WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Centre National d’Art et de Culture (CNAC) Georges Pompidou v. Dan Christian, Advertising Local LLC
Case No. D2016-1666
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Centre National d’Art et de Culture (CNAC) Georges Pompidou of Paris, France, represented by Nameshield, France.
The Respondent is Dan Christian, Advertising Local LLC of Reno, Nevada, United States of America.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <centrepompidouparis.com> is registered with GoDaddy.com, LLC (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on August 17, 2016. On August 17, 2016, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On August 17, 2016, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details for the disputed domain name.
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 and 4, the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on August 22, 2016. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was September 11, 2016. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on September 12, 2016.
The Center appointed Luca Barbero as the sole panelist in this matter on September 22, 2016. 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 French national establishment government-owned and subsidized by the Ministry of Culture which is responsible for the organization and management of the building complex located in the Beaubourg area of Paris commonly known as “Centre Pompidou”. The complex houses the National Modern Art Museum, which is the largest museum for modern art in Europe, the Public Information Library, a vast public library and a centre for music and acoustic research.
As of 2006, the Centre Pompidou has had over 180 million visitors since 1977 and more than 5 million visitors in 2013, including 3.8 million for the museum.
The Complainant is the owner of the French trademark registration number 3361209 for CENTRE POMPIDOU, registered on May 25, 2005, in classes 16, 25, 28, 35 and 41, and number 3383544 for CENTRE POMPIDOU-METZ, registered on October 4, 2005, in classes 16, 25, 28, 35 and 41. The Complainant is also the owner of the European Union trademark number 13087374 for CENTRE POMPIDOU, registered on December 9, 2014, in classes 16, 25, 28, 35 and 41.
The Complainant owns several domain names encompassing the trademark CENTRE POMPIDOU, including <centrepompidou.fr>, registered on April 29, 1998; <centrepompidou.com>, registered on April 7, 2002; and <centrepompidou.us>, registered on July 17, 2015.
The Complainant operates its official website at “www.centrepompidou.fr”.
The disputed domain name <centrepompidouparis.com> was registered on July 27, 2009 and is pointed to a website providing information about the Complainant and displaying also sponsored links and banners advertising third-party commercial web sites.
The Complainant sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Respondent, on June 16, 2016, to which the Respondent did not reply.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to its trademarks CENTRE POMPIDOU and CENTRE POMPIDOU-METZ, as it includes CENTRE POMPIDOU in its entirety with the addition of the geographic term “Paris” and the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.com”, which are not sufficient elements to escape the finding of confusing similarity. The Complainant also states that the addition of the term “Paris” increases the confusing similarity and suggests a potential official website of the Complainant.
The Complainant claims that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name since:
- The Respondent is not affiliated with the Complainant and has not been authorized to use the Complainant’s trademarks;
- The Complainant does not carry out any activity for, nor has any business with the Respondent;
- The Respondent failed to reply to the Complainant’s cease-and-desist letter;
- The disputed domain name resolves to a website which provides information in relation with the Complainant, in particular the history and events of the Centre Pompidou, and displays numerous pay per click ads redirecting to external advertising web pages;
- The Respondent reinforces the confusion for the Internet users by abstaining to display a disclaimer or any information explaining that it is not affiliated with the Complainant;
- The Respondent has registered the disputed domain name to attract Internet users by taking an advantage from the use of the Complainant’s trademark in the disputed domain name.
Therefore, the Complainant concludes that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
As to the Respondent’s bad faith registration, the Complainant states that, given the content of its website, the Respondent registered the disputed domain name with full knowledge of the Complainant’s trademark CENTRE POMPIDOU and has used it for the purpose of misleading and diverting Internet traffic.
With reference to the use of the disputed domain name, the Complainant asserts that, in light of the several sponsored links leading to external advertising sites published on the website to which the disputed domain name resolves, the Respondent registered the disputed domain name in an effort to take advantage of the goodwill the Complainant had built up in its CENTRE POMPIDOU trademark, and to unduly benefit from creating a diversion of Internet users looking for the Complainant.
