WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Chateau Lafite Rothschild v. Na Ke
Case No. DCC2021-0006
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Chateau Lafite Rothschild, France, represented by Plasseraud IP, France.
The Respondent is Na Ke, China.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <lafitecoin.cc> is registered with GoDaddy.com, LLC (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on June 16, 2021. On June 16, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On June 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 June 24, 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 June 28, 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 July 6, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was July 26, 2021. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on August 2, 2021.
The Center appointed William F. Hamilton as the sole panelist in this matter on August 9, 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 is a venerable wine production company. The Complainant traces its wine production history back to the 17th century. The Complainant is known for wine production not only in France, but also around the world.
The Complainant holds numerous registrations around the world for the trademark LAFITE (the “Mark”) including, but not limited to, China Registration No. 14123158, dated April 21, 2015, and European Union Registration No. 000108639 covering numerous countries, dated September 6, 1998.
The Complainant owns numerous domain names incorporating the Mark in numerous languages: <lafite.com>, <lafite.eu>, <lafite.fr>, <lafite.vin>, and <lafite.wine>.
The Respondent registered the disputed domain name on July 3, 2020. The Respondent provided a China address to the Registrar when registering the disputed domain name. The Annexes to the Complaint demonstrate that when the Complaint was filed the disputed domain name resolved to a website marketing for commercial gain cryptocurrency services utilizing the Complainant’s Mark and replete with images of flowing glasses of red wine. The disputed domain name does not currently resolve to any website.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant asserts the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Mark because the disputed domain name entirely incorporates the Complainant’s Mark and merely adds the dictionary term “coin” as a suffix to the Mark. The Complainant asserts that the Complainant never authorized the Respondent to use the disputed domain name, that the Respondent is not generally known by the disputed domain name, and that the Respondent has never engaged in any bona fide commercial activity in connection with the disputed domain name. The Complainant asserts that the Respondent has registered and used the disputed domain name as part of a scheme marketing bogus cryptocurrency services to unsuspecting Internet users lured to the Respondent’s website that unmistakably suggests the Respondent’s cryptocurrency services are sponsored by, affiliated with, or endorsed by the Complainant.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, to succeed the Complainant must satisfy 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;
(ii) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and
(iii) the disputed domain name was registered and are being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s Mark.
The disputed domain name is composed entirely of the Complainant’s Mark with the addition of the dictionary word “coin”. A domain name which wholly incorporates a complainant’s registered mark is sufficient to establish confusingly similarity for the purposes of the Policy, and the addition to the Mark of a dictionary term does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity. WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), section 1.7; see also WIPO Overview 3.0, section 1.8 (“where the relevant trademark is recognizable with the disputed domain name, the additions of other terms (whether descriptive, geographic, pejorative, meaningless, or otherwise) would not prevent a finding of confusing similarity under the first element”); Château Lafite Rothschild v. Chen Yuan (陈源), WIPO Case No. D2020‑0581(transferring <lafite-entertainment.com>; Chateau Lafite Rothschild v. Diane Gill, WIPO Case No. D2014-1680 (transferring <baronrrothschild.com> and <rothschildchateaulafite.com>).
The Top-Level Domain of the disputed domain name, in this case “.cc” is generally disregarded for the purposes of assessment under the first element, as it is viewed as a standard registration requirement. See WIPO Overview 3.0, section 1.11.1. Monster Energy Company, a Delaware Corporation v. J.H.M. den Ouden, WIPO Case No. D2016-1759 (transferring <monsterenergy.world>).
The Complainant has met its burden under paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
The Complainant has specifically disavowed providing the Respondent with permission to use the disputed domain name or the Mark. There is no evidence that the Respondent has conducted any bona fide business under the disputed domain name or is commonly known by the disputed domain name. The Complainant has established a prima facie case in its favor, which shifts the burden of production on this point to the Respondent. The Respondent, however, has failed to come forth with any evidence showing any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Furthermore, the nature of the disputed domain name, which wholly incorporates the Mark, carries a risk of implied affiliation. See WIPO Overview 3.0, section 2.5.1.
The facts and circumstances presented to the Panel demonstrate that the Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Complainant has met its burden under paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
1. Under paragraph 4(b) of the Policy, bad faith may be established by any one of the following non-exclusive scenarios:
(i) circumstances indicating that the respondent has registered or acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of the respondent’s documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or
(ii) the respondent has registered the domain name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that the respondent has engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or
(iii) the respondent has registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or
(iv) by using the domain name, the respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the respondent’s website or location or of a product or service on the respondent’s website or location.
2. The Panel finds the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
The evidence provided in the Complaint’s Annexes demonstrate that the Respondent registered and used the disputed domain name to lure unsuspecting Internet users to a website that implied that its cryptocurrency commercial services were sponsored by, affiliated with, and endorsed by the Complainant. The current inactive character of the disputed domain name does not diminish the Respondent’s bad faith registration and use. Comerica Bank v. Will Rote, WIPO Case No. D2016-0419; TexTrail, Inc. v. Antonio Samuels, WIPO Case No. D20202-3343; Monster Energy Company v. Registration Private, Domains By Proxy, LLC / Peter Malandrinos, WIPO Case No. D2021-0964; WIPO Overview 3.0, section 3.4. It strains all credibility to believe that the Respondent was not aware of the Complainant’s Mark and products when the Respondent’s services are specifically promoted a purported wine industry cryptocurrency exchange. Further, the Respondent registered the disputed domain name utilizing a privacy shield which under the circumstances of this case is further evidence supporting a finding of bad faith registration and use. See WIPO Overview 3.0, section 3.6. Even if one were to accept the unbelievable proposition that the Respondent was unaware of the Mark, willful blindness is no excuse and does not avoid a finding of bad faith registration and use. A quick Internet search would have quickly revealed the Complainant and the Mark. Instagram LLC v. contact Privacy Inc. / Sercan Lider, WIPO Case No. D2019‑0419.
Finally, it is difficult to conceive of any use that the Respondent might make of the disputed domain name without the Complainant’s consent that would not involve bad faith. Telstra Corporation Limited v. Nuclear Marshmellows, WIPO Case No. D2000-0003; Verner Panton Design v. Fontana di Luce Corp, WIPO Case No. D2012-1909 (where the reputation of a complainant in a given mark is significant and the mark bears strong similarities to the disputed domain name, the likelihood of confusion is such that bad faith may be inferred); DPDgroup International Services GmbH & Co. KG v. Wise One, Wilson TECH, WIPO Case No. D2021-0109 (transferring <dpdcouriercompany.com>); Monster Energy Company v. PrivacyDotLink Customer 116709 / Ferdinand Nikolaus Kronschnabl, WIPO Case No. D2016-1335 (transferring <monsterenergy.club>).
The Complainant has met its burden under 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 <lafitecoin.cc> be transferred to the Complainant.
William F. Hamilton
Date: August 23, 2021