Complainant is Paris Saint-Germain Football, France, represented by Plasseraud IP, France.
Respondent is Daniel Macias Barajas, International Camps Network, Canada.
The disputed domain names <parissaintgermain.camp> and <psg.camp> are registered with GoDaddy.com, LLC (the “Registrar”).
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on January 5, 2021. On January 5, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain names. On January 6, 2021, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the disputed domain names which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to Complainant on January 7, 2021 providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. Complainant filed an amended Complaint on January 8, 2021.
The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amended 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on January 8, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was January 28, 2021. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on February 1, 2021. On February 2, 2021, the Center received an email communication from Respondent.
The Center appointed Georges Nahitchevansky as the sole panelist in this matter on February 9, 2021. 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.
Complainant, Paris Saint-Germain Football, is a French football club based in Paris. Complainant was established in 1970. Complainant has used the name and mark PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN in connection with its professional football activities. Complainant has also used the acronym PSG as a short form identifier for its football club. Complainant owns several trademark registrations for the PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN and PSG marks in the European Union, including, but not limited to, P.S.G. PARIS-SAINT-GERMAIN (Registration No. 314336, which issued to registration in November 1998), PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN (Registration No. 16666836, which issued to registration in January 2018) and PSG (Registration No. 17885851, which issued to registration in August 2018). Complainant also owns a logo registration with the word PARIS SAINT GERMAIN in Canada (Registration No. 1694522, which issued to registration in August 2019).
Complainant also owns a number of domain names that include the names and marks PSG and PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN. In particular, Complainant owns and uses the domain name <psg.fr> for its official website.
Respondent registered the disputed domain names on August 29, 2020. The disputed domain names initially redirected to a website at “www.internationalcampsnetwork.org” which promoted a network of summer camp programs in Canada and other countries. Complainant sent Respondent a demand letter on October 27, 2020 regarding Respondent’s registration and use of the disputed domain names. Respondent responded by email on November 3, 2021 and rejected Complainant’s demands. In that communication, Respondent noted that it is “dedicated to the Camping industry, therefore, any domain with CAMP TLD is of our interest” and asserted “we have done some research and found plenty of trademarks for PSG and Paris Saint-Germain.”
On November 17, 2020, Complainant sent a further letter to Respondent in response and again reasserted its demands. On the same day, Respondent sent an email response again rejecting Complainant’s contentions and asserting “[a]s we said, our business has to do with CAMPS, and so we are just investing in a campaign aiming to increase traffic into our own web page. Therefore, we got short, easy to remember names with a .CAMP TLD. that are re-directed.”
Currently the disputed domain names do not resolve to an active web page or website.
Complainant maintains that it has rights in the well-known PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN and PSG trademarks and names on account of its several trademark registrations and through the use of those marks and names since 1970.
Complainant asserts that the disputed domain names are confusingly similar to Complainant’s PARIS-SAINT GERMAIN and PSG mark as they incorporate those trademarks in their entirety.
Complainant contends that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names as Respondent (i) owns no trademark or trade name that contain PSG or PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN, (ii) is not commonly known by the disputed domain names, (iii) has never been given permission or a license to use Complainant’s PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN or PSG marks, and (iv) has not made any bona fide, fair or noncommercial use of the disputed domain names, but has instead used such to redirect web users to Respondent’s website promoting various summer camp activities in Canada and other countries. In that regard, Complainant notes that Respondent’s website has promoted a football camp in Germany as well as other sports related camps.
Lastly, Complainant argues that Respondent has registered and used the disputed domain names in bad faith as Complainant’s PSG and PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN marks are well-known “in the area of professional football.” As such, and given Respondent’s responses to Complainant’s demand letters and the registration of the disputed domain names on the same day, Complainant contends that Respondent was clearly aware of Complainant’s rights in the PSG and PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN marks when Respondent registered the disputed domain names. Complainant also argues that Respondent has acted in bad faith by using the disputed domain names to redirect web users to Respondent’s website which promotes network of summer camp programs. Complainant also notes that Respondent has registered a number of other domain names based on famous football clubs or competitions.
Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.
Under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, to succeed Complainant must satisfy the Panel that:
(i) the disputed domain names are identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights;
(ii) Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain names; and
(iii) the disputed domain names were registered and are being used in bad faith.
Here, although Respondent has failed to respond to the complaint, the default does not automatically result in a decision in favor of Complainant, nor is it an admission that Complainant’s claims are true. The burden remains with Complainant to establish the three elements of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy by a preponderance of the evidence. A Panel, however, may draw appropriate inferences from a respondent’s default in light of the particular facts and circumstances of the case, such as regarding factual allegations that are not inherently implausible as being true. See section 4.3 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”); seealso The Knot, Inc. v. In Knot We Trust LTD, WIPO Case No. D2006-0340.
