WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Inter IKEA Systems BV (IISBV) v. Ali Armon

Case No. DIR2017-0018

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Inter IKEA Systems BV (IISBV) of Amsterdam, Netherlands, represented Saba & Co. IP, Lebanon.

The Respondent is Ali Armon of Isfahan, Islamic Republic of Iran.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <ikea-esfahan.ir> is registered with IRNIC.

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on August 31, 2017. On August 31, 2017, the Center transmitted by email to IRNIC a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On September 3, 2017, IRNIC transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details. Hard copies of the Complaint were received by the Center on September 14, 2017.

The Center verified that the Complaint satisfied the formal requirements of the .ir Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the "Policy" or "irDRP"), the Rules for .ir Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the "Rules"), and the WIPO Supplemental Rules for .ir 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 September 15, 2017. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was October 5, 2017. On October 6, 2017, the Center notified the Respondent's default.

The Center appointed Fabrizio Bedarida as the sole panelist in this matter on October 10, 2017. 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 the owner of the IKEA Concept and the IKEA Retail System, which is franchised to IKEA Retailers worldwide. The Complainant is a Dutch company whose franchisees sell ready-to-assemble furniture and related products such as beds, desks, appliances and home accessories. The Complainant's franchising network comprises the world's largest furniture retail chain. IKEA retailers operate 395 stores in 50 countries and collectively make up the world's largest network of furniture retailers.

The Complainant's IKEA trademarks and trade name are one of the most well-known trademarks and trade names in the world.

The Complainant has proven to be the owner of the IKEA trademark, which enjoys protection through numerous registrations worldwide.

The Complainant is, inter alia, the owner of the following IKEA trademarks in the Islamic Republic of Iran, where the Respondent is based:

- Iranian trademark IRANIKEA number 131437, registered on May 1, 2006, in classes 11, 17, and 20.

- Iranian trademark IKEA & device in Persian characters, number 125525, registered on October 18, 2005.

- Iranian trademark IKEA & device in Latin characters, number 125527, registered on October 18, 2005.

The disputed domain name <ikea-esfahan.ir> was registered on December 22, 2015. While the corresponding website "www.ikea-esfahan.ir" is no longer reachable, it appears that previously it was used to offer products bearing the IKEA mark for sale at the disputed domain name and through a store operating in Esfahan. Both on the website and in the Esfahan store the IKEA trademarks and the IKEA logo were prominently displayed.

The Complainant's trademark registrations predate the registration of the disputed domain name.

5. Parties' Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant claims that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant's registered trademark; that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests whatsoever with respect to the disputed domain name; and that the Respondent 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

In order for the Complainant to obtain a transfer of the disputed domain name, paragraphs 4(a)(i) – (iii) of the Policy require that the Complainant must demonstrate to 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; 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 or is being used in bad faith.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Complainant has established rights in the IKEA, IRANIKEA and IKEA & device trademarks.

The disputed domain name consists of the IKEA trademark with the addition of a "-" and the geographical term "Esfahan". This Panel agrees with the Complainant's assertion that the addition of the geographical term "Esfahan" and "-" in the disputed domain name is irrelevant in countering the confusing similarity between the Complainant's renowned IKEA trademark and the disputed domain name.

Therefore, the Panel finds the disputed domain name to be confusingly similar to the IKEA trademark in which the Complainant has rights.

Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Complainant has satisfied paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

This Panel finds that the Complainant has made a prima facie case that the Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Respondent does not appear to be commonly known by the name "Ikea" or by any similar name. The Respondent has no connection or affiliation with the Complainant, and the Complainant has not licensed or otherwise authorized the Respondent to use or register any domain name incorporating the Complainant's trademark. The Respondent does not appear to make any legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name, nor any use in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. Indeed, the Respondent is using the disputed domain name to direct Internet users to a website that mirrors the Complainant's website. Owing to the above facts, the Panel can think of no possible legitimate justification for this use, and the Respondent has not come forward with any explanation that demonstrates any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. In fact, the Respondent has not replied to the Complainant's contentions, claiming any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Complainant has satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.

C. Registered or Used in Bad Faith

The Panel notes that according to the irDRP, a complainant is required to show that a respondent registered or subsequently used the domain name at issue in bad faith. In the present case, however, the Panel, on the basis of the evidence presented, finds that the Respondent has registered and also used the disputed domain name in bad faith under paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.

In fact, the Complainant has provided sufficient evidence that the Respondent was using the disputed domain name to direct Internet users to a website that, while mirroring the Complainant's website, was offering products bearing the IKEA mark for sale.

Thus the Respondent's knowledge of the IKEA mark is particularly obvious, given that the Respondent was offering products bearing the IKEA mark for sale at the disputed domain name and through a store operating in Esfahan. Consequently, the Panel finds that the Respondent knew of the Complainant's marks and intentionally intended to create an association with the Complainant and its business at the time of registration of the disputed domain name.

The Panel finds that this use of the disputed domain name constitutes bad faith use. In addition, the above-mentioned use of the disputed domain name, also confirms that the Respondent knew of the Complainant's trademarks, products and services when registering the disputed domain name, and this constitutes bad faith registration.

In addition, the IKEA trademark is a fanciful name with no meaning and thus is not one that traders could legitimately adopt other than for the purpose of creating the impression of an association with the Complainant.

Further inference of bad faith registration and use of the disputed domain name is given by the fact that the Respondent has also registered another domain name comprising the IKEA trademark, i.e., <ikea-esfahan.com>, which was also used to mislead the Internet public. In fact, the disputed domain name <ikea-esfahan.ir> was redirected to <ikea-esfahan.com> whenever visitors tried to view the specifications of a product or tried to purchase same.

Finally, the Respondent never replied to the Complainant's cease-and-desist letter. Indeed, owing to the fact that the Respondent has not denied the assertions of bad faith made by the Complainant in the pre-action communications and in this proceeding, it is reasonable to assume that if the Respondent had legitimate purposes for registering and using the disputed domain name, he would have responded to them.

Accordingly, the Panel finds, on the basis of the evidence presented, that the Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith.

Therefore, the Complainant has satisfied 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 <ikea-esfahan.ir> be transferred to the Complainant.

Fabrizio Bedarida
Sole Panelist
Date: October 16, 2017