The Complainant is Fruit Of The Loom, Inc., United States of America (“United States”), represented by CSC Digital Brand Services Group AB, Sweden.
The Respondent is Registrar, Hong Kong, China.
The disputed domain name <jerzee.com> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with OnlineNic, Inc. d/b/a China-Channel.com (the “Registrar”).
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on September 9, 2020. On September 9, 2020, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On September 10, 2020, 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 September 15, 2020. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was October 5, 2020. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on October 6, 2020.
The Center appointed Mathias Lilleengen as the sole panelist in this matter on October 20, 2020. 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 global underwear and casualwear business operating in 44 countries. It currently employs more than 32,400 people worldwide.
The JERZEES brand and trademark is owned by Russell Brands, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Complainant, with trademark registrations across various jurisdictions, for example Chinese trademark registration No. 199400977, registered on August 16, 1990, and United States registration No. 1683032, registered on April 14, 1992.
The Complainant owns 16 domain names that include the term “jerzees”, for example <jerzees.com>, registered on September 15, 1995. The Complainant is present with followers at social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
The Domain Name was registered on December 11, 2001. At the time of the Complaint and the time of drafting the Decision, the Domain Name resolved to a website featuring links to third-party websites.
The Complainant provides evidence of trademark registrations. The Domain Name consists of the Complainant’s trademark JERZEES, minus the letter “s”, and the Complainant argues that this minor difference does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity.
The Complainant asserts that the Respondent is not authorized to use the Complainant’s trademark. The Respondent is not commonly known by the Domain Name. The Respondent cannot establish rights in the Domain Name as it has not made any use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the Domain Name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. The Respondent has used the Domain Name to redirect internet users to a website with links to third-party websites, some in competition to the Complainant.
The Complainant believes the Respondent knew, or at least should have known of the Complainant’s activity and trademark, as the Complainant’s earliest trademark registration and domain names predate the Domain Name registration. By registering the Domain Name, the Respondent creates a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant and its trademarks, to confuse unsuspecting Internet users looking for the Complainant’s services, and to mislead Internet users as to the source of the Domain Name and website. Further, the Complainant argues, it is not possible to conceive of any plausible good faith use of the Domain Name by the Respondent. In addition, the Respondent currently holds registrations for several other domain names that misappropriate the trademarks of well-known brands and businesses. Some of which are also listed for sale. Finally, the Respondent has not replied to the Complainant’s cease-and-desist letter, and the Respondent has registered the Domain Name using false contact information.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
The Complainant has established that it has rights in the trademark JERZEES.
The test for confusing similarity involves the comparison between the trademark and the Domain Name. In this case, the Domain Name incorporates the Complainant’s trademark, less the letter “s” at the end. This minor alteration does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity between the Domain Name and the Complainant’s trademark. For the purpose of assessing under paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy, the Panel may ignore the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.com”; see WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), section 1.11.
The Panel finds that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to a trademark in which the Complainant has rights in accordance with paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
The Complainant has made unrebutted assertions that it has not granted any authorization to the Respondent to register the Domain Name containing the Complainant’s trademark or otherwise make use of its mark. There is no evidence that the Respondent has registered the Domain Name as a trademark or acquired unregistered trademark rights. The Respondent cannot establish rights in the Domain Name, as it has not made use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the Domain Name in connection with a bona fide offering. The Respondent’s use of the Domain Name, to direct Internet users to a website featuring links to third-party websites, some in competition to the Complainant, is not bona fide.
The Panel finds that the Complainant has made out an unrebutted case. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name in accordance with paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
The Domain Name is almost identical to the Complainant’s trademark. On the balance of probability, the Respondent must have been aware of the Complainant when the Respondent registered the Domain Name. The Complainant’s use of the trademark predates the Domain Name registration. The Panel agrees with the Complainant that the Respondent by registering the Domain Name has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s trademark. Moreover, as further indications of bad faith, the Respondent has not replied to the Complainant’s cease-and-desist letter, and registered the Domain Name apparently using false contact information.
For the reasons set out above, the Panel concludes that the Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith, within the meaning of 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 Domain Name <jerzee.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: October 27, 2020
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