WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Adisseo France S.A.S. v. Tagui Dirm4, Taguidirm LLC
Case No. D2021-3820
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Adisseo France S.A.S., France, represented by Selarl Marchais & Associés, France.
The Respondent is Tagui Dirm4, Taguidirm LLC, United States of America (“United States”).
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <adlsseo.com> is registered with GMO Internet, Inc. d/b/a Discount-Domain.com and Onamae.com (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed in English with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on November 16, 2021. On November 16, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On November 17, 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 November 21, 2021, the Center transmitted an email communication to the Parties in English and Japanese regarding the language of the proceeding. On November 24, 2021, the Complainant confirmed its request that English be the language of the proceeding. The Respondent did not comment on 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 paragraphs 2 and 4 of the Rules, the Center formally notified the Respondent in English and Japanese of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on December 10, 2021. In accordance with paragraph 5 of the Rules, the due date for Response was December 30, 2021. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on January 2, 2022.
The Center appointed Yuji Yamaguchi as the sole panelist in this matter on January 12, 2022. 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 paragraph 7 of the Rules.
4. Factual Background
The Complainant was founded in France in 1939 and is now one of the world’s leading experts in feed additives. The Complainant’s group relies on its 10 research centers and its production sites based in Europe, United States and China to design, produce and market nutritional solutions for sustainable animal feed and serves around 3,900 customers in over 110 different countries through its global distribution network.
The Complainant is the rightful owner of the ADISSEO trademarks in word and logo form including French trademarks Nos. 3104123 (registered on June 6, 2001), 3087250 (registered on March 7, 2001), 3162584 (registered on May 2, 2002) and 3076050 (registered on January 11, 2001), United States trademark Registration No. 2873125 (Application No. 76277218) (registered on August 17, 2004), European Union Trade Marks Nos. 002286417 (registered on August 6, 2002) and 002692812 (registered on January 30, 2004), and international trademarks Nos. 796126 (registered on October 17, 2002), 787974 (registered on May 6, 2002), 771097 (registered on October 31, 2001) and 768878 (registered on July 10, 2001). The Complainant is also the owner of the domain names including <adisseo.com>, <adisseo.org>, <adisseo.eu>, <adisseo.biz>, <adisseo.fr>.
The disputed domain name was registered on November 1, 2021. The disputed domain name resolves to an inactive website.
5. Parties’ Contentions
First, the disputed domain name which imitates the Complainant’s ADISSEO trademarks is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s ADISSEO trademarks, as it is an intentional misspelling of ADISSEO with a high degree of resemblance with ADISSEO since the difference is limited to the substitution of the original letter “i” by a visually similar letter “l”, and the addition of the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) extension “.com”. Moreover, from a phonetic and typographical point of view, the inversion of the letters ‘i/l” in ADISSEO to read ADLSSEO is submitted as merely insignificant as it does not depart from the ADISSEO trademarks and domain names. Indeed, “adlsseo” will be read and understood as the genuine ADISSEO trademarks and domain names. Furthermore, the Respondent’s registration of the disputed domain name appears to be indicative of the practice known as typo squatting.
Second, the Complainant submits that it is obvious that the Respondent does not have any legitimate interest in using the disputed domain name since the name of the Respondent “Taguidirm LLC” has no resemblance with the word ADISSEO, which has no particular meaning and is therefore highly distinctive. The Complainant has never licensed or otherwise authorized the Respondent to use the Complainant’s ADISSEO trademarks or to register any domain name including the Complainant’s ADISSEO trademarks. The Respondent is not making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name nor is he using the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services, so as to confer a right or legitimate interest in it in accordance with paragraph 4(c)(i) of the Policy given that the disputed domain website is not used at all by the Respondent. The Complainant was alerted of the existence of the disputed domain name as the Respondent was using the email address to impersonate ADISSEO and extort funds from the Complainant’s clients. Indeed, this practice is considered as phishing. Thus, the Respondent has used the disputed domain name to obtain commercial gain by misleadingly diverting consumers.
