WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Whirlpool Properties, Inc. v. Robabeh Behroozi Bavil Oliyayi
Case No. DIR2020-0026
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Whirlpool Properties, Inc., United States of America, represented by Saba & Co. IP, Lebanon.
The Respondent is Robabeh Behroozi Bavil Oliyayi, Iran (Islamic Republic of).
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <whirlpool.ir> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with IRNIC.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on December 7, 2020. On December 7, 2020, the Center transmitted by email to IRNIC a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On December 9, 2020, IRNIC 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 .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 December 15, 2020. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was January 4, 2021. On January 5, 2021, the Center notified the Respondent’s default.
The Center appointed Mathias Lilleengen as the sole panelist in this matter on January 14, 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 multinational manufacturer of home appliances, with an annual revenue of approximately USD 21 billion, 92,000 employees, and more than 70 manufacturing and technology research centers around the world.
The Complainant holds a lot of trademark registrations for WHIRLPOOL and “Whirlpool” variants in many countries, such as Iranian trademark number 139550140001072043, dated January 23, 2017, registered on June 7, 2017 and number 190020844 dated May 2, 2011.
According to the Registry, the Domain Name was registered on May 16, 2019. At the time of drafting the Decision, the Domain Name redirected to a website in Persian language that offers the Domain Name for sale.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant argues that the Domain Name incorporates the distinctive part of the Complainant’s trademark WHIRLPOOL. Therefore, the Domain Name is at least confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark. The country code Top-Level Domain (“ccTLD”) “.ir” does not serve to distinguish the Domain Name from the Complainant’s mark.
The Complainant asserts that the Respondent has never been authorized to use the Domain Name. There is no evidence that the Respondent has been commonly known by the Domain Name, or use of the Domain Name or a name corresponding to the Domain Name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services, or is making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the Domain Name. On the contrary, there is no justification for the Respondent’s registration of the Domain Name. It is an infringement and commercial exploitation of the WHIRLPOOL trademark.
The Complainant argues that that the Respondent must have known of the Complainant when the Respondent registered the Domain Name. The Respondent’s lack of use to an active website does not strip the Respondent from bad faith, Telstra Corporation Limited v. Nuclear Marshmallows, WIPO Case No. D2000-0003. The fame of the Complainant’s trademark is such that it is difficult to conceive that the Respondent could have a legitimate purpose in registering the Domain Name other than to create a false impression of an association with the Complainant. Moreover, the Respondent has failed to respond to the Complainant’s warning letter.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has established trademark rights. The test for confusing similarity involves the comparison between the trademark and the Domain Name. In this case, the Domain Name is identical to the Complainant’s trademark. It is permissible for the Panel to ignore the ccTLD “.ir”, see WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), section 1.11.1
The Panel finds that the Domain Name is identical to a trademark in which the Complainant has rights in accordance with paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant has made unrebutted assertions that it has not granted any authorization to the Respondent to register a domain name containing the Complainant’s trademark or otherwise make use of the trademark. The Respondent is not affiliated or related to the Complainant in any way. There is no evidence that the Respondent has registered the Domain Name as a trademark or acquired other type of rights. The Domain Name redirects to a website that offers the Domain Name for sale.
The Panel finds 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 or Used in Bad Faith
Noting that the Domain Name is identical to the Complainant’s trademark (which predates the registration of the Domain Name), the Panel concludes on the balance of probability that the Respondent knew of the Complainant and its business when the Respondent registered the Domain Name.
The Domain Name was offered for sale on the website to which the Domain name redirected. Moreover, the Respondent has not responded to the Complainant’s contentions.
The Panel concludes that the Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith, within the meaning of paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.
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 <whirlpool.ir> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: January 20, 2021
1 Noting the substantive similarities between the Policy and the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (“UDRP”), the Panel has referred to WIPO Overview 3.0, where appropriate.