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WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Aer Lingus Limited v. Patrick Ory
Case No. D2003-0564
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Aer Lingus Limited, County Dublin, Ireland, represented by F.R. Kelly & Co., Ireland.
The Respondent is Patrick Ory, Cancun, Mexico.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name is <aer-lingus.com>, which is registered with CSL Computer Service Langenbach GmbH d/b/a Joker.com.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on July 18, 2003. On July 21, 2003, the Center transmitted by email to CSL Computer Service Langenbach GmbH d/b/a Joker.com a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain name at issue. On July 22, 2003, CSL Computer Service Langenbach GmbH d/b/a Joker.com transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details for the administrative, billing, and technical contact. In response to a notification by the Center that the Complaint was administratively deficient, the Complainant filed an amendment to the Complaint on July 23, 2003. The Center verified that the Complaint, together with the amendment to the Complaint, satisfied the formal requirements of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the "Policy"), 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(a) and 4(a), the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on July 28, 2003. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was August 17, 2003. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on August 19, 2993.
The Center appointed Guillermo Carey as the sole panelist in this matter on August 25, 2003. 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.
4. Factual Background
The Complainant is Aer Lingus Limited, a company trading at Dublin Airport, County Dublin, Ireland. The Complainant is Ireland’s national airline, which was established in 1936. Since that date the Complainant has been identified worldwide by its trademark AER LINGUS.
The Complainant is the registered owner of several trademarks in Ireland related to the domain name at issue. Some of the trademarks registered by the Complainant are AER LINGUS & Shamrock Device, Community Trademark No. 119032, and AERLINGUS.COM, Community Trademark No. 3059075.
The Complainant is also the proprietor of the following domain names:
The Respondent is Patrick Ory. He has no known connection or association with the Complainant. The Respondent uses the disputed domain name for the travel web site "Cheap Travel Network" which has no connection with the Complainant.
5. Parties’ Contentions
1. Identical or Confusingly Similar
It is the Complainant’s belief that the domain name at issue is identical, to the point of confusion, with the trademarks and domain names registered by the Complainant.
The Complainant states its acquisition of substantial worldwide reputation in its trademark AER LINGUS since the airline’s establishment in 1936, and by the use of its trademarks and domain names worldwide.
The Complainant also points out its web page, "www.aerlingus.com", where further information on its airline and services can be found.
Additionally, the Complainant highlights the unique quality of its name and its exclusive association as Ireland’s airline. The name has never been used in any other context.
2. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant states that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests regarding the disputed domain name, given that there is no known connection or association between the parties.
Furthermore, it states that the trademark AER LINGUS is exclusively associated with the Complainant.
The Complainant also highlights that the Respondent has never been known by any of the Complainant’s trademarks and/or domain names or even by the disputed domain name.
It is the Complainant’s assertion that the Respondent is using the domain name to point to the travel web site "Cheap Travel Network" which has no connection with the Complainant, for illegitimate purposes.
3. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Complainant states that the current use of the disputed domain name, i.e., referring internet users to a discount travel web site, indicates the Respondent’s bad faith registration and use of the domain name at issue.
The Respondent, it is alleged, has intentionally attempted to attract for commercial gain, Internet users by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s trademarks and domain names as to source, sponsorship, affiliation and or endorsement with the Complainant.
It is the Complainant’s belief that the Respondent chose the disputed domain name to take advantage of the Complainant’s considerable worldwide reputation and goodwill in its trademarks and domain names.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
The Policy paragraph 4(a) provides that the Complainant must prove each of the following:
- The Respondent’s domain name is identical or confusingly to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and
- The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
- The domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy identifies circumstances which, in particular but without limitation, if found by the Panel to be proved based on its evaluation of all the evidence presented, shall demonstrate the Respondent’s rights or legitimate interests for the purpose of paragraph 4(a)(ii).
Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy sets out circumstances which, if found by the Panel to be present, shall be evidence of the registration and use of a domain name in bad faith. The Policy states that those circumstances are not exhaustive of the circumstances indicating registration and use in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has provided evidence indicating its ownership of several registered trademarks for the mark AER LINGUS in Ireland and in the European Community
Also established is the Complainant’s position as Ireland’s national airline and its recognition by the mark AER LINGUS.
Given that the disputed domain name wholly integrates the Complainant’s registered trademarks and domain names, the similarity, to the point of absolute confusion, between the Respondent’s domain name and the Complainant’s intellectual property is obvious.
Thus, the Panel has no hesitation in finding that the domain name at issue is identical and confusingly similar with the Complainant’s registered trademarks and domain names. Consequently, the Complainant succeeds in meeting the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
In the absence of a response there is no evidence that the Respondent has any rights or legitimate interests in respect to the domain name. The Complainant’s allegations and evidence, therefore, satisfy the second requirement under paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The disputed domain name points to the Respondent’s travel web site, which
offers reservation services for cheap airline tickets.
The Complainant’s trademark AER LINGUS has acquired, by its worldwide use and registrations, a reputation as Ireland’s airline. Since the airline’s creation in 1936 it has been known as such.
As indicated above, the Respondent’s web page "www.aer-lingus.com" is almost identical to the Complainant’s web site "www.aerlingus.com", the only difference between the domain names is a hyphen in the Respondent’s web site:
Consequently, the similarity is such as to create a reasonable and foreseeable level of confusion among users as to the source of the entities providing the services.
Unfortunately, the Respondent failed to provide a response stating his legitimate
purposes and thus interests for registering and using the domain name in dispute.
Thus, the Panel agrees with the Complainant that the Respondent registered and
uses the domain name in bad faith, i.e., to capture clients to its discount
ticket web page using the reputation and goodwill achieved by AER LINGUS.
For all the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the disputed domain name <aer-lingus.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Dated: September 23, 2003