WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Groupe Idec v. Boosting Inc (진수)
Case No. D2021-2503
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Groupe Idec, France, represented by Niddam-Drouas Avocats, France.
The Respondent is Boosting Inc (진수), Republic of Korea.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <idecgroup.com> is registered with Megazone Corp., dba HOSTING.KR (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed in English with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on August 3, 2021. On August 3, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On August 4, 2021, 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.
On August 13, 2021, the Center notified the Parties in both English and Korean that the language of the registration agreement for the disputed domain name is Korean. On August 15, 2021, the Complainant requested for English to be the language of the proceeding. On August 20, 2021, the Respondent requested for Korean to be the language of the proceeding.
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 August 24, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was September 13, 2021. On September 7, 2021, the Respondent requested for an extension to submit a Response. The due date for Response was extended to September 27, 2021, but the Respondent did not submit any formal response. Accordingly, the Center informed the Parties of the commencement of Panel appointment process on October 6, 2021.
The Center appointed Ik-Hyun Seo as the sole panelist in this matter on November 26, 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 French company established in 1997 specializing in the real estate and energy sectors. It currently employs 450 people, and owns EUR 170 million of assets with a turnover of EUR 250 to 350 million. It owns the IDEC GROUPE stylized mark in France in Classes 36, 37, and 42, filed on October 29, 2019 (trademark No. 4594808) and the text mark GROUPE IDEC registered in the European Union on January 25, 2016 in Classes 36, 37, and 42 (trademark No. 014653489). It also owns and operates the domain name <groupeidec.com>, which was registered on November 30, 2006.
The Respondent appears to be an entity with an address in the Republic of Korea.
The disputed domain name was registered on February 11, 2020 and resolves to a pay-per-click site which is advertised for sale for a minimum price of USD 4,950.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademarks. First of all, the disputed domain name is essentially identical to the text elements of the Complainant’s stylized IDEC GROUPE mark since the only difference is the absence of the final letter “e”, without which forms the word “group”. As this term would be recognized as the English spelling for the French term “groupe”, the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s IDEC GROUPE mark. Likewise, the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s text mark GROUPE IDEC as the reversal of the terms “group” and “idec” does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity.
The Complainant also contends that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names, and confirms that it has not authorized or licensed rights to the Respondent in any respect.
Finally, the Complainant contends that the disputed domain name was registered and used in bad faith. First of all, the Complainant asserts that the Respondent very likely knew of the Complainant and its trademarks when registering the disputed domain name since a simple online search for the disputed domain name would have led to information on the Complainant and its services. Further, the Complainant asserts that the Respondent is using the disputed domain name in bad faith for its own commercial gain as the disputed domain name resolves to a pay-per-click page and displays an advertisement for sale at a minimum price of USD 4,950 which would exceed the standard out-of-pocket expenses for registering and maintaining the disputed domain name.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 11(a) of the Rules provides that the language of the proceeding shall be the language of the registration agreement, unless otherwise agreed to by the parties, subject to the authority of the panel to determine otherwise. In this case, the language of the Registration Agreement is Korean, and both parties have had an opportunity to argue their positions on this point. The Center issued a notice in Korean and English stating that it would accept the Complaint filed in English, and that the Response would be accepted in either Korean or English. The Respondent subsequently chose not to submit a substantive Response.
The Complainant requested English be the language of the proceeding for several reasons including the language of the website of the disputed domain name being English, the choice of the English term “group” in the disputed domain name, and the time and cost involved in translation of the Complaint into Korean. The Respondent requested Korean be the language of the proceeding noting the language of the Registration Agreement is Korean and that the Respondent claims he does not understand English.
Given the fact that the Complainant is based in France and the Respondent is based in the Republic of Korea, English would appear to be the fairest neutral language for rendering this decision. Besides, both parties were given the opportunity to submit arguments in the language of their preference, and the language in which to render the decision is reserved for the Panel. The Panel would have considered a Response in Korean, however, no Response was submitted.
Taking into account the full circumstances of the case, including the language requests and the below elements of the Policy, the Panel is unable to consider any circumstances whereby the Respondent could show rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, but rather it is clear the disputed domain name was registered and has been used in bad faith to target the Complainant. Accordingly, the Panel determines that proceeding in English is fair and procedurally efficient in the circumstances of this case.
B. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has demonstrated with supporting evidence that it holds trademark registrations for IDEC GROUPE and GROUPE IDEC, both of which precede the registration date of the disputed domain name. In this regard, the disputed domain name consists of the Complainant’s IDEC GROUPE mark in its entirety except for the final letter “e”, which does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity since “groupe” is commonly known to be the French version of the word “group”. The disputed domain name is also confusingly similar to the trademark GROUPE IDEC since the only difference is the order of the terms “IDEC” and “GROUP”, except for the final letter “e”.
For the reasons mentioned above, the Panel finds that the first element has been established.
C. Rights or Legitimate Interests
On the basis of the present record, the Panel finds that the Complainant has made the required allegations to support a prima facie showing that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Once such a prima facie basis has been established, the Respondent carries the burden of demonstrating its rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. However, the Respondent in this case has chosen to file no substantive Response to these assertions by the Complainant, and there is no evidence or allegation in the records that would warrant a finding in favor of the Respondent on this point.
For the reasons provided above, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, and that the second element has been established.
D. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel finds that there are sufficient reasons to find bad faith in this case.
First, considering that the Complainant has an active Internet presence, it is highly unlikely for the Respondent to not have known about the Complainant prior to registering the disputed domain name. Rather, given the confusing similarity between the disputed domain name and the Complainant’s trademarks, the Panel finds that it is more likely for the Respondent to have registered the disputed domain name specifically in order to attract Internet users to its website and benefit financially from the confusion created by the disputed domain name.
Indeed, the Respondent has linked the disputed domain name with a domain name parking service which shows sponsored links, some of which directly related to the exact services of the Complainant. By doing so, the Respondent is financially benefiting from Internet users that reach the disputed domain name by mistake.
Further, the Respondent has advertised the disputed domain name for sale for a minimum of USD 4,950, which would be well in excess of ordinary costs related to the disputed domain name. Registering a domain name for resale does not on its own indicate bad faith, but considering the confusing similarity of the disputed domain name to the Complainant’s marks, the Panel finds that this also supports a finding of bad faith in these circumstances.
For the reasons given above, the Panel finds that the third and final element has been sufficiently established.
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 <idecgroup.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: December 10, 2021