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WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

 

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

PRL USA Holdings, Inc. v. Yan Shif

Case No. D2006-0700

 

1. The Parties

The Complainant is PRL USA Holdings, Inc. of New York, New York, United States of America and is represented by Greenberg Traurig, LLP, of United States of America.

The Respondent is Yan Shif, of Karmiel Israel.

 

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name<ralphlauren-polo.com> is registered with Go Daddy Software.

 

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPOArbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) pursuant to the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy implemented by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) on October 24, 1999, (the “Policy”), and under the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy implemented by ICANN on the same date (the“Rules”). The electronic copy of the Complaint was received by the Center by email on June 5, 2006, and in hard copy on June 9, 2006. The Acknowledgment of Receipt of Complaint was sent by the Center to the Complainant by email on June 10, 2006.

On June 7, 2006, the Center transmitted Go Daddy Software a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain name at issue.

On June 13, 2006, the Center verified that the Complaint satisfied the formal requirements of the 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 having verified that the Complaint satisfied the formal requirements of the Policy and the Rules, and that payment of the filing fee had been properly made, the Center formally notified the Respondent, and the proceedings commenced on June 13, 2006. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for the Response was July 3, 2006. On June 13, 2006, the Center sent a formal Acknowledgement of Receipt of Complaint by email to both the Complainant and the Respondent and confirmed that both the Case Manager as well as case number D2006-0700 had been allocated to the dispute and that the Center was obliged under Paragraph 4(a) of the Rules to determine if the Complaint satisfies the formal requirements of the Policy and the Rules. The Center determined that this was the case and notified the Complaint to the parties on June 13, 2006. The Response was filed with the Center on June 27, 2006.

The Center appointed Dr. Colin Ong as the Sole Panelist in this matter on July 3, 2006. 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.

On June 3, 2006, the Center issued to both parties a Notification of Appointment of Administrative Panel and Projected Decision Date, informing of Dr. Ong’s appointment and that absent exceptional circumstances a decision would be provided by this Administrative Panel by July 17, 2006. The language of the proceedings before this Administrative Panel was conducted in the English.

 

4. Factual Background

The Complainant and its activities

The Panel has looked at the Complainants attached printouts from the United States Patent and Trademark Office website and finds that the Complainant owns numerous valid and subsisting United States trademark registrations (in addition to many more non-United States trademark registrations) for the marks POLO and RALPH LAUREN (collectively the “RALPH LAUREN/POLO Trademarks” or “the Complainant’s Trademarks”).

Since 1967, the Complainant has continuously and extensively used the RALPH LAUREN/POLO Trademarks to conduct its activities, for its increasing range of goods and services. Throughout the years, the Complainant has registered a wide variety of goods, numerous trademarks containing, solely or in combination with other elements, the terms “POLO” “RALPH LAUREN” such as:

- USPTO Registration number 1363459 of October 1, 1985, for POLO for diverse articles of clothing and apparel;

- USPTO Registration number 73546304 of July 3, 1987, for POLO RALPH LAUREN for wearing apparel and accessories;

- USPTO Registration number 2077082 of July 8, 1997, for POLO RALPH LAUREN for bags;

- USPTO Registration number 1935665 of November 14, 1995, for POLO RALPH LAUREN for childrens clothing and apparel;

- USPTO Registration number 1530948 of March 21, 1989, for POLO USA for sweat shirts;

- USPTO Registration number 271880 of March 4, 2003, for POLO SPORT RALPH LAUREN for wearing apparel and accessories;

- USPTO Registration number 1955248 of February 6, 1996, for POLO RALPH LAUREN for watches and clocks;

- USPTO Registration number 73508283 of November 13, 1984, for POLO RALPH LAUREN for sports equipment;

- USPTO Registration number 2077090 of July 8, 1997, for RALPH LAUREN for providing information in the field of fashion, lifestyle and other topics by means of a global computer network;

- USPTO Registration number 2042967 of March 11, 1997, for RALPH LAUREN for catalogs, newsletters and magazines in the field of home furnishings;

The Complainant’s RALPH LAUREN/POLO Trademarks have generated extensive fame and goodwill over years.

