WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Victoria Beckham v. Viktor Pavlenko
Case No. D2015-0840
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Victoria Beckham of London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (“Complainant”), represented by Demys Limited, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The Respondent is Viktor Pavlenko of Kharkiv, Ukraine (“Respondent”).
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <victoria-beckham.biz> is registered with PDR Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on May 14, 2015. On May 14, 2015, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On May 15, 2015, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details.
The Center verified that the 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(a) and 4(a), the Center formally notified Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on May 21, 2015. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was June 10, 2015. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on June 11, 2015.
The Center appointed M. Scott Donahey as the sole panelist in this matter on June 15, 2015. 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
Complainant is an English businesswoman, model and singer. Complainant is a fashion designer and a producer of cosmetics and personal care products which are marketed under the VICTORIA BECKHAM trademark. Complaint, Annex 6. Complainant won the Designer Brand of the Year award at the British Fashion Awards 2011. Complaint, Annex 3. Complainant is the registrant of the domain name <victoriabeckham.com>, registered on August 23, 2004. Complainant’s domain name resolves to a web site at which Complainant’s trademarked goods are offered for sale. Complaint, Annex 4.
Complainant is the holder of at least two registered trademarks for VICTORIA BECKHAM issued by the European Union, the earliest of which issued on January 22, 2007. Complaint, Annex 6.
The disputed domain name was registered on December 28, 2014. Complaint, Annex 1. The disputed domain name resolves to a web site at which adult and/or pornographic images and services are offered. The precise web site varies depending on when the disputed domain name is accessed. Complaint, Annex 5.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant alleges that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s VICTORIA BECKHAM mark, that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name, in that Respondent has never been authorized to use Complainant’s mark and that Respondent is not known by the disputed domain name, and that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith in that a user expecting to arrive at a web site associated with Complainant and her fashion designs instead arrives at an adult services and/or pornographic web site, depending on when the disputed domain name is accessed.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 15(a) of the Rules instructs the Panel as to the principles the Panel is to use in determining the dispute: “A Panel shall decide a complaint on the basis of the statements and documents submitted in accordance with the Policy, these Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable.”
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy directs that the complainant must prove each of the following:
1) that the domain name registered by the respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights; and
2) that the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
3) that the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The disputed domain name consists of Complainant’s VICTORIA BECKHAM registered trademark with the insertion of a hyphen between the two words to which is appended the generic Top-Level Domain “.biz”. The Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to registered trademarks owned by Complainant.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The consensus view of WIPO UDRP panelists concerning the burden of establishing no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name is as follows:
While the overall burden of proof rests with the complainant, panels have recognized that this could result in the often impossible task of proving a negative, requiring information that is often primarily within the knowledge of the respondent. Therefore a complainant is required to make out an initial prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests. Once such prima facie case is made, respondent carries the burden of demonstrating rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. If the respondent fails to come forward with such appropriate allegations or evidence, a complainant is generally deemed to have satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the UDRP.
WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Second Edition (“WIPO Overview, 2.0”), Section 2.1.
In the present case Complainant alleges that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain names and Respondent has failed to assert any such rights. Accordingly, the Panel finds that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain names.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Complainant is an internationally known personage, and stories concerning her have been published in newspapers and popular magazines around the world. She is well known for her business acumen and her fashion designs, marketed under her VICTORIA BECKHAM trademark have won prizes and are worn by women internationally. Complainant merchandises her goods online through her domain name <victoriabeckham.com>.
A user who seeks to access the web site(s) to which the disputed domain name resolves would expect to be taken to a web site at which Complainant’s goods are offered for sale. Instead, the user is taken to various web sites at which adult and/or pornographic services are offered. This is a perfect example of registration and use in bad faith as described in paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy. Accordingly, the Panel finds that Respondent is acting in bad faith in the registration and use of the disputed domain name.
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, <victoria-beckham.biz>, be transferred to Complainant.
M. Scott Donahey
Date: June 16, 2015