WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Parfümerie Douglas GmbH v. WhoisGuard, Inc. / Gheorghe Vasilescu
Case No. D2020-1003
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Parfümerie Douglas GmbH, Germany, represented by Cabinet Marilena Comanescu, Romania.
The Respondent is WhoisGuard, Inc., Panama / Gheorghe Vasilescu, Romania.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <douglassparfums.info> is registered with NameCheap, Inc. (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on April 23, 2020. On April 24, 2020, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On April 24, 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 April 27, 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 April 27, 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 April 28, 2020. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was May 18, 2020. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on May 19, 2020.
The Center appointed Fabrizio Bedarida as the sole panelist in this matter on May 20, 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 in this administrative proceeding is Parfümerie Douglas GmbH, an internationally operating perfumery chain with a history dating back to 1821 when the Scottish immigrant John Sharp Douglas opened a soap manufactory in Hamburg. Currently the Complainant has more than 2,400 perfumeries under the DOUGLAS trademark in 26 countries worldwide, about 20,000 employees and a turnover of roughly 3.5 billion EUR (fiscal year 2018/19).
The Complainant has proven to have rights in the DOUGLAS trademarks, which enjoy protection through several registrations.
The Complainant has rights, inter alia, in the following trademarks:
- European Union Trademark Registration no. 000104307 for the word DOUGLAS filed on April 1, 1996, and registered on May 6, 1998, for goods in international class 34;
- European Union Trademark no. 002698231 for the word mark PERFUMERY DOUGLAS filed on May 15, 2002, registered on September 23, 2003, for goods and services in international classes 3, 8, 9, 14, 18, 21, 24, 25, 41, and 44; and
- European Union Trademark no. 004182671 for the word DOUGLAS filed on December 9, 2004, registered on March 2, 2006, for goods and services in international classes 35, 36, 38, 41, 43. and 44.
Furthermore, the Complainant’s retail stores can be found online through its own websites at, inter alia, “www.douglas.de” (the main website), “www.douglas.ro”, “www.douglas.it”, “www.douglas.es”, “www.douglas.nl”, “www.douglas.cz”, and “www.douglas.eu”.
The disputed domain name <douglassparfums.info> (at the time the complaint was filed) was linked to an online shop at “www.douglassparfums.store”, apparently selling and offering luxury perfumery goods. The contents of this website is in Romanian and the home page displays a banner with a “Douglass Parfums” sign. Currently, it appears that the disputed domain name is not linked to any active website.
The disputed domain name was registered on January 17, 2020.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant claims that:
The Complainant claims that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s registered trademark; that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests whatsoever with respect to the disputed domain name; and that the Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
In order for the Complainant to obtain a transfer of the disputed domain name, paragraph 4(a) of the Policy requires that the Complainant must demonstrate to the Panel that:
(i) the disputed 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 disputed domain name; and
(iii) the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has established rights in the DOUGLAS and PERFUMERY DOUGLAS trademarks.
The disputed domain name reproduces the DOUGLAS trademark in its entirety, in addition to the non‑distinctive and descriptive word “parfums” and the letter “s” added in between such word and the Complainant’s mark.
Pursuant to section 1.8 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”) which states: “Where the relevant trademark is recognizable within the disputed domain name, the addition of other terms (whether descriptive, geographical, pejorative, meaningless, or otherwise) would not prevent a finding of confusing similarity under the first element. The nature of such additional term(s) may however bear on assessment of the second and third elements.”
Therefore, the Panel finds the disputed domain name to be confusingly similar to the DOUGLAS trademark in which the Complainant has rights.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Complainant has satisfied paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.-
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
This Panel finds that the Complainant has made a prima facie case that the Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Respondent does not appear to be commonly known by the name “Douglass Parfumery” or by any similar name. The Respondent has no connection or affiliation with the Complainant, and the Complainant has not licensed or otherwise authorized the Respondent to use or register any domain name incorporating the Complainant’s trademark. The Respondent does not appear to make any legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name, nor any use in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. Finally, the Respondent has not replied to the Complainant’s contentions, claiming any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
The Panel finds that the Complainant has satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel, on the basis of the evidence presented, accepts and agrees with the Complainant’s contentions that the disputed domain name was registered in bad faith and that it has been used in bad faith.
Indeed, the Complainant gives several sound bases for its contention that the disputed domain name was registered and has been used in bad faith.
The Panel finds that the Respondent was presumably aware of the DOUGLAS trademark and of the existence of the Complainant and its activity.
In fact, the website linked to the disputed domain name is (or at least was at the time the Complaint was filed) prominently displaying on the top of the home page the DOUGLAS trademark (though slightly modified, i.e. DOUGLASS) and at the bottom of the page there was a note stating “Copyright © 2020 DougassParfums.info – All rights reserved (Romanian language: Toate drepturile rezervate)”. Here, the Respondent reproduced the Complainant’s DOUGLAS mark, with an additional misspelling, the omission of the letter “l”.
Furthermore, this Panel finds the use of the additional word “parfums” in the disputed domain name further affirms the Respondent’s knowledge of the Complainant’s trademark because the Complainant holds trademark rights for the mark PERFUMERY DOUGLAS and its company name is Parfümerie Douglas GmbH and, thus, the Complainant is using the words “perfumery” and ”parfumerie” to indicate its sector of activity.
This Panel believes that, on the balance of probabilities, the above shows that the choice of the disputed domain name cannot be a coincidence, and thus indicates the Respondent’s knowledge of the Complainant’s trademark and activity when registering the disputed domain name.
The Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name to resolve to a website copying the look and feel of the Complainant’s official websites all over the world, particularly in Europe and Romania, and offering allegedly competing products is also inference of bad faith use pursuant to the Policy.
Further inference of bad faith registration and use of the disputed domain name is given by the fact that the Respondent deliberately chose to conceal its identity by means of a privacy protection service. It also appears that the Respondent’s postal address is, at the least, incorrect. While the use of a privacy service does not in and of itself constitute bad faith under the Policy, the manner in which such service is used in the present case is deemed to contribute to a finding of bad faith.
Finally, it is relevant to note that, if the Respondent did have legitimate purposes in registering and using the disputed domain name, it could have responded to the allegations made by the Complainant in this proceeding and chose not to do so.
Accordingly, the Panel finds, on the basis of the evidence presented, that the Respondent 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 <douglassparfums.info> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: June 3, 2020