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WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Travelprice Com v. Pissin Chicken Inc.
Case No: D2002-0129
1. The Parties
The Complainant in this administrative proceeding is Travelprice Com S.A. based at 66 Avenue des Champs-Elysées, F-75008 Paris, France.
The Respondent is Pissin Chicken Inc. with an address at Via Puccini 18 in I-10100 Milan, Italy.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The domain name at issue is <travelsprice.com> (hereafter "the Domain Name"). The Domain Name is registered with Tucows, Inc. 96 Mowat Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M6K 3M1, Canada ("the Registrar").
3. Procedural History
The Complainant filed a Complaint with the World Intellectual Property Organization Arbitration and Mediation Center ("the Center") electronically on February 8, 2002, and in hard copy on February 21, 2002. After amendment of the first submission, the Complainant filed an amended Complaint ("the Complaint") with the Center electronically on February 19, 2002, and in hard copy on February 26, 2002.
On February 14, 2002, and after amendment of the Complaint on February 19, 2002, the Center transmitted the request for Registrar Verification in connection with this case.
On February 20, 2002, Tucows Inc. responded to the Center’s request for Registrar Verification and confirmed that Tucows is the Registrar of the Domain Name <travelsprice.com>. It also confirmed that the Domain Name was registered in the name of Pissin Chicken Inc., the administrative and billing contact being "T, Mark", Milano and the technical contact "Manager, Domain" in Saint-Louis, United States of America.
On March 11, 2002, the Center verified that the Complaint met the formal requirements of the ICANN Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy ("the Policy"), the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy ("the Rules"), and the Supplemental Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy ("the Supplemental Rules").
The undersigned has reviewed the documentary evidence provided by the Complainant and the Center and agrees with the Center's assessment that the Complaint complies with the formal requirements of the ICANN Rules and the Supplemental Rules.
The administrative proceeding commenced on March 11, 2002. The same day, the Center notified the Complaint to Respondent.
As no Response was submitted within 20 days of the commencement of the administrative proceeding (sub-section 5 (a) of the Rules), the Center notified Respondent on April 5, 2002, that it was in default.
Upon receipt of the necessary declaration of independence and impartiality, the Center appointed the undersigned on April 25, 2002, to serve as Sole Panelist in this administrative proceeding.
4. Factual Background
The Complainant is a well-known travel agency via Internet acting in France and in Europe by selling a wide range of products, such as flights, car rental, hotels, to professional and private clients at competitive prices. The Complainant has been created as "Société Anonyme" under the name "Travelprice Com" on February 10, 1995 in Paris (see Annex C).
Since 1997, the Complainant has registered numerous domain names containing the word "Travelprice" (Annex E). The Complainant has further registered various trademarks containing the word "Travelprice" or "Travelprice.com", i.e. among others, a community wordmark registered on October 31, 2000, in the classes 35 (organisation of events for advertising purposes relating to travel and tourism), 36 (assuring of travel checks and travel vouchers), 38 (news agencies, interconnection of travel information, etc.), 39 (travel agencies consultancy relating to travel, tourism, adventure holidays, world tours, etc.), and 41 (organisation of competitions for cultural or educational purposes, conducting of congresses relating to tourism) (Annex I).
The Domain Name <travelsprice.com> was registered on June 13, 2000, in the name of Pissin Chicken Inc., Via Puccini 28 N/A Milano, I-10100 Milan, Italy (Annex D).
The website set up by Respondent under the domain <travelsprice.com> deviates the Internet user to several links to pornographic websites (Annex L).
5. Parties' Contentions
The Complainant alleges that "the prior trademarks of the Complainant are identical or confusingly similar to the Domain Name <travelsprice.com> registered by the Respondent as the edition of the letter 's' which is obviously the plural of the word 'travel' would not affect the attractive power of the word 'travelprice' and does not help to distinguish the Domain Name from Complainant's trademark". The Complainant points out that the Complainant has never licensed or otherwise permitted the Respondent to use the trademarks. It further states that he Respondent's activity is obviously not in the area of traveling and that as an Italian entity it must have been aware that "travelprice" is a travel agency, since Travelprice Com has a subsidiary company in Milan, Italy. The Complainant is also of the opinion that this is a case of typo-squatting aiming at taking advantage of typographical errors made by Internet users to divert them to not expected offers, in casu sexually explicit websites. The Complainant therefore concludes that the Respondent registered the Domain Name in bad faith and requests that the Administrative Panel transfer the Domain Name to the Complainant.
