WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Amazon Europe Core S.à.r.l. v. Daniel Tudor
Case No. DRO2018-0001
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Amazon Europe Core S.à.r.l. of Luxembourg, Luxembourg, represented by ZMP (Zivko Mijatovic & Partners), Romania.
The Respondent is Daniel Tudor of Bucharest, Romania.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <amazon-romania.ro> is registered with ROTLD (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint in English was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on February 8, 2018. On February 8, 2018, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On February 9, 2018, 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. In response to a notification by the Center that the Complaint was administratively deficient, the Complainant filed an amended Complaint on February 16, 2018.
Pursuant to the Complaint submitted in English and the registrar verification dated February 9, 2018 stating that Romanian is the language of the registration agreement of the disputed domain name, on February 15, 2018, the Center sent a request in English and Romanian for the Parties to submit their comments on the language of the proceeding. On February 16, 2018, the Complainant submitted its request for English to be the language of the proceeding. The Respondent did not submit any comment regarding the language of the proceeding.
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 February 23, 2018. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was March 15, 2018. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on March 19, 2018.
The Center appointed Marilena Comanescu as the sole panelist in this matter on March 28, 2018. 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 Amazon Europe Core S.a.r.l. is the corporate office of Amazon.com, Inc. (doing business as Amazon), which is one of the world’s largest online retailers. In 2017, the Complainant was listed as the fourth most valuable public company in the world, as well as the largest Internet retailer in the world measured by revenue and market capitalization, and second largest in terms of total sales. The Complainant asserts it is also the world’s largest provider of cloud infrastructure services.
AMAZON is one of the top-ranking global trademarks, being ranked in 2017 as number 5 on Interbrand’s list of “Best Global Brands 2017”, respectively as number 6 in the FORBES ranking of the “World’s Most Valuable Brands”.
The Complainant owns numerous registered trademarks in many jurisdictions around the world for or including the word “amazon”, such as the following:
- the European Union Trademark registration no. 008543886 for the word AMAZON filed on September 11, 2009 and registered on March 30, 2010 for services in International Classes 41, 42, 45; and
- the International Trademark registration no. 751641 for the word AMAZON registered on September 15, 2000 for goods and services in International Classes 1 - 42.
The Complainant operates under numerous websites including “amazon” term, such as from the domain names <amazon.com> (the main website), <amazon.fr>, <amazon.ro> or <amazon.co.uk>.
The disputed domain name <amazon-romania.ro> was registered on May 29, 2017.
At the time of filing the Complaint, the disputed domain name resolved and still resolves to a webpage presenting an interface with a banner, in Romanian, which invites visitors to subscribe, reading “We compare the prices together. Subscribe to our newsletter and be the first to enjoy the launching of Amazon Romania”. Except for such interface, there is no content on the website and the icons displayed are inactive. The Panel tried to subscribe and received an automatic email reply confirming the registration to “Amazon Romania” and stating: “Hello, Thank you for subscribing to Amazon Romania news. You are part of the lucky ones who will enjoy the first of the lowest prices. See you soon!” and confirming the contact details provided when subscribing.
According to evidence provided as Annex J to the Complaint, prior to filing the Complaint, the Respondent made an Internet public release stating that the website corresponding to the disputed domain name is intended to become an engine for comparing prices of millions of products/services offered for sale in the Romanian online shops, as well as to check the reviews regarding the quality of the goods/services and the reliability of the sellers.
Also, in the document provided as Annex J to Complaint, the Panel could read the likely explanation offered by the Respondent for choosing the term “amazon” in the disputed domain name, as deriving in fact from the Amazon river, comparing the high flow volume of the river with the large volume of products to be marketed in Romania.
The Respondent failed to provide a response to the present proceeding. Also, the Respondent did not react to Complainant’s cease-and-desist letters sent prior to commencing this UDRP proceeding.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to its well-known trademark AMAZON as it incorporates such mark together with the geographical term “Romania”, that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name and that the Respondent registered and uses the disputed domain name in bad faith.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
In view of the Respondent’s default, the discussion and findings will be based upon the contentions in the Complaint and any reasonable position that can be attributable to the Respondent. Under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, a complainant can only succeed in an administrative proceeding under the Policy if the following circumstances are met:
(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 the disputed domain name; and
(iii) the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Panel will further analyze the potential concurrence of the above circumstances.
6.1. Language of the Proceeding
The Complainant has requested that the language of proceeding be English and the Respondent did not react to the Center’s email related to the language of the proceeding, nor provided any Response in any language whatsoever.