The Complainant therefore contends that the Respondent has used the disputed domain name to intentionally attract visitors for commercial gain by causing confusion with the Complainant’s trademark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of its website.
The Complainant further submits that the Respondent’s bad faith can be inferred from the Respondent’s lack of reply to the cease-and-desist letter sent by the Complainant’s representative prior to the start of the present proceedings.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
According to paragraph 15(a) of the Rules: “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:
(i) that the disputed domain name registered by the Respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights;
(ii) that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and
(iii) that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has provided evidence of ownership of trademark registrations for CENTRE POMPIDOU valid in France and European Union.
As stated in paragraph 1.1 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Second Edition (“WIPO Overview 2.0”), ownership of a trademark generally satisfies the threshold requirement of having trademark rights, the location of the trademark, its date of registration, and the goods and/or services for which it is registered being irrelevant for the purpose of finding rights in a trademark under the first element of the UDRP.
Moreover, as highlighted in paragraph 1.9 of WIPO Overview 2.0, the addition of generic, descriptive, or geographical wording to a trademark in a domain name is normally insufficient in itself to avoid a finding of confusing similarity under the first element of the UDRP.
The disputed domain name entirely reproduces the Complainant’s trademark CENTRE POMPIDOU with the mere addition of the geographic identifier “Paris” and the gTLD suffix “.com”, which are not distinctive features.
In view of the above, the Panel finds that the Complainant has demonstrated that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the trademark CENTRE POMPIDOU in which it has rights as prescribed by paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant is required to make a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests and, once such prima facie case is made, the burden of production shifts to the Respondent to submit appropriate allegations or evidence demonstrating rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. If the Respondent fails to demonstrate rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name in accordance with paragraph 4(c) of the Policy or on any other basis, the Complainant is deemed to have satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy. See Malayan Banking Berhad v. Beauty, Success & Truth International, WIPO Case No. D2008-1393; Accor v. Eren Atesmen, WIPO Case No. D2009-0701, and WIPO Overview 2.0, paragraph 2.1.
The Panel finds that the Complainant has made a prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name and that the Respondent, by not submitting a Response, has failed to demonstrate rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name in accordance with paragraph 4(c) of the Policy.
The Panel notes that, according to the documents submitted by the Complainant and not contested by the Respondent, there is no relationship between the Respondent and the Complainant and the Respondent has not obtained any authorization to use the Complainant’s trademark or the disputed domain name.
In addition, there is also no indication before the Panel that the Respondent might be commonly known by the disputed domain name or that the Respondent might have used, or made preparation to use, the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services prior to receiving notice of the dispute.
Moreover, the Panel finds that the Respondent’s pointing of the disputed domain name to a website providing information about the Complainant and publishing sponsored banners advertising third-party commercial websites does not amount to a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name.
In view of the above, the Panel finds that the requirement prescribed by paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy has been met.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
In light of the prior registration and use of the Complainant’s trademark CENTRE POMPIDOU since decades before the registration of the disputed domain name and the notoriety acquired by the trademark, which corresponds to the name by which the Complainant’s famous complex building in Paris is commonly known, it is unlikely that the Respondent was not aware of the Complainant and its trademark when it registered the disputed domain name, with which it is confusingly similar. The Respondent’s pointing of the disputed domain name to a website publishing information about the Complainant and photographs of the Complainant’s complex building in Paris shows that the Respondent was indeed actually aware of the trademark. Moreover, the combination of the term “Paris” with the Complainant’s trademark in the Respondent’s choice of the disputed domain name is apt to increase confusion since the Complainant and its building complex are indeed located in Paris.
As highlighted in the previous paragraphs, the Respondent has pointed the disputed domain name to a website where information about the Complainant is published along with several sponsored links advertising third-party commercial websites. In light of the above and in the absence of any disclaimer informing users about the absence of affiliation with the Complainant, the Panel finds that the Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract Internet users to its website for commercial gain by causing a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s trademark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of the Respondent’s website, according to paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.
In view of the foregoing, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
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 <centrepompidouparis.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: October 6, 2016