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WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Asprey & Garrard Limited v. Corporate Business Sales Limited
Case No. D2001-0958
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Asprey & Garrard Limited, a private limited company incorporated in England whose registered office is at 167 New Bond Street, London W1S 4AR, England. The Respondent is Corporate Business Sales Limited, 89 The Highway, Stanmore, Middlesex HA7 3PL, England.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The domain name in dispute is <aspreydirect.com> ("the Domain Name"). The Registrar is Network Solutions Inc. ("NSI").
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed at the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center ("the Center") by email and in hard copy on July 26, 2001. NSI confirmed on July 27, 2001, that it was the Registrar of the Domain Name and that the registration was governed by NSI’s registration agreement in English. The Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding was sent to the parties on July 30, 2001, in the case of the Respondent by courier and fax to the Registrant and by courier, fax and email to the Administrative, Technical and Billing Contacts in accordance with the details recorded on the NSI WHOIS database. The Notification was also sent by email to <email@example.com> but was returned with the indication user unknown. Successful transmission by fax and delivery by courier to the Respondent and the Administrative, Technical and Billing Contacts were confirmed.
Having reviewed the file, the Panel concludes that the Complaint complied with applicable formal requirements and was properly notified to the Respondent.
There having been no Response to the Complaint, the Center gave Notification of Respondent Default on August 20, 2001. The single member Panel, Jonathan Turner, submitted a Statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality and Independence and was duly appointed on August 27, 2001.
4. Factual Background
The Complainant is a well-known jeweler made up of two formerly separate businesses, Asprey and Garrard. It has registered "Asprey" as a trademark for a wide variety of goods in the UK and other countries. It has a website at <www.asprey-garrard.com>.
The Complainant’s solicitors wrote to the Respondent on March 7, 2001, drawing attention to the Complainant’s trademark rights and requiring the Respondent to undertake to transfer the Domain Name to the Complainant. The Respondent replied by letter of March 11, 2001, stating that its clients were prepared to transfer the Domain Name for a consideration of Ј1250. By letter of March 14, 2001, the Complainant’s solicitors offered to pay the Respondent Ј125 to cover its transfer costs. By letter of March 19, 2001, the Respondent stated that its clients were not prepared to accept the offer of Ј125 and that they would accept Ј950 "as their final demand". The letter went on to say that, if this was not acceptable, its clients were agreeable to the Complainant submitting the dispute to the Center for adjudication. By letter dated March 30, 2001, the Complainant offered to pay Ј500 for the transfer of the Domain Name. By letter of April 11, 2001, the Respondent stated that the sum of Ј950 was not negotiable.
The domain name was registered on April 5, 2000. As noted above the Center’s email to the address <firstname.lastname@example.org> of July 30, 2001, was returned. A generic holding page has been posted at the address <www.asprey.com>.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to the trademark "Asprey" in which it has registered and unregistered rights; that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name; and that the absence of any legitimate use of the Domain Name and the Respondent’s demand of a substantial sum for its transfer indicate bad faith.
As noted above, the Respondent has not submitted a response to the Complaint.
6. Discussion and Findings
In accordance with paragraph 4 of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy ("the Policy"), a Complainant must prove (i) that the domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant 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.
As to the first requirement, the Panel is satisfied that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to the trademark "Asprey" in which the Complainant undoubtedly has registered and unregistered rights. The Domain Name would indicate to many people a website of the famous jeweler, Asprey, offering direct sales of its jewelry.
As to the second requirement, it is apparent that the Respondent does not have any right or legitimate interest in respect of the Domain Name. The only use made by the Respondent of the Domain Name has been to offer to transfer it at a substantial price.
As to the third requirement, the Panel is satisfied by the correspondence summarized above and by the lack of any legitimate use of the Domain Name that the Respondent registered and is using it in bad faith for the purpose of selling it to the Complainant for a consideration in excess of the cost of registration.
The Panel further considers that the use of the Domain Name by a person other than the Complainant would be likely to cause confusion and that the Domain Name should accordingly be transferred to the Complainant.
The Panel decides that the Domain Name <aspreydirect.com> should be transferred to the Complainant, Asprey & Garrard Limited, 167 New Bond Street, London W1S 4AR, England.
Dated: August 31, 2001