WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Brioni S.p.A. v. Contact Privacy Inc. Customer 1247764709 / Vito S
Case No. D2021-2678
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Brioni S.p.A., Italy, represented by Studio Barbero S.p.A., Italy.
The Respondent is Contact Privacy Inc. Customer 1247764709, Canada / Vito S, Kazakhstan.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <brionikazakhstan.com> is registered with Google LLC (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on August 16, 2021. On August 17, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On August 17, 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 August 30, 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 September 3, 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 September 6, 2021. On September 2 and 6, 2021, the Center received email communications from the Respondent stating in his first email that he would like to withdraw the Complaint in this case and, in his second email, stating that he had not registered the disputed domain name and had nothing to do with the website and store. The Panel takes note of the email communications of September 2 and 6, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was September 26, 2021. The Respondent did not submit any formal response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Commencement of Panel Appointment Process on October 9, 2021.
The Center appointed Tobias Zuberbühler as the sole panelist in this matter on October 14, 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 was founded in Italy in 1945 and offers prestigious men’s fashion luxury goods in 47 boutiques around the world and its online store.
The Complainant owns trademark registrations in various jurisdictions, including the International Trademark BRIONI (Reg. No. 1009840, registered on June 4, 2009), the International Trademark BRIONI (Reg. No. 211621, registered on July 25, 1958) and the European Union trademark BRIONI (Reg. No. 96511, registered on April 2, 1998). The Complainant has been using its trademarks throughout the world for over seventy years.
The Complainant further holds the domain name <brioni.com> under which the official website of the Complainant is available. The Complainant advertises and sells its services through its <brioni.com> domain name. The Complainant holds more than 70 other domain names related to the BRIONI trademark worldwide.
The disputed domain name was registered on July 22, 2020 and resolved to a website with user content similar to the Complainant’s official website and promoting an alleged BRIONI shop in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. In the meantime, the website has been deactivated.
Before initiating the present proceeding, the Complainant made some effort to resolve the matter amicably. The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contact attempts.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant alleges that it has satisfied all elements of the Policy, paragraph 4.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions. In its email communications of September 2 and 6, 2021, the Respondent mainly said that it would like to withdraw the Complaint and that it did not register the disputed domain name and had nothing to do with the website and store.
6. Discussion and Findings
Based on the facts and evidence introduced by the Complainant, and with regard to paragraphs 4(a), (b) and (c) of the Policy, the Panel concludes as follows:
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has submitted sufficient evidence to demonstrate its registered rights in the BRIONI trademark.
The Complainant’s trademark is wholly reproduced in the disputed domain name.
A domain name is “identical or confusingly similar” to a trademark for the purposes of the Policy when the domain name includes the trademark, or a confusingly similar approximation, regardless of other terms in the domain name (Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Richard MacLeod d/b/a For Sale, WIPO Case No. D2000-0662). As stated in WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), section 1.8, “[w]here 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”. Hence, the Panel holds that the addition of the geographical term “kazakhstan” to the Complainant’s BRIONI trademark does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity between the disputed domain name and the Complainant’s trademark.
The Complainant has thus fulfilled the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
There are no indications before the Panel of any rights or legitimate interests of the Respondent in respect of the disputed domain name. The Complainant contends that the Respondent is neither affiliated with the Complainant nor making any bona fide use of the disputed domain name.
The Respondent used the disputed domain name to promote an alleged BRIONI shop in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. The Complainant has credibly alleged that the Respondent used the disputed domain name for generating revenue by offering fake BRIONI products while taking advantage of the Complainant’s trademark notoriety. This cannot be considered as a bona fide offering of goods or services or a noncommercial use.
Furthermore, the composition of the disputed domain name, wholly incorporating the Complainant’s trademark and the term “kazakhstan”, cannot constitute fair use in these circumstances as it effectively impersonates or suggests sponsorship or endorsement by the Complainant. See WIPO Overview 3.0, section 2.5.1.
The Panel finds that the Complainant, having made out a prima facie case which remains unrebutted by the Respondent, has fulfilled the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Under the circumstances of this case, including the composition of the disputed domain name and reputation of the Complainant’s trademark, it can be inferred that the Respondent was aware of the Complainant’s trademark when registering the disputed domain name.
The Panel finds that the reproduction of the Complainant’s trademark along with the term “kazakhstan” creates a likelihood of confusion between the Complainant’s trademark and the disputed domain name.
The evidence and allegations submitted by the Complainant support a finding that the Respondent was engaged in an attempt to pass himself off as the Complainant by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s trademark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of his website for his own commercial benefit. The Respondent therefore used the disputed domain name in bad faith (see Claudie Pierlot v. Yinglong Ma, WIPO Case No. D2018-2466). The fact that the website at the disputed domain name has been deactivated in the meantime does not prevent a finding of bad faith.
Accordingly, the Complainant has also fulfilled paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.
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 <brionikazakhstan.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: October 15, 2021