WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
AB Electrolux v. Abedellatif Shatila, SHATILA E-COMMERCE
Case No. D2021-1421
1. The Parties
The Complainant is AB Electrolux, Sweden, represented by SILKA AB, Sweden.
The Respondent is Abedellatif Shatila, SHATILA E-COMMERCE, Lebanon.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <electroluxapplainces.com> 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 May 7, 2021. On May 7, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On May 7, 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 May 11, 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 amendment to the Complaint on May 14, 2021.
The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amendment to 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 May 19, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was June 8, 2021. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on June 29, 2021.
The Center appointed Yuji Yamaguchi as the sole panelist in this matter on July 13, 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 Swedish joint stock company founded in 1901 and one of the world’s leading producers of appliances and equipment for kitchen and cleaning products and floor care products. The ELECTROLUX brand is the Complainant’s flagship brand for kitchen and cleaning appliances for both consumers and professional users. According to the Complainant’s annual report in 2020, the Complainant had sales of SEK 116 billion and about 48,000 employees in 2020.
The Complainant is the owner of the registered trademarks ELECTROLUX as word and figure marks in several classes in more than 150 countries all over the world.
The Complainant is the owner of a large number of domain names under the generic Top-Level Domain system (“gTLD”), consisting of the Complainant’s trademark ELECTROLUX, for instance, <electrolux.com> (created on June 1, 2006), <electrolux.org> (created on April 8, 1997), <electrolux.net> (created on April 8, 1997), <electrolux.info> (created on July 31, 2001), and <electroluxappliances.com> (created on December 31, 2000), among others.
The disputed domain name was registered on July 17, 2014 and is being used to host a site with
pay-per-click (“PPC”) content directly related to the client’s line of business and links that are directly connected to the Complainant.
5. Parties’ Contentions
First, the disputed domain name consists of the Complainant’s trademark ELECTROLUX and the closely associated term “appliances”. However, the word “appliances” are misspelled, the letter “a” and letter “i” have swopped places. This misspelling on the disputed domain name, also known as “typosquatting”, must be considered intentional by the Respondent to confuse the Internet user, whose eye and brain will automatically read the Complainant’s trademark and appliances and therefore, click on the disputed domain name by mistake. The Complainant also operates the website “www.electroluxappliances.com” which is nearly identical with the disputed domain name. The Complainant considers that this typo is not accidental, and that the Respondent has intentionally registered the “misspelled” generic term to lead the consumer/visitor to think that the disputed domain name belongs to the Complainant (or is in some way related to it). The disputed domain name should be therefore considered confusingly similar to the registered trademark ELECTROLUX in which the Complainant has rights.
Second, it is relevant to highlight that due to extensive use, advertising and revenue associated with its trademarks worldwide, the Complainant enjoys a high degree of goodwill around the world. Also, the Complainant has not found that the Respondent is commonly known by the disputed domain name and there is no evidence that the Respondent has a history of using or preparing to use it in connection with a bona fide offering of goods and services. By registering an almost identical domain name, it seems clear to the Complainant that the intention of the Respondent is to prevent the Complainant from exercising its legitimate rights over the well-known trademark ELECTROLUX in which the Complainant has prior rights. The Complainant contends that no authorization or license concerning the trademark ELECTROLUX has been granted to the Respondent, so the Respondent would have no rights nor legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Also, the Complainant confirms there is no business or legal relationship between the Complainant and the Respondent. The Respondent is known by the name SHATILA E-COMMERCE. Therefore, the Complainant is the only legitimate owner of the trademark ELECTROLUX and, as such, the Complainant is entitled to exercise its exclusive rights over the trademark ELECTROLUX and to prevent third parties from using its registered trademark. The Website hosted at the disputed domain name (displaying PPC links) supports the lack of rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.
