WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Carrefour v. Jan Everno, The Management Group II
Case No. D2017-0586
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Carrefour of Boulogne-Billancourt, France, represented by Dreyfus & associés, France.
The Respondent is Jan Everno, The Management Group II of Grandville, Michigan, United States of America (“US”).
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <carrefourenligne.com> is registered with Domainer Names LLC (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on March 23, 2017. On March 23, 2017, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On March 30, 2017, 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.
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 April 3, 2017. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was April 23, 2017. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on April 25, 2017.
The Center appointed Daniel Kraus as the sole panelist in this matter on May 8, 2017. 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 Carrefour Group is a leading retailer in Europe, employing more than 380,000 people. It counts more than 11,500 stores in more than 30 countries. The Group operates in Europe, Latin America and Asia, generating more than 53% of its sales outside France.
The Complainant is in particular the owner of the following trademark registrations:
- International trademark CARREFOUR n° 563304, dated November 6, 1990 and duly renewed, covering goods and services in classes 1-42;
- European trademark CARREFOUR n° 8779498, filed on December 23, 2009 and registered on July 13, 2010 covering services in class 35;
- French trademark CARREFOUR n° 1565338, dated December 8, 1989, and duly renewed, covering goods in classes 1-34.
In addition, the Complainant and its affiliates operate, amongst others, the following domain names reflecting its trademark:
- <carrefour.com> registered on October 25, 1995;
- <carrefour.fr> registered on June 23, 2005;
The disputed domain name was registered by the Respondent on November 1, 2016, and resolves to different websites, such as a website with sponsored links to third-parties’ websites, a Facebook page or a blank page.
Having noticed that the disputed domain name <carrefourenligne.com> had been registered by the Respondent, the Complainant tried to resolve the present dispute amicably. On December 9, 2016, the Complainant sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Respondent, via registered letter and email on the basis of its trademark rights. The cease-and-desist letter requested the Respondent to cease the use of the disputed domain name and to transfer it free of charge to the Complainant. No response was obtained from the Respondent despite several reminders. It is only consequently that the Complainant initiated an UDRP procedure against the Respondent in order to obtain the transfer of the disputed domain name.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is identical or at least confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark CARREFOUR. The Complainant owns numerous trademark registrations for the trademark CARREFOUR including two international registrations. The disputed domain name reproduces the well-known trademark CARREFOUR in its entirety. This alone is sufficient to meet the test of being identical or confusingly similar. The disputed domain name indeed incorporates the term “enligne”; however this is a generic term and hence does not eliminate confusing similarity. On the contrary, in the case at hand, the use of the term “enligne”, which means “online” in French, increases the chances of creating confusing similarity as the Complainant is in the retail business. The generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.com” should be ignored when making an assessment on this point.
The Complainant further contends that the Respondent has no rights nor legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name. The Complainant did not authorize the use of its trademark by the Respondent who is not affiliated with the Complainant. As the trademark is well-known and has been used by the Respondent without authorization, a bona fide use of the disputed domain name cannot be envisaged. Furthermore, the website to which the disputed domain name resolves includes sponsored links. In addition, the Respondent did not respond to the cease-and-desist letter of the Complainant.
The Complainant also contends that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith. The disputed domain name was registered in bad faith as the Respondent knew or must have known of the Complainant’s trademark. This must be the case given the reputation of the Complainant and its trademark CARREFOUR around the world. The Respondent is using the disputed domain name in bad faith as the trademark CARREFOUR is well-known and it is being used by the Respondent without the authorization of the Complainant. Furthermore, the Respondent is using the Complainant’s trademark to attract Internet users to its website which displays commercial links. In addition, the Respondent has registered around 11,678 domain names among which some appear to be of pornographic nature. Thus, the Respondent seems to have engaged in a cybersquatting pattern of conduct.
Lastly, the Respondent did not respond to the Complainant’s letter.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant owns several international, European and national trademark registrations for the trademark CARREFOUR. The Panel is satisfied that the Complainant has established its ownership of said trademark.
The disputed domain name comprises the Complainant’s trademark CARREFOUR combined with the descriptive term “enligne”. The latter does not eliminate the confusing similarity with the trademark CARREFOUR. On the contrary: The use of the term “enligne” creates the impression of being affiliated with the Complainant as the Complainant operates in the retail sector and such a domain name could very well lead to the online portal of the Complainant.
Besides, the gTLD “.com” should typically be ignored when assessing confusing similarity as established by prior UDRP decisions.
Consequently, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the trademark of the Complainant and that the Complainant has satisfied paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant has made a prima facie showing that the Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, particularly by asserting that it never authorized the Respondent to use its trademark as part of the disputed domain name.
The Panel further finds that the Respondent is not making a bona fide offering of goods and services as the disputed domain name resolves to different websites, such as a website with sponsored links to third-parties’ websites, a Facebook page or a blank page.
The Respondent has not provided evidence of circumstances of the types specified in paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, or of any other circumstances, giving rise to rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
Consequently, the Panel finds that the Complainant has met the requirement under the Policy of showing that the Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Accordingly, the Complainant has satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Several UDRP panels already have had the opportunity to consider the trademark CARREFOUR as a well-known trademark worldwide among the retail industry (see, inter alia, Carrefour v. Ali Fetouh, Fasateen, WIPO Case No. D2017-0089; Carrefour v. Tony Mancini, USDIET Whoisguard, Inc, WIPO Case No. D2015-0962; Carrefour v. VistaPrint Technologies Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2015-0769; Carrefour v. Park KyeongSook, WIPO Case No. D2014-1425; Carrefour v. Yujinhua, WIPO Case No. D2014-0257; Carrefour v. Karin Krueger, WIPO Case No. D2013-2002; Carrefour S.A. v. Patrick Demestre, WIPO Case No. D2011-2248; Carrefour v. groupe Carrefour, WIPO Case No. D2008-1996; Carrefour SA contre Eric Langlois, WIPO Case No. D2007-0067). This is also the view of the present Panel. This Panel further is of the opinion that the Respondent must have been fully aware of the Complainant and its trademark when it registered the disputed domain name, and thereby registered the disputed domain name in bad faith.
The bad faith use of the disputed domain name is clear from the fact that the trademark CARREFOUR is being used by the Respondent with the aim of attracting Internet traffic to its website with the intent of commercial gain. Further evidence of bad faith, as held by previous UDRP panels, is the failure of the Respondent to respond to the cease-and-desist letter sent by the Complainant.
Such conduct clearly falls within the meaning of paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy, and accordingly, the Panel finds that 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 <carrefourenligne.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: May 22, 2017