According to the Whois records of the DotRegistrar.com website, the Respondent registered the domain name <ralphlauren-polo.com> on December 17, 2005.

The disputed domain name was registered many years later than the date when the Complainant’s RALPH LAUREN/POLO Trademarks had been registered.

The Complainant’s Activities

The Complainant contends that:

The Complainant is a leader in the design, marketing and distribution of premium lifestyle products in the categories of, inter alia, apparel, accessories, home and fragrances.

The Complainant contends that it owns numerous valid and subsisting RALPH LAUREN/POLO Trademarks which have become incontestable, for a broad range of goods and services in the apparel, home furnishings, and lifestyle categories.

The Complainant contends that the RALPH LAUREN/POLO Trademarks are among the most genuinely famous apparel and lifestyle brands in the world. TheComplainant has used the RALPH LAUREN/POLO Trademarks in commerce continuously since 1967, for an ever-increasing range of goods and services, and that the Complainant has expended hundreds of millions of dollars to advertise and market its RALPH LAUREN and POLO products, resulting in sales of billions of dollars’ worth of goods bearing the RALPH LAUREN/POLO Trademarks. The Complainant contends that its long-term, prominent usage of its famous RALPH LAUREN/POLO Trademarks has generated extensive fame and goodwill and widespread consumer recognition for the RALPH LAUREN/POLO Trademarks as identifying exclusively the Complainant and the Complainant’s Products.

The Complainant contends that its companies and affiliated companies, including its parent, Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation (collectively, “PRL”), are leaders in the design, marketing and distribution of premium lifestyle products in four categories: apparel, home, accessories, and fragrances. Since 1967, PRL and its predecessors in interest have continuously and extensively used the RALPH LAUREN/POLO Trademarks through extensive advertising and marketing.

The Complainant contends that the RALPH LAUREN/POLO Trademarks have become a famous and distinctive family of marks throughout the world as a symbol of the high quality standards and exclusivity that PRL maintains for its products and related services. The Complainant has shown that numerous courts in the United States have held these assertions to be correct including, Westchester Media Co. L.P. v. PRL USA Holdings, Inc., 1998 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11735, 7-8 (D. Tex., 1998); Polo Ralph Lauren L.P. v. Schuman, 1998 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5907 (D. Tex., 1998); Gucci America, Inc. v. Action Activewear, Inc., 759 F. Supp. 1060, 1061 (S.D.N.Y. 1991); Polo Fashions, Inc. v. Fernandez, 655 F. Supp. 664, 668 (D.P.R. 1987); Polo Fashions, Inc. v. Craftex, Inc., 816 F.2d 145, 147 (4th Cir. 1987); Polo Fashions, Inc. v. Diebolt, Inc., 634 F. Supp. 786, 788 (D. Kan. 1986); Polo Fashions, Inc. v. Rabanne, 661 F. Supp. 89, 94 (S.D. Fla. 1986); Polo Fashions, Inc. v. Famous Brands, Inc., 1986 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19412 (D. Kan., 1986); Polo Fashions, Inc. v. The Gordon Group, et al., 627 F. Supp. 878, 887 (M.D.N.C. 1985); Polo Fashions, Inc. v. Clothes Encounters, 1985 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17838, 227 U.S.P.Q. (BNA) 327, 1985WL 96, (N.D. Ill. 1985); Polo Fashions, Inc. v. Magic Trimmings, Inc., 603 F. Supp. 13, 15 (S.D. Fla. 1984); Polo Fashions, Inc. v. Branded Apparel Merchandising, Inc., 592 F. Supp. 648, 651 (D. Mass. 1984); Polo Fashions, Inc. v. Extra Special Products, Inc., 451 F. Supp. 555, 559-60 (S.D.N.Y. 1978).

Copies of these US court decisions were attached to the Complaint.

