WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
NOVOMATIC AG v. Sun Shidi (孙仕迪)
Case No. D2021-0143
1. The Parties
The Complainant is NOVOMATIC AG, Austria, represented by GEISTWERT Kletzer Messner Mosing Schnider Schultes Rechtsanwälte OG, Austria.
The Respondent is Sun Shidi (孙仕迪), China.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <book-ofra.com> is registered with Hongkong Domain Name Information Management Co., Limited (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed in English with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) in English on January 19, 2021. On January 19, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On January 25, 2021, 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 January 25, 2021 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 in English on January 26, 2021.
On January 25, 2021, the Center transmitted an email in English and Chinese to the Parties regarding the language of the proceeding. The Complainant confirmed its request that English be the language of the proceeding on January 26, 2021. The Respondent did not comment on the language of the proceeding.
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 in English and Chinese, and the proceeding commenced on February 3, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was February 23, 2021. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on March 4, 2021.
The Center appointed Sebastian M.W. Hughes as the sole panelist in this matter on March 17, 2021. 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 Austria in 1990 and is one of the largest high-tech gaming technology companies worldwide, providing online gaming, video lottery, and sports betting services under the trade mark BOOK OF RA (the “Trade Mark”). The Complainant is the owner of, amongst other registrations, European Union registration No. 4451431 for the Trade Mark, with a registration date of May 24, 2006.
The Respondent is apparently an individual resident in China.
C. The Disputed Domain Name
The disputed domain name was registered on January 4, 2021.
D. Use of the Disputed Domain Name
The disputed domain name resolves to a Chinese language website providing gambling related services (the “Website”).
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the Trade Mark; the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
6.1. Language of the Proceeding
The language of the Registration Agreement for the disputed domain name is Chinese. Pursuant to the Rules, paragraph 11(a), in the absence of an agreement between the Parties, or unless specified otherwise in the Registration Agreement, the language of the administrative proceeding shall be the language of the Registration Agreement.
Paragraph 11(a) of the Rules allows the Panel to determine the language of the proceeding having regard to all the circumstances. In particular, it is established practice to take paragraphs 10(b) and (c) of the Rules into consideration for the purpose of determining the language of the proceeding, in order to ensure fairness to the Parties and the maintenance of an inexpensive and expeditious avenue for resolving domain name disputes. Language requirements should not lead to undue burdens being placed on the Parties and undue delay to the proceeding.
The Complainant requested that the language of the proceeding be English. The Panel would have accepted a response in Chinese, but the Respondent did not file a response and did not file any submissions with respect to the language of the proceeding.
In exercising its discretion to use a language other than that of the Registration Agreement, the Panel has to exercise such discretion judicially in the spirit of fairness and justice to both Parties, taking into account all relevant circumstances of the case, including matters such as the Parties’ ability to understand and use the proposed language, time and costs.
The Panel notes that there is no evidence to support the conclusion that the Respondent is not conversant in English, that the Respondent has chosen not to contest this proceeding, and that all of the Center’s communications with the Parties have been sent in English and Chinese.
The Panel is also mindful of the need to ensure the proceeding is conducted in a timely and cost effective manner.
In all the circumstances, the Panel therefore finds it is not foreseeable that the Respondent would be prejudiced, should English be adopted as the language of the proceeding.
Having considered all the matters above, the Panel determines under paragraph 11(a) of the Rules that the language of the proceeding shall be English.
6.2. Substantive Elements of the Policy
The Complainant must prove each of the three elements in paragraph 4(a) of the Policy in order to prevail.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel finds that the Complainant has rights in the Trade Mark acquired through use and registration.
Disregarding the hyphen and the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.com”, the disputed domain name is identical to the Trade Mark. The Panel therefore finds that the disputed domain name is identical to the Trade Mark.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy provides a list of non-exhaustive circumstances any of which is sufficient to demonstrate that a respondent has rights or legitimate interests in a disputed domain name:
(i) before any notice to the respondent of the dispute, the respondent’s use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the disputed domain name or a name corresponding to the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; or
(ii) the respondent (as an individual, business, or other organization) has been commonly known by the disputed domain name even if the respondent has acquired no trade mark or service mark rights; or
(iii) the respondent is making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trade mark or service mark at issue.
The Complainant has not authorised, licensed, or permitted the Respondent to register or use the disputed domain name or to use the Trade Mark. The Panel finds on the record that there is therefore a prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, and the burden is thus on the Respondent to produce evidence to rebut this presumption.
The Respondent has failed to show that he has acquired any trade mark rights in respect of the disputed domain name or that the disputed domain name has been used in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. To the contrary, the disputed domain name is being used in respect of the Website, for commercial gain.
There has been no evidence adduced to show that the Respondent has been commonly known by the disputed domain name; and there has been no evidence adduced to show that the Respondent is making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name.
The Panel finds that the Respondent has failed to produce any evidence to rebut the Complainant’s prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Panel therefore finds that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Given the notoriety of the Complainant and of its Trade Mark in the gaming field; the distinctiveness of the Trade Mark; the fact the Trade Mark has no meaning in the Chinese language; the fact the disputed domain name is identical to the Trade Mark; the lack of any substantiated credible explanation from the Respondent; and the use of the disputed domain name, for commercial gain, in respect of the Website, the Panel finds, in all the circumstances, that the requisite element of bad faith has been made out. The Panel considers it is inconceivable the Respondent was not aware of the Complainant’s Trade Mark at the time he registered the disputed domain name.
For all the foregoing reasons, the Panel concludes 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 <book-ofra.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Sebastian M.W. Hughes
Dated: March 31, 2021