WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
StudioCanal v. Sophia Bell
Case No. D2020-0619
1. The Parties
The Complainant is StudioCanal, France, internally represented.
The Respondent is Sophia Bell, United States of America (“United States”).
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <studiocanalcollection.com> (“Disputed Domain Name”) 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 12, 2020. On March 12, 2020, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Disputed Domain Name. On March 13, 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 20, 2020. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was April 9, 2020. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on April 14, 2020.
The Center appointed Pablo A. Palazzi as the sole panelist in this matter on April 22, 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 is a company dedicated to the production and distribution of movies.
In addition, the Complainant is a leader in Europe, for producing, distributing, and selling movies and television series.
The Complainant is the owner of various trademarks with the term STUDIOCANAL COLLECTION, including among others:
- French trademark, STUDIOCANAL COLLECTION, Registration No. 3657963, dated on June 17, 2009;
- International trademark, STUDIOCANAL COLLECTION, Registration No. 1030346, registered on December 11, 2009.
The Disputed Domain Name <studiocanalcollection.com> was created on October 9, 2017.1 The Disputed Domain Name resolves to an essay writing blog.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant’s contentions can be summarized as follows:
Identical or confusingly similar
The Complainant states that the Dispute Domain Name <studiocanalcollection.com> is confusingly similar or identical to the Complainant’s trademark with the only adjunction of the “.com” extension.
Thus, the Disputed Domain Name creates a severe confusion with the Complainant’s trademark.
Rights or legitimate interests
The Complainant contends that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name. Since the Complainant has not conferred any authorization to use, under any form, the Complainant’s trademark or to register and use the Disputed Domain Name.
Consequently, the Respondent cannot claim, in good faith, to have any legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name.
Registration and use in bad faith.
The Complainant alleges that the Respondent has no affiliation with the Complainant or its trademarks.
The Complainant further states that the registration of a domain name that is confusingly similar or identical to a famous trademark is itself sufficient evidence of bad faith registration and use.
Thus, the registration and use of the Disputed Domain Name is in bad faith.
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 at issue 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 <studiocanalcollection.com> is identical to the Complainant’s trademark STUDIOCANAL COLLECTION. The Disputed Domain Name wholly incorporates the Complainant’s trademark as its only distinctive element.
Therefore, the Panel finds 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 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 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 domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark 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 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, the Respondent had the opportunity to demonstrate its rights or legitimate interests, but it did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
In addition, the Panel notes that the nature of the Disputed Domain Name carries a high risk of implied affiliation with the Complainant’s trademark.
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 Respondent was well aware of the Complainant’s prior rights and business, since the Disputed Domain Name was created on October 9, 2017, while the Complainant had the registration of its trademarks since 2009. Thus, it is very likely that the Respondent could have been aware of the Complainant’s trademark and business when it acquired the Disputed Domain Name.
The Respondent has not denied these assertions because of its default. The Panel is of the view that the Respondent knew of the Complainant’s trademark and prior rights.
Paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy states: “by using the domain name, you have intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to your web site or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of your web site or location or of a product or service on your web site or location”.
In the case at hand, in view of the Respondent’s registration of a domain name identical to the Complainant’s trademark (wholly incorporating the trademark into the disputed domain name), used for an essay writing blog with a contact form where users can place orders for certain services related to writing essays (as announced in the Terms & Conditions of the website), the absence of any documented rights or legitimate interests of the Respondent in the Disputed Domain Name and its failure to respond to the Complaint, constitutes bad faith.
Due to this conduct, it is obvious that the Respondent intentionally created likelihood confusion with the Complainant’s trademark and websites in order to attract Internets users for its own commercial gain, as required by paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.
Therefore, taking all circumstances into account and for all the above reasons, the Panel concludes that there is bad faith in the registration and use of the Disputed Domain Name.
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 <studiocanalcollection.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Pablo A. Palazzi
Date: May 6, 2020
1 The Panel notes that the Respondent must have acquired the Disputed Domain Name later noting that the Disputed Domain Name was the subject of a previous proceeding against a different respondent resulting in the transfer of the Disputed Domain Name (see StudioCanal v. Registration Private, Domains By Proxy, LLC / Sudjam Admin, Sudjam LLC, WIPO Case No. D2018-0497).