Under paragraph 11 of the Rules, the language of the proceeding is the language of the registration agreement of the disputed domain name, unless both parties agree otherwise, or the Panel determines otherwise based on one party’s request. The Panel decides that proceeding should be conducted in another language generally when it is necessary due to different nationalities of the parties and when the complainant does not understand the language of the registration agreement and it would therefore be unfairly disadvantaged by the fact that it must translate all the documents involved in such proceeding.
In the present proceeding, the Complainant does not understand Romanian. The Respondent, having been notified of the present proceeding in both English and Romanian, has failed to file a Response, or to comment on the language of the proceeding. The Panel considers that the Complainant will only be disadvantaged if required to translate the Complaint into Romanian and the proceeding will be unduly delayed.
For all the above, the Panel decides that English is the language of the proceeding.
6.2. Substantive Issues
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant holds rights in the AMAZON trademark. The disputed domain name <amazon-romania.ro> reproduces the Complainant’s trademark AMAZON in its entirety with the addition of the geographical term “Romania”. Such addition does not eliminate the confusing similarity between the disputed domain name and the Complainant’s AMAZON trademark since the dominant and distinctive part of the disputed domain name remains the Complainant’s trademark.
Numerous UDRP panels have considered that the addition of other terms (whether descriptive, geographical, meaningless or otherwise) to trademarks in a domain name is not sufficient to escape a finding of confusing similarity. See section 1.8 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”).
Further, it is well established in decisions under the UDRP that the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) (e.g., “.com”, “.info”, “.site”, “.org”), being a technical requirement may typically be disregarded for the purpose of consideration of confusing similarity between a trademark and a domain name. See also section 1.11.1 of the WIPO Overview 3.0.
Given the above, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark AMAZON, pursuant to the Policy, paragraph 4(a)(i).
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant asserts that it has given no license or other right to use or register its trademark to the Respondent, that the Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name and that the Respondent has not used the disputed domain name in connection with a legitimate noncommercial or fair use or a bona fide offering of goods and services.
Under the Policy, “where a complainant makes out a prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests, the burden of production on this element shifts to the respondent to come forward with relevant evidence demonstrating rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. If the respondent fails to come forward with such relevant evidence, the complainant is deemed to have satisfied the second element”. See section 2.1 of the WIPO Overview 3.0.
Except for the interface announcing the launching of “Amazon Romania” and the invitation to subscribe, the Respondent is not actively using the disputed domain name <amazon-romania.ro> as no further information can be obtained from the inactive icons.
From the press release provided as Annex J to the Complaint, the Respondent seems to have intended to use the disputed domain name in relation to online services related to price comparison for various goods.
In the same time, the Complainant is famous worldwide for its online services in relation to various goods and services, therefore, such activity that Respondent intends to perform is competing with Complainant’s own business.
The Respondent has not replied to the Complainant’s contentions and has not come forward with relevant evidence to rebut the Complainant’s prima facie case.
There is nothing in record suggesting that the Respondent has ever been commonly known by the disputed domain name.
Also, this Panel finds the Respondent’s explanation improbable of the potential choice of the word “amazon” in the disputed domain name as deriving from the homonym river having in view particularly of the uncontested world fame of the Complainant’s business under the AMAZON trademark on one side and the business in which the Respondent seems to be interested on the other side.
Consequently, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, pursuant to the Policy, paragraph 4(a)(ii).
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Complainant holds trademark rights for AMAZON since at least 2000 and is using it extensively internationally.
The disputed domain name was created in 2017 and incorporates Complainant’s mark together with the country name Romania.
At the time of filing the Complaint, the disputed domain name <amazon-romania.ro> resolves to an interface inviting Internet users to subscribe to “Amazon Romania” which will be launched soon. No active icons are available.
The press release provided as Annex J to Complaint presents what seems to be the further intended use of the disputed domain name, which is for services competing with those offered by the Complainant under AMAZON trademark.
Thus, the Internet users searching for the Complainant would acces the website corresponding to the disputed domain name <amazon-romania.ro> erroneously considering it belongs or is somehow associated with or endorsed by the Complainant. Accordingly, the Panel finds here applicable the provisions of paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy which provides that the use of a domain name to intentionally attempt “to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to [the respondent’s] website or other online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of [the respondent’s] website or location or of a product or service on [the respondent’s] website or location” is evidence of registration and use in bad faith.
The Complainant’s trademark AMAZON is distinctive and one of the world’s most valuable marks. The Respondent was properly notified by the Center with regard to the commencement of the present proceeding but it remained silent. Also, the Respondent did not react to Complainant’s cease-and-desist letters sent prior to commencing this proceeding. Furthermore, the contact details offered by the Respondent in the WhoIs are inaccurate.
For all the above reasons, the Panel finds that the Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith, pursuant to the Policy, paragraph 4(a)(iii).
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 <amazon-romania.ro> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: April 4, 2018