WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Claudie Pierlot S.A.S v. Jurgen Neeme

Case No. DCO2021-0047

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Claudie Pierlot S.A.S, France, represented by ELLALAN, Hong Kong, China.

The Respondent is Jurgen Neeme, Estonia.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <claudiepierlot.co> is registered with NameCheap, Inc. (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on June 3, 2021. On June 3, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On June 3, 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 6, 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 10, 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 June 18, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was July 8, 2021. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on July 12, 2021.

The Center appointed Kaya Köklü as the sole panelist in this matter on July 20, 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 joint-stock company incorporated in France, which is active in the apparel and accessories market. It was initially founded in 1984 and is now present in 19 countries with 239 points of sale as of December 2020.

The Complainant is the owner of the CLAUDIE PIERLOT trademark, which is registered in a large number of jurisdictions. The Complainant is i.a. the owner of the French Trademark Registrations No. 1261003 (registered on December 30, 1983) and No. 4369692 (registered on June 19, 2017) (Annexes 9 and 10 to the Complaint).

The Complainant also owns and operates various domain names which incorporate its CLAUDIE PIERLOT trademark, such as<claudiepierlot.com> and <claudiepierlot.fr>.

The Respondent appears to be an individual from Estonia.

The disputed domain name was registered on June 26, 2020.

The website linked to the disputed domain name resolves to a parking website with some of the sponsored links related to the fashion retail business (Annex 15 to the Complaint).

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant requests the transfer of the disputed domain name.

The Complainant is of the opinion that the disputed domain name is identical to its CLAUDIE PIERLOT trademark.

Furthermore, the Complainant argues that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name, and has also registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

According to paragraph 15(a) of the Rules, the Panel shall decide the Complaint in accordance with the Policy, the Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable.

In accordance with paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainant must prove that each of the three following elements is satisfied:

(i) the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark in which the Complainant has rights; and

(ii) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and

(iii) the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy states that the Complainant bears the burden of proving that all these requirements are fulfilled, even if the Respondent has not replied to the Complainant’s contentions. Stanworth Development Limited v. E Net Marketing Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2007-1228.

However, concerning the uncontested information provided by the Complainant, the Panel may, where relevant, accept the provided reasonable factual allegations in the Complaint as true. See, section 4.3 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”).

It is further noted that the Panel has taken note of the WIPO Overview 3.0 and, where appropriate, will decide consistent with the consensus views stated therein.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The disputed domain name is, in view of the Panel, identical to the Complainant’s CLAUDIE PIERLOT trademark as it incorporates the Complainant’s trademark in its entirety without any additions or amendments.

In the Panel’s view, the country code Top-Level Domain (“ccTLD”) “.co” may, as a general principle, be disregarded when assessing identity or confusing similarity between a domain name and a trademark.

In view of the finding above, the Panel is satisfied that the Complainant has met the requirements under paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Panel further finds that the Respondent has failed to demonstrate any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

While the burden of proof on this element remains with the complainant, previous UDRP panels have recognized that this would result in the often impossible task of proving a negative, in particular as the evidence in this regard is often primarily within the knowledge of the respondent. Therefore, the Panel agrees with prior UDRP panels that the Complainant is required to make out a prima facie case before the burden of production shifts to the Respondent to show that it has rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name in order to meet the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy. See, Croatia Airlines d.d. v. Modern Empire Internet Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2003-0455.

The Panel finds that the Complainant has satisfied this requirement, while the Respondent has failed to file any evidence or make any convincing argument to demonstrate rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name according to the Policy, paragraphs 4(a)(ii) and 4(c).

In its Complaint, the Complainant has provided uncontested prima facie evidence that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests to use the Complainant’s trademark CLAUDIE PIERLOT, especially as the disputed domain name is identical to the Complainant’s trademark which carries a high risk of implied affiliation (see section 2.5.1 of the WIPO Overview 3.0).

There is also no indication in the current record that the Respondent is commonly known by the disputed domain name because the disputed domain name has yet not been actively used except as a parking page. In the absence of a Response, the Respondent has also failed to demonstrate any of the other non-exclusive circumstances evidencing rights or legitimate interests under the Policy, paragraph 4(c) or other evidence of rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

As a conclusion, the Panel finds that the Complainant has also satisfied the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The Panel has no doubt that the Respondent had the Complainant’s trademark in mind when registering the disputed domain name, particularly as the disputed domain name is identical to the Complainant’s CLAUDIE PIERLOT trademark and company name.

Additionally, the Panel finds that the Respondent is using the disputed domain name in bad faith. In this regard, the Panel is of the opinion that the Respondent’s attempt to attract Internet traffic by related sponsored links at the website linked to the disputed domain name is an indication for bad faith under paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.

Also, the Panel finds that the Respondent’s failure to respond to the Complaint also supports the conclusion that it has registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith. The Panel is convinced that, if the Respondent had legitimate purposes in registering and using the disputed domain name, it would have probably responded.

In view of the Panel, all this indicates the Respondent’s bad faith intentions to gain illegitimate benefit by freeriding on the goodwill of the Complainant’s CLAUDIE PIERLOT trademark.

Taking all facts of the case into consideration, the Panel believes that this is a typical cybersquatting case, which the UDRP was designed to stop.

The Panel therefore concludes that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith and that the Complainant has also satisfied the third element of the Policy, namely, 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 disputed domain name <claudiepierlot.co> be transferred to the Complainant.

Kaya Köklü
Sole Panelist
Date: August 3, 2021