimate purpose to use the trademark is a strong indication of bad faith. See Société pour l’Oeuvre et la Mémoire d’Antoine de Saint Exupéry - Succession Saint Exupéry - D’Agay v. Perlegos Properties, WIPO Case No. D2005-1085.
The disputed domain name is used for a website with sponsored links to competitors of the Complainant. In the absence of any response from the Respondent, this Panel cannot draw any other conclusion than the one that the Respondent has tried to create an illusion of commercial relationship with, or endorsement from, the Complainant, thus enabling the Respondent to earn revenues by attracting users to its website. See Popular Enterprises, LLC v. American Consumers First et al., WIPO Case No. D2003-0742 (using confusingly similar domain names to redirect Internet users away from a complainant’s website is evidence of bad faith); see also Swarovski Aktiengesellschaft v. Chen Meifeng, WIPO Case No. D2011-0364(“the incorporation of Complainant’s trademark in the disputed domain name combined with the content featured on the domain name exhibits intent to deceive consumers into believing that the domain name is somehow associated with, affiliated with, and/or endorsed by the Complainant. Continued use of the domain name in this manner contributes to a risk of consumers mistakenly believing that the products featured are offered, sponsored, endorsed, or otherwise approved by Complainant, thereby diverting web traffic from Complainant’s […] domain names”).
Thus, the Panel concludes that the disputed domain name was registered and used in bad faith, and that the Complainant has succeeded in proving the three elements within paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.
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 <carefouruae.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: April 8, 2020