The Complainant contends that all of the registrations that it has attached in the Complaint are valid, subsisting, unrevoked and uncancelled. The registration of these marks constitutes prima facie evidence of their validity and conclusive evidence of the Complainant’s exclusive right to use the RALPH LAUREN/POLO Trademarks in commerce in connection with the goods named therein, and commercially related goods. The registration of the RALPH LAUREN/POLO Trademarks also constitutes statutory constructive notice to the Respondent of the Complainant’s ownership and exclusive rights in the RALPH LAUREN/POLO Trademarks. The Complainant claims that such constructive notice is in addition to the actual notice that the Respondent most certainly had given the extensive fame and reputation enjoyed by the Complainant’s RALPH LAUREN/POLO Trademarks.

The Complainant further contends that it maintains strict quality control standards for all of its products sold under the RALPH LAUREN/POLO Trademarks as all genuine. The Complainant’s Products are inspected and approved by the Complainant prior to distribution and sale. All genuine products are distributed through the Complainant’s worldwide network of authorized dealers.

The Complainant contends that it has to date, spent hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising and promoting the Complainant’s products and the RALPH LAUREN/POLO Trademarks, and the Complainant and its predecessors-in-interest and affiliated companies have enjoyed billions of dollars in sales of the Complainant’s products.

The Respondent’s Activities and its usage of the Complainant’s RALPH LAUREN/POLO Trademarks

The Complainant contends that the Respondent has been exploiting the Complainant’s trademark as a way to generate revenue from “click-through” links which the Respondent has on its website as well as through clicks on pop-up advertisements. The Complainant contends that the Respondent is engaged in a common scheme in using the famous RALPH LAUREN and/or POLO mark to direct consumers to sites where the Respondents are paid a “per click” fee for any links which are used to access the sites connected to the link.

The Respondent’s domain name actually redirects the users to the Respondent’s website which features Sponsored Results, including links to the official PRL website indicating that PRL has somehow sponsored the Respondent’s website which it has not. The Respondent’s domain name is virtually identical to and confusingly similar to the Complainant’s registered RALPH LAUREN/POLO Trademarks. The Respondent’s domain name incorporates the Complainant’s RALPH LAUREN/POLO Trademarks in its entirety with use of a hyphen.

The Complainant exhibited a copy of a cease and desist letter that had been sent to the Respondent via first class mail and email to yanshif@gmail.com on March 22, 2005. The letter had advised the Respondent of who the Complainant was and made several requests, including a request to transfer the domain name to the Complainant. The Respondent sent an email response on March 25, 2006, claiming his rights in the domain name and that he was “willing [sic] consider reselling or renting the domain name to any willing buyer for a price that I will dicide [sic] upon.”

On March 27, 2006, the Complainant sent a follow-up response via email, asking at what price the Respondent would be willing to sell the domain name. The Respondent replied on March 28, 2006, stating: “My offer is making a rental contract for 99 years for a price of 2499$ per month, or selling the domain for a price that you valuate it correspondingly to his rental price and that will be open for negotiation.”

On April 3, 2006, the Respondent replied stating: “Hello! I wanted to confirm that you got my message about the price of the domain. Waiting for your confirmation letter.” On April 9, 2006, the Respondent again replied with the same message of April 3, 2006. On May 2, 2006, the Complainant responded asking for the Respondent’s offer to sell the domain. The Respondent replied on May 19, 2006, stating: “hello Recently I get many price quotes for my domains, including RALPHLAUREN-POLO.COM. Meanwhile I refuse to sell the domain to others because I’m in the middle of business negotiation with you. I ask you to answer me as soon as possible and set the price according to your estimation of its value.”

 

5. The Parties’ Contentions

The Complainant

(i) Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Complainant contends that the domain names currently used by the Respondent are confusingly similar to the Complainant’s famous RALPH LAUREN/POLO Trademarks. The Complainant’s registered trademarks through the United States Patent and Trademark Office are prima facie evidence of their validity, which creates a rebuttable presumption that the Complainant’s marks are inherently distinctive. See Janus Int’l Holding Co. v. Rademacher, WIPO Case No. D2002-0201.