Third, the disputed domain name has been registered for the purpose of attracting Internet users to the Respondent’s website by creating a likelihood of confusion – or at least an impression of association – between the Complainant’s trademarks and the disputed domain name not only as to source, but as to a possible affiliation, connection, sponsorship, association, and/or approval between the Complainant and the Respondent who simply could not have ignored the Complainant’s existence in registering the disputed domain name. Given the famous and distinctive nature of the mark ADISSEO, the Respondent is likely to have had, at least, constructive, if not actual notice, as to the existence of the Complainant’s ADISSEO trademarks at the time the Respondent registered the disputed domain name. This suggests that the Respondent acted with opportunistic bad faith in registering the disputed domain name in order to make an illegitimate use of it. It has been established in many UDRP cases that passive holding under the appropriate circumstances falls within the concept of the domain name being used in bad faith. The lack of use of the disputed domain name particularly close to those used by the Complainant is likely to cause irreparable prejudice to their general goodwill because Internet users could be led to believe that the Complainant is not on the Internet or worse that the Complainant is out of business.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
6.1 Language of the Proceeding
Pursuant to paragraph 11(a) of the Rules, the language of the administrative proceeding shall be the language of the Registration Agreement, subject to authority of the Panel to determine otherwise having regard to the circumstances of the administrative proceeding. According to the Registrar, the language of the Registration Agreement for the disputed domain name is Japanese.
However, the Complainant requests that English be the language of the proceeding with several reasons including that the Complainant is not able to communicate in Japanese and that the Respondent is an American company with its registered office in the United States, whose official language is English. The Respondent had the opportunity to submit an objection to the Complainant’s request to proceed in English of which the Center had notified the Parties by email both in English and Japanese. But the Respondent did not submit any comment on the language of the proceeding.
In view of these circumstances of this case, the Panel decides that English should be the language of the proceeding to ensure a fair proceeding to both Parties without undue delay.
6.2 Substantive Elements of the Policy
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 disputed domain name only differs from the Complainant’s ADISSEO trademarks in that a letter “i” is substituted for a letter “l” in the disputed domain name and the gTLD suffix “.com” is added.
The domain name which consists of a common, obvious, or intentional misspelling of the Complainant’s trademark is considered to be confusingly similar to the trademark. See section 1.9 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”). The gTLD “.com” may be disregarded for the assessment of confusing similarity. See section 1.11.1 of the WIPO Overview 3.0.
Since the lower-case letter “l” is visually similar to the upper-case letter “i” and the substitution of the letter “l” for the letter “i” does not serve to differentiate the overall impression of the disputed domain name (see Mirova v. Contact Privacy Inc. Customer 0162716733 / Tabora Dee, mlrova, WIPO Case No. D2021-3713), the Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s ADISSEO trademark.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
For now, the disputed domain name resolves to an inactive website, but the Respondent appears to have sent a phishing email to the Complainant’s clients by using an email address with the disputed domain name. Thus, it is proved that the Respondent has an intent to obtain commercial gain by misleadingly diverting consumers.
As the Complainant asserted, the Respondent has never been licensed or authorized by the Complainant to use the Complainant’s ADISSEO trademark or to register any domain name incorporating the Complainant’s ADISSEO trademarks. There is also no evidence to show that the Respondent is commonly known by the disputed domain name.
Therefore, the Panel finds that the Complainant has established a prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. See section 2.1 of the WIPO Overview 3.0.
Since no response was submitted by the Respondent and no evidence of any rights or legitimate interests is presented before the Panel, the Panel concludes that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Complainant is a world leading expert which produces and markets nutritional solutions for sustainable animal feed under the ADISSEO trademarks, which have been used for over 80 years and in countries all over the world.
As a result of the Complainant’s worldwide marketing, the Respondent must have been undoubtedly aware of the risk of deception and confusion that would inevitably arise from the registration of the disputed domain name. This knowledge characterizes the Respondent’s bad faith in registering the disputed domain name. The international fame of the Complainant’s ADISSEO trademarks has also supported the findings that passive holding of the disputed domain name was used in bad faith.
Further, sending a phishing email to the Complainant’s clients by using the email address with the disputed domain name also constitutes bad faith. See sections 3.1.4 and 3.4 of the WIPO Overview 3.0.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the requirement of registration and use in bad faith is satisfied.
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 <adlsseo.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: January 26, 2022