WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Lidl Stiftung & Co. KG v. Withheld for Privacy Purposes, Privacy service provided by Withheld for Privacy ehf / christie made
Case No. D2021-2227
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Lidl Stiftung & Co. KG, Germany, represented by HK2 Rechtsanwälte, Germany.
The Respondent is Withheld for Privacy Purposes, Privacy service provided by Withheld for Privacy ehf, Iceland / christie made, Germany.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <lidl-family.com> is registered with NameCheap, Inc. (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on July 9, 2021. On July 9, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On July 9, 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 July 28, 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 August 2, 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 August 26, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was September 15, 2021. The Center received an informal communication from the Respondent dated September 8, 2021. Subsequently, the Center sent a Possible Settlement communication on the same date. On September 13, 2021, the Complainant requested the suspension of proceedings in order to explore settlement options with the Respondent. On September 28, 2021, the Complainant requested the reinstitution of proceedings. On September 29, 2021, the proceeding was reinstituted and the Response due date was October 4, 2021. The Respondent did not formally reply to the Complaint. Pursuant to paragraph 6 of the Rules, on October 6, 2021, the Center informed the Parties that it would proceed with the panel appointment process.
The Center appointed Kaya Köklü as the sole panelist in this matter on November 4, 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 with its registered seat in Germany, which belongs to the Lidl-Group, an internationally active supermarket chain.
The Complainant is the owner of the LIDL trademark. Among others, the Complainant owns the German Trademark Registration No. 2006134, registered on November 11, 1991, and the International Trademark Registration No. 748064, registered on July 26, 2000, both covering trademark protection for a large number of goods and services (Annex 5 to the Complaint).
The Complainant further owns and operates various domain names since many years, like <lidl.com> and <lidl.de>.
The Respondent is an individual from Germany based on the WhoIs information disclosed by the Registrar.
The screenshots, as provided by the Complainant (Annex 6 to the Complaint), show that the disputed domain name was associated to a website prominently featuring the Complainant’s word and figurative LIDL trademarks and creating the (false) impression that the Complainant is launching a contest in which participants could supposedly win an e-scooter.
At the time of the decision, the disputed domain name no longer resolves to an active website.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant requests the transfer of the disputed domain name.
The Complainant is of the opinion that the disputed domain name is confusing similar to its LIDL trademark.
Furthermore, the Complainant argues that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.
Finally, the Complainant argues that the Respondent has registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith.
The Respondent did not substantively respond to the Complainant’s contentions. Instead, the Respondent literally wrote in its short email communication to the Center on September 8, 2021: “please transfer it [nb: the disputed domain name] anywhere you like and sorry for inconvenience”.
6. Discussion and Findings
According to paragraph 15(a) of the Rules, the Panel shall decide the Complaint in accordance with the Policy, the Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable.
In accordance with paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainant must prove that each of the three following elements is satisfied:
(i) the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark 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.
For the evaluation of this case, the Panel has taken note of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”) and, where appropriate, will decide consistent with the consensus views stated therein.
A. Consent to Transfer
The Panel notes that even without a formal settlement between the parties, a consent for the transfer of a disputed domain name by the Respondent can provide sufficient basis for an order for transfer without the need for substantial consideration of the UDRP grounds and the further merits of the case. In view of WIPO Overview 3.0, section 4.10, a panel may “order the requested remedy solely on the basis of such consent”.
As indicated above, the Center received an email communication from the Respondent on September 8, 2021, which unambiguously expresses her consent to transfer the disputed domain name to the Complainant. In said email communication, the Respondent wrote literally: “please transfer it”.
The Panel finds that the email communication by the Respondent to the Center undoubtedly demonstrates her consent to have the disputed domain name transferred. Furthermore, the Panel notes that the content at the disputed domain name impersonating the Complainant is no longer supported; namely the disputed domain name no longer resolves to an active website.
The fact that no settlement agreement has been concluded between the Parties does, in view of the Panel, not affect the effectiveness of the Respondent’s unilateral consent to the transfer of the disputed domain name. Rather, the Complainant’s suspension request to pursue settlement options with the Respondent is further support of the interest in a quick resolution.
The Panel therefore exceptionally renders its Decision in summary form and orders the transfer of the disputed domain name to the Complainant.
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 <lidl-family.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: November 19, 2021