The Respondent has not submitted any Response to the Complaint.
6. Discussion and Findings
To succeed in its Complaint, Complainant must show that each of the conditions of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy is satisfied, namely that:
(i) the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights;
(ii) Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name, and
(iii) the Domain Name has been registered and used in bad faith.
These three elements will be considered below:
(i) Identity or Confusing Similarity
The Complainant submits three trademarks which cannot be considered by the
Administrative Panel, since they have not been registered under the name of
Complainant but under a company called "Roco Productions", Rue de Pontieux
49-51, F – 75008 Paris, France (French trademarks N° 99 777 498 and 99
770 483; Annexes F and G) as well as the WIPO Registration N° 717 874 (Annex
J). It may well be that these three trademarks have been transferred to the
Complainant since their registration, but the Complainant's representative does
not submit any evidence in this regard nor explain the link between the Complainant
and Roco Productions.
However, there are two other trademark registrations expressly made in the name of Complainant, i.e. the Community Trademark N° 001 251 396 for the mark "Travelprice.com" registered on October 31, 2000, for the classes 35, 36, 38, 39 and 41, as well as the Registration N° 10215 862 for the same mark registered on September 10, 2001, in Canada for the afore-mentioned classes (Annex H).
Consequently, based on the last two exhibits, the Administrative Panel is satisfied that the Complainant is the holder of the trademark Travelprice.com.
The Administrative Panel has further no doubt that the Domain Name <travelsprice.com> is confusingly similar to the afore-mentioned trademark Travelprice.com in the sense of Art. 4 (a)(i) of the Policy.
(ii) Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Panel does not have any evidence that Complainant has licensed or otherwise permitted Respondent to use its trademark or to apply for the Domain Name incorporating this mark.
As the Respondent has not submitted a Response, the Panel can find no indicia that Respondent has any rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name pursuant to Article 4 (c) of the Policy. The Panel is thus of the opinion that Complainant has satisfied the second element of the Policy.
(iii) Domain Name Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The third element Complainant has to prove to succeed in its Complaint is registration and use of the Domain Name in bad faith.
Due to the fact that Travelprice.com is a known trademark and that the Respondent's services have been marketed also in Milan, Italy, where Respondent is located, the Panel concludes that Respondent must have been aware of the Complainant's rights in the trademark when it registered the Domain Name.
It can be deduced from the evidence submitted by the Complainant that Respondent's activity is in the field of giving access to pornographic websites (Annex L). Indeed, when typing the Domain Name <travelsprice.com> the Internet user is diverted to sexually explicit websites and respective links.
It is obvious that the Respondent wants to profit from Internet users' typo
errors by diverting them to its websites. Various WIPO Panels have disapproved
such acts (see Playboy Enterprises International Inc. v. Sand Webnames-For
Sale, WIPO Case N°D2001-0094 with
The Respondent is further in violation of para. 4(b)(iv) of the ICANN Policy, which states that the following circumstances shall be evidence of the registration and use of a domain name in bad faith: using the domain name to intentionally attempt to attract for a commercial gain internet users to a website or other online location by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant's mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of the website or location or of a product or service on the website or location.
The Panel has indeed the impression that this is the case here, since the Respondent is using the Domain Name for commercial gain hoping that persons surfing the Internet and seeking information on the Complainant's services will be diverted into the Respondent's explicit offerings. The connection of the Respondent's website with apparent adult offerings furthermore clearly tarnishes or dilutes the Complainant's mark (see Singapore Airlines Limited v. Robert Nielson, WIPO Case N° D2000-0644).
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Domain Name <travelsprice.com> has been registered and is being used by the Respondent in bad faith.
In the light of the foregoing, the Panel concludes and decides that the Domain Name <travelsprice.com> shall be transferred to Complainant.
Dr. Thomas Legler
Dated: May 8, 2002