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WIPO Domain Name Decision: D2000-1736
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WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. v. Keith Lang
Case No. D2000-1736
1. The Parties
The Complainant in this administrative proceeding is a public limited company, Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. of Groenewoudseweg 1, Eindhoven, The Netherlands.
The Respondent is Mr Keith Lang, an individual domiciled in Jakarta Barat, West Java, Indonesia.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The domain name the subject of the Complaint is <philips-indo.com>.
The Respondent registered the domain name on September 21, 2000.
The registrar of the Domain Name is Enom, Inc. of Redmond, Washington, USA.
3. Procedural History
A Complaint pursuant to the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy ("the Policy") and the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy ("the Rules’) both of which were implemented by ICANN on October 24, 1999, was received by WIPO in electronic format on December 13, 2000 and hardcopy on December 15, 2000. Payment in the required amount to the Center has been made by the Complainant.
On December 20, 2000, a request for registrar verification was sent to the Registrar requesting confirmation that it had received a copy of the Complaint from the Complainant, that the domain name was currently registered with it and that the Policy was in effect, and requesting full details of the holder of the domain name and advice as to the current status of the domain name.
On January 16, 2001, there was notification of the Complaint and commencement of the administration proceeding.
On February 7, 2001, WIPO notified the Respondent that he had failed to comply with the deadline indicated in the notification of Complaint by not filing a submission in response.
On March 9, 2001, a notification of appointment of administrative panel and projected decision date ("the appointment notification") was sent to the Complainant and the Respondent. In accordance with the Complainant’s request, the appointment notification informed the parties that the administrative panel would be comprised of a single panelist, Clive Elliott, and advised that the decision should be forwarded to WIPO by March 23, 2001.
On March 23, 2001, there was still no Response from the Respondent and the decision was made.
4. Factual Background
The Complainant states that the trademark "Philips" has been registered by the predecessors of Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. (KPENV), in the Netherlands, since 1892 and is registered in numerous jurisdictions worldwide. The trade mark "Philips" is synonymous with a wide spectrum of products varying from consumer electronics to domestic appliances, and from security systems to semiconductors. It is said that the "Philips" brand name is the company’s most important asset as it has spent substantially on supporting its brand worldwide.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant alleges the following:
The Complainant claims that the Respondent is trying to disrupt its business by placing the web page of a competitor (Sony Indonesia) on its own site, even after the receipt of the Complainant's cease and desist letter sent out on October 31, 2000 as well as via e-mail on December 11, 2000.
The Complainant alleges that the Respondent has provided false contact information to the Registrar for the address and telephone number, as evident from the "whois" provided by Enom, Inc. The Complainant claims this is a deliberate act by the Respondent to conceal their identity to ensure no direct communication with the Complainant is possible.
The Complainant says that the Respondent’s registration of the domain name in question causes unfairness and is certainly detrimental to the business of the Complainant. The Complainant alleges that this mark is influential in the field of business, and it has been registered for use in Indonesia and worldwide.
The Complainant asserts that the registration of the domain name was with the intent to deceive customers for commercial gain or to damage the reputation and goodwill of another with the usage of a web page of a competitor company.
The Complainant also states that the Respondent had clearly no demonstrable plan to use the domain name for a bona fide purpose prior to registration of the domain name which leads the Complainant to the inevitable conclusion that the registration was aimed at coaxing the Complainant to buy the domain name.
No Response was received from the Respondent.
6. Discussion and Findings
Para. 4(a) of the Policy requires that the Complainant must prove each of the following:
(i) The domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the trade mark; and
(ii) The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
(iii) The domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
Para. 4(b) of the Policy sets out four illustrative circumstances that, if proved, constitute evidence of bad faith as required by para. 4(a)(iii) referred to above.
Para. 4(c) of the Policy sets out three illustrative circumstances that, if proved, constitute evidence of a right or legitimate interest as described in para. 4(a)(ii) referred to above.
Domain Name Identical or Confusingly Similar
It is clear from the evidence, and not disputed by the Respondent, that "Philips" is well recognized and famous in many countries worldwide. It is also asserted and not disputed that "Philips" is a brand of very significant value. The "Philips" trademark is registered very widely, including in Indonesia.
While there is no evidence of this, it is reasonable to infer that the Complainant uses "Philips" with a range of other descriptive, generic or geographic terms to identify various aspects of its business.
The Domain Name in dispute is a combination of the trademark "Philips" and a geographic term 'Indo' being an abbreviation of "Indonesia". It is confusingly similar to the trademark "Philips".
No Rights or Legitimate Interests
Given the huge use and exposure of the "Philips" trademark and, in the absence of any explanation from the Respondent as to why he might have a right or legitimate interest in using the word "Philips", albeit with a geographic designation, it is difficult to imagine how the Respondent might have a right or legitimate interest to use "Philips" as part of its domain name, leave alone as the first and dominant part.
Prima facie, the Complainant makes out its case on this ground.
Registration and Use in Bad Faith
It appears from the evidence that the Respondent, or its agents or associates, are using the disputed domain name to redirect Internet traffic to the commercial site of a competitor, Sony Indonesia. Apart from a copy of a supposed page from this site, the evidence on this is somewhat sparse. However, the allegation is not denied and, prima facie, the burden of proof must shift. Given the massive reputation in "Philips", the redirection of Internet traffic is likely to deliver a commercial benefit to the Respondent and Sony.
There in no denial of such redirection of traffic, nor assertion that such redirection is bona fide and non-confusing to the public.
When the Domain Name was registered on September 21, 2000, the international reputation of "Philips" was well established. In light of this and the above findings, it is found that the registration was, on the face of it, made in bad faith.
Accordingly, even though its Complaint and supporting evidence was rather brief, the Complainant has successfully made out all three of the above grounds and is entitled to relief.
In view of the above, the domain name should be transferred to the Complainant.
Dated: April 27, 2001