WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Sephora v. Domain Administrator, See PrivacyGuardian.org / Allen Zhang

Case No. D2021-3836

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Sephora, France, represented by Domainoo, France.

The Respondent is Domain Administrator, See PrivacyGuardian.org, United States of America / Allen Zhang, China.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <sephoralash.com> is registered with NameSilo, LLC (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on November 17, 2021. On November 17, 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 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 November 18, 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 19, 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 25, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was December 15, 2021. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on December 17, 2021.

The Center appointed Tobias Zuberb├╝hler as the sole panelist in this matter on December 22, 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 France in 1969 and is a company operating in the beauty, cosmetics, perfumes and accessories industry, with retail stores around the world.

The Complainant owns trademark registrations in various jurisdictions, including the French trademark SEPHORA (Reg. No. 1678120, registered on July 10, 1991), the European Union Trade Mark SEPHORA (Reg. No. 000788398, registered on June 30, 2004) and the International trademark SEPHORA (Reg. No. 749589, registered on October 10, 2000).

The Complainant further holds the domain name <sephora.com> under which the official website of the Complainant is available. The Complainant holds several other domain names incorporating the SEPHORA trademark. The Complainant advertises and sells its services through its <sephora.com> domain name.

The disputed domain name was created on October 27, 2020 and resolves to a website promoting and selling beauty products, in particular products related to eyelashes.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant alleges that it has satisfied all elements of the Policy, paragraph 4.

B. Respondent

The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

On the basis of 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 SEPHORA trademark.

The SEPHORA 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 term “lash” to the Complainant’s SEPHORA 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 uses the disputed domain name to offer alleged products in connection to the Complainant’s business and trademark. The Complainant has credibly alleged that the Respondent uses the disputed domain name for generating revenue by offering the same sort of products for which the Complainant registered the SEPHORA trademark 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 a term which appears related to the Complainant’s business, 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 “lash” 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 is 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 uses the disputed domain name in bad faith (see Claudie Pierlot v. Yinglong Ma, WIPO Case No. D2018-2466).

Accordingly, the Complainant has also fulfilled paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.

7. Decision

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 <sephoralash.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Tobias Zuberb├╝hler
Sole Panelist
Date: January 5, 2022