WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
IM Production v. Shixiao Ai
Case No. D2021-4246
1. The Parties
The Complainant is IM Production, France, represented by Nameshield, France.
The Respondent is Shixiao Ai, China.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <isabelmarantbottes.com> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with Alibaba.com Singapore E-Commerce Private Limited (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on December 16, 2021. On December 16, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On December 17, 2021, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the Domain Name which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on December 17, 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 December 17, 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 December 27, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was January 16, 2022. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on January 17, 2022.
The Center appointed Ian Lowe as the sole panelist in this matter on January 27, 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 the Rules, paragraph 7.
Although the Complaint indicates that the language of the Registration Agreement is Chinese, the Registrar has stated that the language of the Registration Agreement used by the Respondent was English. Accordingly, the Panel accepts that English is the appropriate language of the proceedings.
4. Factual Background
The Complainant is a French company specializing in the manufacture and marketing of ready-to-wear, shoes, handbags, and jewelry, marketed under the brand “ISABEL MARANT”. The brand was launched by designer Isabel Marant in 1994. The Complainant now has stores around the world, including in Europe, North America, and China.
The Complainant is the proprietor of a number of registered trademarks in respect of the word mark ISABEL MARANT, including European Union trademark number 001035534, registered on May 3, 2000; and International trademark number 1284453, registered on November 16, 2015. It operates a website at “www.isabelmarant.com” marketing and selling its products; the domain name <isabelmarant.com> was registered by the Complainant in April 2002.
The Domain Name was registered on December 12, 2021. It does not presently resolve to a website, but at the time of preparation of the Complaint, it resolved to a Chinese website displaying information about a company specialized in the production of ceramic products.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to its ISABEL MARANT trademark, that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name, and that the Respondent registered and is using the Domain Name in bad faith within the meaning of paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
For this Complaint to succeed in relation to the Domain Name, the Complainant must prove that:
(i) the 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 Domain Name; and
(iii) the Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has uncontested rights in the ISABEL MARANT trademark (the “Mark”), both by virtue of its trademark registrations and as a result of the goodwill and reputation acquired through its use of the Mark over a number of years. Ignoring the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.com”, the Domain Name comprises the entirety of the Mark, together with the word “bottes” the French language word for “boots”. In the view of the Panel, the addition of this term, referring to a product sold by the Complainant, does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity between the Domain Name and the Mark. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to a trademark in which the Complainant has rights.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant has made out a strong prima facie case that the Respondent could have no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name. The Respondent has used the Domain Name not in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services, but for a website providing information about a company specializing in ceramic products. There is no connection between the Complainant and the Respondent, and the Panel finds it difficult to conceive of any justification for the Respondent having registered the Domain Name or any legitimate use to which the Respondent might put the Domain Name. The Panel does not consider that the use of the Domain Name to connect to a website in the Chinese language concerned with ceramic products could possibly give rise to rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name. The Respondent has chosen not to respond to the Complaint or to take any steps to counter the prima facie case established by the Complainant. In the circumstances, the Panel finds that the Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Domain Name comprises the entirety of the Mark, together with the French language word for “boots”, a product sold by the Complainant. The Panel accepts that the Mark is well-known in China, given the presence of a number of ISABEL MARANT stores. Accordingly, the Panel is in no doubt that the Respondent had the Complainant and its rights in the Mark in mind when it registered the Domain Name. In light of the Respondent’s use of the Mark, the Panel considers that the Respondent has registered and used the Domain Name with a view to attracting Internet users to its website for commercial gain, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Mark as to the source, affiliation, or endorsement of the Respondent’s website.
In the Panel’s view, the use of the Domain Name for such activity amounts to paradigm bad faith registration and use for the purposes of the Policy, paragraph 4(b)(iv).
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
For the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the Domain Name <isabelmarantbottes.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: February 7, 2022