WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Mazars v. Zhoubowen

Case No. DCO2017-0054

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Mazars of Woluwe-Saint-Lambert, Belgium, represented by TESLA Avocats, France.

The Respondent is Zhoubowen of Changsha, Hunan, China.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <mazars.co> is registered with PDR Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on December 26, 2017. On December 26, 2017, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On December 27, 2017, 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 sent a request for clarification to the Complainant on January 9, 2018. The Center received an amendment to the Complaint on January 10, 2018.

The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amendment to 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 and 4, the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on January 11, 2018. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was January 31, 2018. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on February 2, 2018.

The Center appointed Adam Taylor as the sole panelist in this matter on February 28, 2018. 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 an international group, offering accountancy, business, auditing, tax, legal and advisory services.

The Complainant, which is present, and has trade mark rights, in 79 countries, operates through 18,000 professionals and 300 offices worldwide.

The Complainant is the owner, amongst others, of the following trade mark registrations for MAZARS (word mark):

- International trade mark registration No. 608854, registered on July 30, 1993, in classes 35, 36, 41 and 42;

- European Union trade mark registration No. 003798402, registered on July 19, 2005, in classes 35, 36, 41 and 42;

- United States of America trade mark registration No. 1955272, registered on February 6, 1996 in International classes 35, 41 and 42; and

- Colombia trade mark No. 250878, originally filed on June 13, 2001, and assigned to the Complainant on December 22, 2014, in class 35.

The Complainant operates its main website at “www.mazars.com”.

The disputed domain name was registered on July 21, 2017.

As of March 13, 2018, the disputed domain name resolved to a Sedo parking page with links relating to computer games and jobs. The page also stated: “The owner of mazars.co is offering it for sale for an asking price of 3500 EUR!”

On December 22, 2017, the Complainant offered EUR 100 for the disputed domain name via Sedo. The Respondent counter-offered EUR 2,999, stating: “This is my final offer”.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant is well-known.

The disputed domain name is not being used for a website or in connection with professional activity.

The Respondent has no legitimate rights or interests in registering a disputed domain name containing the term “mazars”. Also, the Respondent has no such rights referable to Colombia because of the Respondent’s Chinese nationality and the absence of evidence of professional activity in Colombia.

The Respondent must be aware that the Complainant is a worldwide group supplying accountancy and audit services operating its website at “www.mazars.com”.

The Respondent must also be aware that the Complainant is the owner of worldwide trade marks for the word “mazars”.

The Complainant has successfully recovered domain names which include the word “mazars” via the UDRP. The Respondent had access to the decisions as they are posted on the Internet.

The Respondent must be aware that, in 2017, many international groups have taken action to recover “.co” domain names which were liable to be confused with the “.com” equivalents.

The Respondent intended to obtain payment for the disputed domain name, having asked the Complainant for EUR 2,999 via the Sedo platform.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Complainant has rights in the mark MAZARS by virtue of its registered trade marks for that term.

Disregarding the domain name suffix, the Panel concludes that the disputed domain name is identical to the Complainant’s trade mark.

The Panel therefore finds that the Complainant has established the first element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

As explained in section 2.1 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), the consensus view is that, where a complainant makes out a prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests, the burden of production shifts to the respondent to come forward with relevant evidence demonstrating rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. If not, the complainant is deemed to have satisfied the second element.

Here, the Complainant has not licensed or otherwise authorised the Respondent to use its trade mark.

As to paragraph 4(c)(i) of the Policy, there is no evidence of any use of the disputed domain name for a bona fide offering of goods or services, nor of any demonstrable preparations for such an offering. Nor is there any evidence that paragraph 4(c)(ii) or (iii) of the Policy apply in the circumstances of this case.

The Panel finds that the Complainant has established a prima facie case of lack of rights or legitimate interests and there is no rebuttal by the Respondent

The Panel concludes that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name and that the Complainant has therefore established the second element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The Panel notes the following:

1. The Complainant is plainly a large international organization with a significant reputation in its field, namely the supply of accountancy and related services.

2. The Complainant’s name “Mazars” is a distinctive one.

3. The Complainant owns the “.com” equivalent of the disputed domain name, a matter likely to have been within the knowledge of the Respondent when selecting the disputed domain name.

4. The Respondent has not appeared in this proceeding to deny the Complainant’s allegations or to offer up any legitimate explanation for its registration of the disputed domain name. And there is nothing on the record which indicates that the Respondent might have had a legitimate reason to register the disputed domain name.

Taking the above matters together, the Panel considers that, on the balance of probabilities, the Respondent was likely to have been aware of the Complainant on acquisition of the disputed domain name.

In the circumstances of this case, the Panel considers that the asking price of EUR 3,500 for the disputed domain name was most likely directed at the Complainant, rather than the world at large. Accordingly, the Panel is of the view that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name primarily for sale to the Complainant in accordance with paragraph 4(b)(i) of the Policy.

The Panel therefore finds that the Complainant has established the third element of paragraph 4(a) 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 <mazars.co> be transferred to the Complainant.

Adam Taylor
Sole Panelist
Date: March 14, 2018