Third, it must be noted that when the disputed domain name was registered by the Respondent (in 2014) the trademark ELECTROLUX was already registered and widely used in connection to the Complainant’s activities. The Complainant also enjoyed, already at that time, a widespread reputation worldwide. Therefore, it seems highly unlikely that the Respondent was unaware of the existence of the Complainant’s trademark ELETROLUX and therefore, it would confirm the unlawfulness of the registration of the disputed domain name. Moreover, the Respondent has been subject to several previous UDRP proceedings. In all cases, the domain names were awarded to the complainants. This shows a systematic behavior of bad faith registrations made by the Respondent. The disputed domain name resolves to a PPC website promoting the same services as the Complainant services. With respect particularly to the PPC website, the Complainant considers that the use of the disputed domain name to host parked pages consisting of PPC does not represent a bona fide offering, in particular because these links compete with the Complainant’s activity, products and services and will potentially mislead Internet users leading them to believe that the disputed domain name belongs to the Complainant. The Complainant is of the opinion that the registration of a domain name that is (almost) identical to the Complainant’s trademark (in particular domain names comprising typos), could create a presumption of bad faith.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
According to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainant must assert and prove the following three elements are present:
(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 Panel confirms that the Complainant’s trademarks ELECTROLUX have a long history of registration and are well-known worldwide. The disputed domain name consists of the Complainant’s trademark ELECTROLUX in its entirety followed by the misspelled word “applainces”, plus generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) “.com”, which is generally disregarded as a technical requirement of the domain name registration.
The word “appliances”, if spelled correctly, is the plural form of the word which is also used in the list of the Nice Classification, such as cleaning appliances and cooking appliances which are manufactured and sold by the Complainant. As previous UDRP decisions pointed out, “the ELECTROLUX trademark stands out and leads the public to think that the disputed domain name is somehow connected to the owner of the registered trademark” and “[t]he addition of the descriptive term “appliances” does not affect a finding that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s registered trademarks” (see Aktiebolaget Electrolux v. Najam Hasan, Domains By Proxy Inc., WIPO Case No. D2008-0833 (<electrolux-appliances.com>); and see also Aktiebolaget Electrolux v. Mister Manager, WIPO Case No. D2008-0823 (<electrolux-appliance.com>)), even if the trademark and the additional word are not separated by a hyphen.
For the foregoing reasons, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademarks ELECTROLUX.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Respondent has not submitted any response or evidence in this case. There is no evidence to show that the Respondent is commonly known by the disputed domain name and has a history of using or preparing to use it in connection with a bona fide offering of goods and services.
The Complainant also has not granted the Respondent any authorization or license concerning the trademark ELECTROLUX.
The Panel finds that the Complainant has established a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name that has not been rebutted by the Respondent.
The Panel concludes that the Complainant has established that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
In consideration of the Complainant’s international brand awareness, the Panel finds that the Respondent must have been aware of the existence of the Complainant’s trademarks ELETROLUX and the possible harm to the Complainant’s reputation by registering and using the disputed domain name that is almost identical to the domain name <electroluxappliances.com>, under which the Complainant operates its website. The confusion by the minor transposition of the letters “a” and “i” is inevitable (see Associated Banc Corp v. jo y. g., WIPO Case No. D2007-0248 (<assocaitedbank.com>)), and thus the disputed domain name was intentionally registered and is being used by the Respondent in bad faith. Noting that the Complainant operates the website under the domain name <electroluxappliances.com> for the Complainant’s customers and product owners, the disputed domain name, which is presumably generated by typosquatting, is highly likely to confuse Internet users including the Complainant’s customers and product owners.
The disputed domain name resolves to a parked page consisting of PPC links which lead Internet users to the websites of the Complainant’s competitors. In addition, according to the recent UDRP decision, the Respondent’s another website <eletrolux.com> was redirected to the disputed domain name at the filing of the complaint on May 7, 2021 (as same as this case). Such “redirection to a parked page comprising click-through advertisements” also “supports a determination that the Respondent has engaged in bad faith” (see AB Electrolux v. Whois Agent, Domain Protection Service Inc. / Abedellatif Shatila, WIPO Case No. D2021-1423).
Accordingly, the Panel concludes that the Complainant has shown that the disputed domain name was 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 <electroluxapplainces.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: July 27, 2021