The Complainant is AB Electrolux of Stockholm, Sweden, represented by SILKA Law AB, Sweden.
The Respondent is Uosof Nasrolahi of Tehran, Afghanistan.
The disputed domain name <aeg.company> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with OnlineNic, Inc. (the “Registrar”).
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on February 1, 2017. On February 2, 2017, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On February 3, 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 February 6, 2017. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was February 26, 2017. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on February 27, 2017.
The Center appointed Jacob (Changjie) Chen as the sole panelist in this matter on March 9, 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.
The complainant is a Swedish company founded in 1901 and specializes in producing appliances and equipment for kitchen, cleaning and floor care products. The Complainant is the owner of numerous AEG trademarks worldwide, inter alia, International Trademark Registration No. 802025, which was registered on December 18, 2002.
The Domain Name was registered on April 5, 2016. When the Panel renders this decision, the Domain Name is inactive and does not resolve to any website.
The Complainant contends that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark AEG. The Domain Name entirely incorporates the Complainant’s trademark. The addition of the Top-Level suffix “.company” does not add any distinctiveness to the Domain Name.
The Complainant further contends that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name. The Respondent is not commonly known by the Domain Name. There is no evidence that use of the Domain Name is in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. The Domain Name was used to display the Complainant’s competitor’s logo, which is not a legitimate use of the Domain Name.
The Complainant finally contends that the Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith. The Complainant’s mark is well-known so it is highly unlikely that the Respondent was not aware of the Complainant’s trademark rights when registering the Domain Name. The Respondent intentionally chose the Domain Name based on the Complainant’s registered and well-known trademark but did not disclaim on the website of the Domain Name the non-existing relationship between itself and the Complainant. Consequently, the Respondent is using the Domain Name to intentionally attempt to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to the website, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s trademark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of its website. This inference of bad faith registration and use of the Domain Name is also given by the fact that the Respondent never replied to the Complainant’s cease-and-desist letter.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
The Panel is satisfied that the Complainant has established its rights to the trademark AEG, inter alia, International Trademark Registration No. 802025, which was registered on December 18, 2002.
Paragraph 1.2 of WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Second Edition (“WIPO Overview 2.0”) makes it clear that the applicable top-level suffix in the domain name (e.g., “.com”) would usually be disregarded under the confusing similarity test (as it is a technical requirement of registration), except in certain cases where the applicable top-level suffix may itself form part of the relevant trademark. Hence when assessing the similarity between the Domain Name and the Complainant’s trademark, the top-level suffix “.company” is disregarded. The Panel finds that the Domain Name is identical to the AEG mark.
Therefore the Panel finds that the first element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy has been fulfilled.
A complainant is required to make out a prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests. Once such prima facie case is made, the burden of production shifts to the respondent to come forward with appropriate allegations or evidence 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 Policy.
In the current case, the Panel holds that the Complainant has made out a prima facie case and the burden of production therefore shifts to the Respondent. Failure of the Respondent to make any reply to the Complainant’s contentions with rebuttal evidence enables the Panel to draw the conclusion that the Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name.
Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy sets out three circumstances which demonstrate a respondent’s rights or legitimate interests in a domain name. The Panel, upon evaluating the evidence presented, does not find the Respondent or its use of the Domain Name falls within any of the circumstances or finds any other rights or legitimate interests.
Accordingly the Panel concludes that the Complaint has satisfied the second element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.
The Panel is inclined to follow a number of previous decisions that have recognized the well-known status of the Complainant’s AEG mark. See AB Electrolux v. Paliz Co., Network Supporters Co.Ltd, WIPO Case No. D2009-1225 and AB Electrolux v. CHervinchuk Maksim Nikolaevich, WIPO Case No. D2015-1328. The Panel is confident that it is unlikely that the Respondent was not aware of the Complainant’s well-known mark AEG when registering the Domain Name, in particular that the Domain Name was registered much later than the Complainant acquired its trademark rights. Despite this, the Respondent has failed to come up with evidences to justify its registration of the Domain Name identical to the Complainant’s well-known mark, the Panel hence views that the Respondent registered the Domain Name in bad faith. See Vakko Holding Anonim Sti v. Esat Ist, WIPO Case No. D2001-1173.
Although the Domain Name does not resolve to any website when this decision is made, the Panel determines that this passive holding of the Domain Name does not prevent the Panel from finding the Respondent’s bad faith in registration and use of the Domain Name after examining the following circumstances in the present case:
(1) The Domain Name used to resolve to a website that displayed the products and logo of a direct competitor of the Complainant;
(2) The Complainant sent a cease-and-desist letter, followed with two reminders, to the Respondent to inform the Complainant’s rights in the AEG mark and require transfer of the Domain Name;
(3) The Respondent did not respond to the Complainant’s cease-and-desist letter, nor did he make any response to the Complaint with rebuttal evidence.
Taking into account of all the above, the Panel views that the Respondent has, by registering and using the Domain Name, intentionally attempted to trade on the Complainant’s fame to direct traffic to the website of the Domain Name for commercial gain by creating a likelihood of confusion and misrepresentation as to its affiliation to the Complainant. Under these circumstances, it is implausible that the registration and use of the Domain Name can be legitimate.
As such the Panel holds that the Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith, therefore the Complainant has established the third element of paragraph 4(a) 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 Domain Name, <aeg.company>, be transferred to the Complainant.
Jacob (Changjie) Chen
Date: March 25, 2017
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