WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
AB Electrolux v. LaLa Du
Case No. D2020-0518
1. The Parties
The Complainant is AB Electrolux, Sweden, represented by SILKA Law AB, Sweden.
The Respondent is LaLa Du, China.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <elecrolux.net> is registered with GoDaddy.com, LLC (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on March 3, 2020. On March 4, 2020, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On March 5, 2020, 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 March 10, 2020. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was March 30, 2020. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on April 2, 2020.
The Center appointed Andrew F. Christie as the sole panelist in this matter on April 9, 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, after 90 years of operation, is now a global leader in home and professional appliances. The ELECTROLUX brand is the Complainant’s flagship brand for kitchen and cleaning appliances for consumers and professional users. In 2018, the Complainant had sales of SEK 124 billion and about 55,000 employees.
The Complainant is the owner of registrations of trademarks containing or including the word ELECTROLUX in more than 150 countries around the world, including International Trademark Registration No. 836605 for a device trademark registered in 2004 and Chinese Trademark Registration No. 11314983 for a word trademark registered in 2014.
The Complainant has registered a number of domain names containing the term “electrolux” in generic Top-Level Domains (“gTLDs”) and country-code Top-Level Domains (“ccTLDs”), including <electrolux.com> and <electrolux.com.cn>. The Complainant uses these domain names to connect to a website through which it informs potential customers about its ELECTROLUX trademark and its products and services.
The disputed domain name was registered on March 18, 2017. The Complainant has provided an undated screenshot of the website resolving from the disputed domain name, showing it to be an adult-oriented and sexual-themed website that offers commercial products for sale.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to a trademark in which it has rights because: (i) it is an intentional misspelling of the Complainant’s well-known registered trademark ELECTROLUX, simply removing the letter “t” from the disputed domain name; and (ii) the addition of the gTLD “.net” does not add any distinctiveness to domain names.
The Complainant contends that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name because: (i) the disputed domain name incorporates a trademark which is not owned by the Respondent and therefore the Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name to offer goods or services is not a bona fide offering; (ii) the Respondent is not known by the name “Electrolux”, and the WhoIs data does not support that the Respondent might be commonly known by the disputed domain name; (iii) there is no evidence that the Respondent has trademark rights in the disputed domain name, registered or not; (iv) the disputed domain name is connected to an adult-oriented and sexually explicit website, which is not a bona fide, noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name; and (v) the only reason to use the Complainant’s trademark as a domain name is to attract customers who were not looking for an adult sex site, but were instead looking for the products or services associated with the trademark, and this tarnishes the Complainant’s reputation and goodwill and is intended to harm the Complainant’s business.
The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith because: (i) the Complainant’s trademark predates the registration of the disputed domain name; (ii) the Complainant has searched and been unable to find that the Respondent has any registered rights in the name “Electrolux” or has become known under the name “Electrolux”; (iii) the Respondent is “pornosquatting” – i.e., it is taking advantage of the Complainant’s well-known trademark to attract Internet users to a pornographic, commercial website; (iv) given the widespread reputation that the Complainant enjoys in the ELECTROLUX trademark, and that the Respondent has targeted a Chinese audience by operating the website resolving from the disputed domain name in the Chinese language, it is clear that the Respondent must have known about the Complainant at the time of registration; and (v) the Respondent bears no relationship to the Complainant’s trademark, and the disputed domain name has no other meaning except for referring to the Complainant’s name and trademark and could therefore not be used legitimately.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
Once the gTLD “.net” is ignored (which is appropriate in this case), the disputed domain name consists of the whole of the Complainant’s registered word trademark ELECTROLUX minus the letter “t”. The Complainant’s trademark, in this slightly modified form, is clearly recognizable within the disputed domain name. The omission of the letter “t” does not avoid the confusing similarity of the disputed domain name with the Complainant’s trademark. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to a trademark in which the Complainant has rights.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Respondent is not a licensee of, or otherwise affiliated with, the Complainant. The Respondent has not been authorized by the Complainant to use its ELECTROLUX trademark. The Respondent has not provided any evidence that it has been commonly known by, or has made a bona fide use of, the disputed domain name, or that it has, for any other reason, rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The evidence provided by the Complainant shows that the disputed domain name has been used to resolve to an adult-oriented, sexual-themed website, at which various products unrelated to the Complainant appear to be offered for sale. According to the present record, therefore, the disputed domain name is not being used in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services, or for a legitimate noncommercial or fair use. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The disputed domain name was registered many years after the Complainant first registered its ELECTROLUX trademark. The evidence on the record provided by the Complainant with respect to the use of its ELECTROLUX trademark, combined with the absence of any evidence provided by the Respondent to the contrary, is sufficient to satisfy the Panel that, at the time of registration of the disputed domain name, the Respondent knew of the Complainant’s trademark. Furthermore, the evidence on the record provided by the Complainant indicates that the Respondent has used the disputed domain name to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to a website by creating confusion in the minds of the public as to an association between the website and the Complainant. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the disputed 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 disputed domain name <elecrolux.net> be transferred to the Complainant.
Andrew F. Christie
Date: April 23, 2020