WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Airbus SAS v. Privacy service provided by Withheld for Privacy ehf / Wolfgang Kuster
Case No. D2021-3501
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Airbus SAS, France, represented by CSC Digital Brand Services Group AB, Sweden.
The Respondent is Privacy service provided by Withheld for Privacy ehf, Iceland / Wolfgang Kuster, Germany.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <transport-airbus.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 October 21, 2021. On October 22, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On the same day, 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 October 27, 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 on November 1, 2021.
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, and the proceedings commenced on November 2, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was November 22, 2021. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on November 24, 2021.
The Center appointed Fabrizio Bedarida as the sole panelist in this matter on November 30, 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 in this administrative proceeding is Airbus SAS. The Complainant has designed, manufactured and delivered industry-leading commercial aircraft, helicopters, military transports, satellites and launch vehicles for over 50 years. The Complainant’s history dates back to the formation of the Airbus Industrie GIE consortium in 1970. Since then the Complainant has delivered over 13,500 aircraft to airlines worldwide, as of September 2021, and 12,000 helicopters operated by over 3,000 customers. Additionally, the Complainant is one of the world’s leading space companies and is recognised as a Top 10 Defence company. The Complainant’s technological innovations include Concorde, the landmark Airbus A330 aircraft and, more recently, the ZEROe concept aircraft, through which the Complainant aims to establish the world’s first zero-emission commercial aircraft. The Complainant has a wide-ranging global presence, through roughly 180 locations across Europe, the Americas, Africa & Middle East and Asia. More than 131,000 employees make up the Complainant’s workforce.
Furthermore, the Complainant maintains a strong Internet presence, communicating with its range of customers through its primary domain name <airbus.com>, which has been registered since May 23, 1995. According to SimilarWeb.com, the Complainant’s website received 1.13 million individual visits in the six-month period between March and August 2021, and is ranked the 37,404th most popular website worldwide.
The Complainant has proven to be the owner of the AIRBUS trademark, which enjoys protection through several registrations.
The Complainant is inter alia the owner of:
German trademark AIRBUS (word) registration No. 302010054700, registered on June 24, 2011.
International trademark AIRBUS (word) registration No. 1112012, registered on June 24, 2011.
International trademark AIRBUS (word) registration No. 1247403, registered on June 18, 2014.
The disputed domain name was registered on November 15, 2020.
According to the evidence included in the case file, the disputed domain name used to resolve to a website apparently purporting to offer international transportation services under the AIRBUS brand and trademark. Currently the disputed domain name refers to a website that displays a security warning.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant claims that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s registered trademark; that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests whatsoever with respect to the disputed domain name; and that the Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith.
In more detail, the Complainant claims that the Respondent is deliberately creating confusion with the Complainant’s business by using the disputed domain name in connection with an unauthorized website where it purports to offer (presumably fraudulent) international transportation services, under a similar name, and tangentially related to those services provided by the Complainant directly and under its Airbus Transport International (ATI) subsidiary.
In addition the Complainant claims that the Respondent has registered and used the disputed domain name for the purposes of perpetrating a fraud, which is clear evidence of bad faith registration and use. In fact, the Complainant claims that it was first made aware of the disputed domain name by the German police, “Polizeiinspektion Bad Reichenhall”, who reached out to the Complainant as the trademark holder to alert them to a fraud perpetrated in connection with the disputed domain name. Thus the Complainant claims that the Respondent’s efforts to masquerade as the Complainant in an attempt to solicit sensitive, financial information from unsuspecting people certainly constitutes fraud, which must be considered bad faith registration and use of the disputed domain name.
Finally, the Complainant contends that the Respondent has ignored the Complainant’s numerous attempts to resolve this dispute. In fact, the Complainant has allegedly sent various cease-and-desist letters to the Respondent and has even telephoned and sent text messages to the number listed on the Respondent’s website, but has received no response.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
In order for the Complainant to obtain a transfer of the disputed domain name, paragraph 4(a) of the Policy requires that the Complainant must demonstrate to the Panel that:
(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 Complainant has established rights in the AIRBUS trademarks.
The disputed domain name contains the Complainant’s trademark preceded by a hyphen and the term “transport”.
Section 1.8 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”) states: “Where 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.”
Therefore, the Panel finds the disputed domain name to be confusingly similar to the AIRBUS trademark in which the Complainant has rights.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Complainant has satisfied paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
This Panel finds that the Complainant has made a prima facie case that the Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Respondent does not appear to be commonly known by the name “airbus” or by any similar name. The Respondent has no connection or affiliation with the Complainant and the Complainant has not licensed or otherwise authorized the Respondent to use or register any domain name incorporating the Complainant’s trademark. The Respondent does not appear to make any legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name, nor any use in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. Finally, the Respondent has not replied to the Complainant’s contentions, claiming any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
Furthermore, considering the broader circumstances of the disputed domain name, the construction of the disputed domain name itself effectively impersonates or suggests sponsorship or endorsement by the Complainant, which cannot constitute fair use. See section 2.5.1 of the WIPO Overview 3.0.
The Panel finds that the Complainant has satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel, on the basis of the evidence presented, accepts and agrees with the Complainant’s contentions that the disputed domain name was registered in bad faith and that it has been used in bad faith.
The Panel finds that the Respondent was likely aware of the AIRBUS trademark and of the existence of the Complainant and its activity.
In fact, it appears that the Respondent sought to create the impression that the disputed domain name and website were authorized and administered by the Complainant, and to benefit from the Complainant’s well-known reputation, as evinced not only by their use of the AIRBUS trademark in general, but also by their inclusion of the Complainant’s postal address.
This Panel believes that, on the balance of probabilities, the above shows that the choice of the disputed domain name cannot be a coincidence, and thus indicates the Respondent’s knowledge of the Complainant’s trademark and activity when registering the disputed domain name.
In addition, from the above-illustrated use of the disputed domain name and related website, it is apparent that the Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website by creating a confusion with the Complainant’s trademark, and this amounts to an inference of bad faith registration and use of the disputed domain name.
Inference of bad faith registration and use of the disputed domain name is also given by the fact that the Respondent deliberately chose to conceal its identity by means of a privacy protection service. While the use of a privacy service does not in and of itself constitute bad faith under the Policy, the manner in which such service is used in the present case is deemed to contribute to a finding of bad faith.
Moreover, another indication of bad faith registration and use of the disputed domain name is the fact that the Respondent has not responded to the Complainant’s cease and desist letter nor denied the assertions of bad faith made by the Complainant in this proceeding. Hence, the Panel finds that if the Respondent had legitimate purposes for registering and using the disputed domain name, it would have responded to these assertions.
Accordingly, the Panel finds, on the basis of the evidence presented, that the Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith.
Therefore, the Complainant has satisfied 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, <transport-airbus.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: December 14, 2021