WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Alibaba Group Holding Limited v. Steve Johnson
Case No. DCO2013-0018
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Alibaba Group Holding Limited of Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, represented by Hogan Lovells, China.
The Respondent is Steve Johnson of Sugar Land, Texas, United States of America.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <alibaba.co> 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 July 10, 2013. On July 10, 2013, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On July 10, 2013, 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.
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 the Rules, paragraphs 2(a) and 4(a), the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on July 18, 2013. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was August 7, 2013. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on August 9, 2013.
The Center appointed Michael J. Spence as the sole panelist in this matter on August 20, 2013. 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 has been operating under the trade mark ALIBABA since 1999 in the field of e-commerce. The Complainant has offices in 70 cities across China and for the year ending December 31, 2011 and the first quarter of 2012 the Complainant’s flagship company, Alibaba.com, reported a total revenue of about RMB 6.41 billion and RMB 1.59 billion respectively. The company has also spent millions of dollars promoting its activities under its trade mark in many foreign countries, especially in Europe and North America. The disputed domain name is not currently in use. The Respondent appears to have engaged in a pattern of registering domain names similar to well-known trademarks.
The disputed domain name was registered by the Respondent on November 13, 2012.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to its trade mark; that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name; and that it has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The disputed domain name contains the Complainant’s registered trade mark in its entirety. The trade mark is one in which the Complainant has acquired significant reputation.
The Panel therefore finds that the Complainant has established the first element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy in relation to the disputed domain name.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
It is for the Complainant to establish, at least prima facie that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name (Croatia Airlines d.d. v. Modern Empire Internet Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2003-0455, Belupo d.d. v. WACHEM d.o.o., WIPO Case No. D2004-0110).
In this case there is no evidence that the Respondent has ever been known by, or trade under, names associated with the disputed domain name. Moreover, there is no evidence of use, or preparation to use, the disputed domain name by the Respondent.
The Panel therefore finds that the Complainant has established the second element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Given the strength of the Complainant’s reputation in its trade marks, the Panel finds there is little use that could be made of the disputed domain name that would not give rise to consumer confusion. On the basis of that likelihood, and the fact that the Respondent has not so far made use of the disputed domain name, and given the pattern of registration in which the Respondent seems to have engaged, involving many domain names identical or similar to well-known trademarks, the Panel finds that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name with the purpose of profiting from its similarity with the Complainant’s trademarks.
The Panel therefore finds that the Complainant has established the third element of paragraph 4(a) of the UDRP 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 <alibaba.co> be transferred to the Complainant.
Michael J. Spence
Date: September 2, 2013