Ownership of a trademark registration is generally sufficient evidence that a complainant has the requisite rights in a mark for purposes of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy. WIPO Overview 3.0 at section 1.2.1. Complainant has provided evidence that it owns and obtained trademark registrations for its PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN and PSG marks in the European Union prior to the date that Respondent registered the disputed domain names. Complainant has also provided evidence regarding its use of the PSG and PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN marks.
With Complainant’s rights in the PSG and PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN marks established, the remaining question under the first element of the Policy is whether the disputed domain name (typically disregarding the gTLD such as “.camp”) is identical or confusingly similar with Complainant’s mark. See B & H Foto & Electronics Corp. v. Domains by Proxy, Inc. / Joseph Gross, WIPO Case No. D2010-0842. The threshold for satisfying this first element is low and generally panels have found that fully incorporating the identical mark in a disputed domain name is sufficient to meet the threshold.
In the instant proceeding, the disputed domain name is identical to Complainant’s PSG and PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN marks as each of the disputed domain names fully and solely incorporate either the PSG or PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN marks. The Panel therefore finds that Complainant has satisfied the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy in establishing its rights in Complainant’s PSG and PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN marks and in showing that the disputed domain names are identical to those trademarks in their respective cases.
Under paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy, the complainant must make at least a prima facie showing that the respondent possesses no rights or legitimate interests in a disputed domain name. Malayan Banking Berhad v. Beauty, Success & Truth International, WIPO Case No. D2008-1393. Once the complainant makes such a prima facie showing, the burden of production shifts to the respondent, though the burden of proof always remains on the complainant. If the respondent fails to come forward with evidence showing rights or legitimate interests, the complainant will have sustained its burden under the second element of the UDRP.
The evidence submitted in this proceeding, none of which is contested by Respondent, shows that Respondent used the disputed domain names to attract and redirect web users to Respondent’s website promoting various summer programs, including, by way of example, a football camp in Germany. Indeed, Respondent has admitted as much in its November 17, 2020 email to Complainant by making clear that Respondent wanted to register “easy to remember names” so as to “increase traffic” to Respondent’s website. Given that Respondent is not known by the PSG and PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN marks and names and, instead, is known by the name “International Camp Networks,” there is no legitimate basis for using Complainant’s names and marks in order to promote Respondent’s business.
The fact that the disputed domain names use the gTLD <.camp> does not render Respondent’s actions as being legitimate. While Respondent may have a legitimate interest in promoting summer camp programs, Respondent does not have the right to promote its activities by piggybacking on the notoriety of Complainant’s PSG and PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN marks in the football world. The disputed domain names, on their face, suggest a connection to Complainant and it is likely that a number of consumers, particularly fans of football, would see the disputed domain names with the gTLD extension <.camp> as likely promoting a sports or football camp operated by or endorsed by Complainant. Simply put, Respondent does not, and cannot, have legitimate interest in using the trademarks of another for purposes of promoting its own business interests or network of educational-recreational programs.
Given that Complainant has established with sufficient evidence that it owns rights in the PSG and PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN marks, and given Respondent’s above noted actions and failure to file a response, the Panel concludes that Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names and that none of the circumstances of paragraph 4(c) of the Policy are evident in this case.
In view of Respondent’s actions, and failure to appear in this proceeding, it is easy to infer that Respondent’s registration and use of the disputed domain names, which are based on Complainant’s PSG and PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN names and marks, has been done opportunistically and in bad faith for purposes of attracting web users to Respondent’s website to promote Respondent’s network of summer programs. Respondent registered the disputed domain names well after Complainant has established rights in the PSG and PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN names and marks and more likely than not did so in full knowledge of Complainant’s rights in the PSG and PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN names and marks. The fact that Respondent also appears to have registered other domain names based on well-known football team names and competitions underscores Respondent’s likely awareness of Complainant and its PSG and PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN marks and names. Indeed, Respondent has itself made clear that it registered the disputed domain names because they would be “easy to remember names” and would “increase traffic” to Respondent’s website. Clearly, the fact that Respondent registered two disputed domain names based on Complainant’s marks, makes clear that the intent was to use the notoriety of the PSG and PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN names and marks in the context of football to “increase traffic.” Such actions are parasitic in nature and support a finding that Respondent has acted in bad faith.
The Panel thus finds that Complainant succeeds under this element 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 names <parissaintgermain.camp> and <psg.camp> be transferred to Complainant.
Date: February 23, 2021
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