WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Koninklijke Douwe Egberts B.V. v. Sarah Hampton

Case No. DCO2020-0068

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Koninklijke Douwe Egberts B.V., Netherlands, represented by Ploum, Netherlands.

The Respondent is Sarah Hampton, United States of America (“United States”).

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <jdecoffe.co> (the “Domain Name”) 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 October 13, 2020. On October 14, 2020, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On October 15, 2020, 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 October 16, 2020, 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 amendment to the Complaint on October 19, 2020.

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 October 21, 2020. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was November 10, 2020. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on November 11, 2020.

The Center appointed Mathias Lilleengen as the sole panelist in this matter on November 17, 2020. 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 part of Jacobs Douwe Egberts, an international coffee and tea company that processes and trades in coffee, tea, and other foods since 1753. Jacobs Douwe Egberts is abbreviated to JDE. Today, the Complainant’s coffee and tea portfolio is available in over 100 countries around the world.

The Complainant owns registrations for the trademark JDE. It is used as an umbrella brand in relation to the Complainant’s coffee and tea portfolio. This portfolio consists of names such as “Jacobs”, “Tassimo, Moccona”, “Senseo”, “L’OR”, “Douwe Egberts”, “TiÓra”, “Super”, “Kenco” and “Pilao & Gevalia”. All product packages include the JDE trademark in addition to the brand’s own mark. Hence, the Complainant owns a large number of trademark registrations worldwide, such as Benelux trademark JDE, with registration number 0970216, registered on April 22, 2015, Brazilian trademark JDE COFFEE, with application number 907660193, registered on May 7, 2014, and International trademark registration JDE, with registration number 1248744, registered on April 16, 2015, designating inter alia Colombia, the European Union and the United States.

The Complainant owns and operates websites at numerous domain names incorporating the JDE and the JACOBS DOUWE EGBERTS brand, such as <jdecoffee.com> and <jacobsdouweegberts.com>.

The Domain Name was registered on August 1, 2020. At the time of filing the Complaint, and the time of drafting the decision, the Domain Name resolved to a website on which the Domain Name was offered for sale.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant argues the Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark, as it incorporates the JDE trademark entirely and only omits the last letter “e” in the descriptive term “coffe”. The omission of this last letter is a misspelling of the word coffee. The descriptive term enhances the confusion since coffee is the key product for which the Complainant’s trademark is registered.

The Complainant argues that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name. The Complainant has not authorized the Respondent to use the Complainant’s trademark in any way. The Respondent does not seem to own any rights in a trademark, which comprise part or the entirety of the Domain Name, nor is the Respondent commonly known under this name.

Finally, the Complainant submits that the Respondent must have been aware of the Complainant and its trademark when the Respondent registered the Domain Name. One would not register a domain name and choose the letters “j”, “d” and “e” without knowing the Complainant’s trademark, in particular as “coffe” is placed just behind the letters. According to the Complainant, the Respondent has most likely registered the Domain Name to attract Internet users by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s trademark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement. The Complainant believes it may well be for phishing purposes. Moreover, the Respondent’s use of a privacy service to mask the information in the WhoIs databases is a further indication of bad faith.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Complainant has established rights in the trademarks JDE and JDE COFFEE. The test for confusing similarity involves a comparison between the trademarks and the Domain Name. In this case, the Domain Name incorporates the Complainant’s trademarks, with the omission of the last letter “e” in the term “coffee”. The omission does not avoid a finding of confusing similarity. For the purposes of assessing confusing similarity under paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy, it is permissible for the Panel to ignore the country code Top-Level Domain (“ccTLD”) “.co”.

The Panel finds that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to a trademark in which the Complainant has rights in accordance with paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

There is no evidence suggesting that the Respondent has any rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name. The Complainant has not granted any authorization to the Respondent. The Domain Name redirects to a website where the Domain Name is offered for sale. There is no evidence of any bona fide use in the case file.

The Panel finds that the Complainant has made out an unrebutted prima facie case. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name in accordance with paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

Based on the evidence, it is likely that the Respondent knew of the Complainant’s trademark and its business when the Respondent registered the Domain Name. Without any other plausible explanation as to why the Respondent registered the Domain Name, the Panel concludes that the Respondent’s intention is and has been to attract Internet users, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s trademark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement. Moreover, the Domain Name is offered for sale.

The Panel concludes that the Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith, within the meaning of the 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 Domain Name <jdecoffe.co> be transferred to the Complainant.

Mathias Lilleengen
Sole Panelist
Date: December 1, 2020