The Complainant is Carrefour of Boulogne-Billancourt, France, represented by Dreyfus & associés, France.
The Respondent is Atome Tech, Anderson Anonzo of Douala, Cameroon.
The disputed domain name <carrefour.africa> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with 101domain GRS Limited (the “Registrar”).
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on November 7, 2017. The Center sent its request for registrar verification to the Registrar the same day. The Registrar replied on November 9, 2017, confirming that the Domain Name is registered with it, that the Respondent is the current registrant, that the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Policy” or “UDRP”) applies, that the registration language is English, and that the Domain Name was registered on August 2, 2017 and expires on August 2, 2018. The Registrar provided the contact details for the Domain Name held on its database.
The Center verified that the Complaint satisfied the formal requirements of the 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 paragraphs 2 and 4 of the Rules, the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on November 28, 2017. In accordance with paragraph 5 of the Rules, the due date for Response was December 18, 2017. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on December 19, 2017.
The Center appointed Jonathan Turner as the sole panelist in this matter on January 8, 2018. The Panel has submitted the Statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality and Independence, as required by the Center to ensure compliance with paragraph 7 of the Rules. Having reviewed the file, the Panel is satisfied that the Complaint complied with applicable formal requirements, was duly notified to the Respondent and has been submitted to a properly constituted Panel in accordance with the UDRP, the Rules and Supplemental Rules.
The Complainant’s group is a major, international retailer, operating nearly 12,000 stores and e-commerce sites in more than 30 countries, employing more than 380,000 people and generating total sales of over EUR 100 billion in 2016 under the mark CARREFOUR. The Complainant has numerous registrations of the mark CARREFOUR around the world, including the International Mark No. 351147 in classes 1-34, registered on October 2, 1968.
The Complainant entered into a partnership in May 2013 with a leading African retail group to open supermarkets and hypermarkets in eight African countries including Cameroon. The Complainant also has operations in a number of other African countries.
As mentioned above, the Domain Name was registered on August 2, 2017 by the Respondent, which is based in Cameroon. The Domain Name resolves to an inactive web page. The Complainant sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Respondent on August 30, 2017. The Respondent replied on September 5, 2017 informing the Complainant that it would transfer the Domain Name to the Complainant for USD 35,000.
The Complainant contends that it has rights in the mark CARREFOUR by virtue of its registrations of this mark and its reputation under it. The Complainant further submits that the Domain Name is identical or at least confusingly similar to this mark.
The Complainant maintains that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name. The Complainant states that the Respondent is not affiliated in any way with it and has not been authorized or licensed to use or register the Domain Name or any corresponding name. The Complainant also notes that the Domain Name resolves to an inactive web page and that the Respondent has not made any use or demonstrable preparations to use it. The Complainant adds that the Respondent is a cyber-squatter associated with more than 70 domain names replicating international trademarks.
The Complainant alleges that the Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith. The Complainant points out that the Respondent cannot have been unaware of the Complainant when it registered the Domain Name; that, when challenged, the Respondent offered to sell the Domain Name to the Complainant for USD 35,000; and that the Respondent is associated with numerous other domain names replicating international trademarks.
The Complainant requests a decision that the Domain Name be transferred to the Complainant.
As stated above, the Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
In accordance with paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainant must prove: (i) that the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a mark in which it has rights; (ii) that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name; and (iii) that the Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith. It is convenient to consider each of these requirements in turn.
In accordance with paragraph 14(b) of the Rules, the Panel shall draw such inferences as it considers appropriate from the Respondent’s default in failing to file a substantive response. This includes the acceptance of plausible evidence of the Complainant which has not been disputed.
The Panel finds that the Complainant has rights in the mark CARREFOUR. The Panel further finds that the Domain Name is identical to this mark for the purposes of this condition of the UDRP. The Panel has no doubt that Internet users would expect the Domain Name to locate a resource of the Complainant relating to its activities in Africa. The first requirement of the UDRP is satisfied.
The Panel finds on the evidence that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name.
It is clear that the Respondent has not made any use or preparations for use of the Domain Name for a bona fide offering of goods or services, and is not making any legitimate noncommercial or fair use of it. Nor is the Respondent commonly known by the Domain Name or authorized to use it.
The second requirement of the UDRP is satisfied.
In the light of the Respondent’s offer to sell the Domain Name to the Complainant for USD 35,000 and its registration of numerous other domain names replicating well-known marks, the Panel finds that it registered the Domain Name primarily for the purpose of sale to the Complainant for a price in excess of its costs.
In accordance with paragraph 4(b)(i) of the UDRP this constitutes evidence of registration and use of the Domain Name in bad faith. There is no material on the file displacing this presumption. Furthermore, where a domain name has been registered primarily for the purpose of sale at a profit, it is well established that holding it for this purpose constitutes a bad faith use of it within the meaning of the UDRP. The Panel accordingly concludes that the Respondent registered and is using the Domain Name in bad faith.
All three requirements of the UDRP are satisfied and it is appropriate to direct that the Domain Name be transferred to the Complainant.
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 <carrefour.africa> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: January 22, 2018
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