WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Arcelormittal (SA) v. Flor Walden
Case No. DPW2019-0002
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Arcelormittal (SA), Luxembourg, represented by Nameshield, France.
The Respondent is Flor Walden, France.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <arcelormittal-groupe.pw> is registered with NameCheap, Inc. (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on April 1, 2019. On April 1, 2019, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On April 2, 2019, 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 April 8, 2019, 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 April 9, 2019.
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 April 12, 2019. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was May 2, 2019. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on May 6, 2019.
The Center appointed Fabrizio Bedarida as the sole panelist in this matter on May 15, 2019. 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, Arcelormittal (SA), is the largest steel producing company in the world and is the market leader in steel for use in automotive, construction, household appliances and packaging, with operations in more than 60 countries. It holds sizeable captive supplies of raw materials and operates extensive distribution networks.
The Complainant has proven to be the owner of the ARCELORMITTAL mark, which enjoys comprehensive protection through many registrations thereof worldwide.
The Complainant is inter alia the owner of International trademark no. 947686 ARCELORMITTAL, registered on August 3, 2007.
Moreover, the Complainant is also the owner of an important domain name portfolio, including the same distinctive wording ARCELORMITTAL, such as the domain name <arcelormittal.com> which was registered on and has been in use since January 26, 2006.
The disputed domain name was registered on March 28, 2019 and for a certain period of time it resolved to a registrar parking page with commercial links. Currently the disputed domain name does not resolve to any active website.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant claims that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s ARCELORMITTAL 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.
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 and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has established rights in the ARCELORMITTAL trademark.
The disputed domain name <arcelormittal-groupe.pw> consists of the mark ARCELORMITTAL, with the simple addition of the term “groupe” (meaning “group”).
This Panel agrees with the Complainant’s assertion that the addition of the descriptive term “groupe” is not enough to avoid confusing similarity with the ARCELORMITTAL trademark.
In fact, it has already been held by previous UDRP panels that the addition of other terms (whether descriptive, geographical, pejorative, meaningless, or otherwise) would not prevent a finding of confusing similarity between a domain name and a complainant’s trademark. Indeed, the Complainant’s trademark is clearly recognizable in the disputed domain name. See section 1.8 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”).
Therefore, the Panel finds the disputed domain name to be confusingly similar to the trademark ARCELORMITTAL 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 out a prima facie case that the Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Respondent has no connection to 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. In addition, the Respondent does not appear to be commonly known by the disputed domain name or by a similar name. Moreover, the Respondent has not replied to the Complainant’s contentions to claim 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 and Used in Bad Faith
Based on the evidence put forward by the Complainant, the Panel is of the opinion that the Respondent was aware of the Complainant’s trademark registrations and rights to the ARCELORMITTAL mark when the Respondent registered the disputed domain name.
In fact, the Complainant’s trademark is a fancy name which has been registered and used for several years all over the world. It enjoys a widespread reputation and high degree of recognition, including in France where the Respondent appears to reside; and as a result of its fame and renown the ARCELORMITTAL mark is not one that traders could legitimately adopt other than for the purpose of creating the impression of an association with the Complainant.
Therefore, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, the Panel finds that the Respondent knew of the Complainant’s mark and intentionally intended to create an association with the Complainant and its business, and that the Respondent must have had actual knowledge of the Complainant’s trademark at the time of the registration of the disputed domain name.
The Panel finds that the current use (or rather, non-use) of the disputed domain name amounts to a passive holding of the same, and that this is a further inference of bad faith use in the circumstances of the case.
Finally the Respondent never replied to the Complainant’s claims brought in this proceeding. Indeed, owing to the fact that the Respondent has not responded to, let alone denied, the assertions of bad faith made by the Complainant in this proceeding, it is reasonable to assume that if the Respondent had legitimate purposes for registering and using the disputed domain name then the Respondent would have responded to these assertions.
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.
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 <arcelormittal-groupe.pw> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: May 23, 2019