The Respondent’s domain name <ralphlauren-polo.com> is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s famous RALPH LAUREN/POLO Trademarks. The disputed domain name incorporates the Complainant’s trademarks in their entirety but for the addition of a hyphen (“-”) and a generic top-level domain gTLD “.com.”

The Complainant submitted that panels have held that the use or absence of punctuation marks, such as hyphens, does not alter the fact that a domain name is identical to a trademark. See Cherno Communications Inc. v. Jonathan Dennis Kimball, WIPO Case No. D2000-0119. Prior panels have held that the mere addition of a hyphen to a trademark renders the relevant domain name confusingly similar to the trademark. See, e.g. Teleplace, Inc. v. Oliveira, NAF Case No. FA 95835; InfoSpace.com, Inc. v. Tenenbaum Ofer, WIPO Case No. D2000-0075.

The Complainant contends that the addition of the generic top-level domain “.com” is irrelevant in determining whether the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s famous RALPH LAUREN/POLO Trademarks. See Pomellato S.p.A. v. Tonetti, WIPO Case No. D2000-0493, Sony Kabushiki Kaisha v. Inja, Kil, WIPO Case No. D2000-1409. The contention is that the generic top-level domain “.com” because such gTLD has no legal significance. See Kate Spade LLC v. IQ Management Corporation, WIPO Case No. D2005-0109.

(ii) Rights or Legitimate Interests

According to paragraph4(b) (ii) of the Policy, the Complainant has to demonstrate that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name <ralphlauren-polo.com>. The Respondent registered the domain name only after the Complainant had established rights in its RALPH LAUREN/POLO Trademarks.

The Complainant contends that the Respondent cannot demonstrate any legitimate interest in the disputed domain name. The Respondent registered the Domain Names only after the Complainant had established rights in its RALPH LAUREN/POLO Trademarks. Moreover, the Respondent has no business name that is in any way similar to the Complainant’s Trademarks, and the Respondent specifically choose its disputed domain name to forward users to a webpage with click-thru links, which include links for the Complainant’s products as well as those of the Complainant’s competitors.

The Complainant contends that the Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name, which is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s RALPH LAUREN/POLO Trademarks, to redirect internet users interested in the Complainant’s Products to websites that offer links to competing websites is not a use in connection with a bona fide offering of goods and services pursuant to the Policy paragraph 4(c)(i), nor a legitimate noncommercial or fair use pursuant to paragraph 4(c)(iii) of the Policy. See PRL USA Holdings, Inc. v. Lucas Cobb, WIPO Case No. D2006-0162.

Furthermore, the Complainant submits that there exists no relationship between the Complainant and the Respondent that would give rise to any license, permission, or authorization by which the Respondent could own or use the disputed domain name, which incorporate in their entirety and are confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark. The Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name and is not making and never has made any use of the disputed domain name apart from associating them with a website where users may click on links (and thereby provide the Respondent with revenue) to forward themselves to websites, many of which sell goods in direct competition with the Complainant’s goods.

(iii) Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The Complainant submits that the Respondent’s actions evidence bad faith use and registration of the domain name under  paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy, because it is using the domain name <ralphlauren-polo.com> in bad faith to intentionally attempt to attract, for commercial gain, internet users to its website by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s trademarks as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of its website.

The Complainant cites the case of Veuve Cliquot Ponsardin, Maison Fondee en 1772 v. The Polygenix Group Co, WIPO Case No. D2000-0163, which decided that the registration of a domain name “so obviously connected with such a well-known product by someone with no connection with the product suggests opportunistic bad faith.”

The Respondent has registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting or otherwise transferring the domain name to the Complainant, the owner of the trademarks, for valuable consideration in excess of out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name. The Respondent offered to sell the domain name to the Complainant for “a rental contract for 99 years for a price of 2499$ per month.” Under the Policy paragraph 4(b)(i), this offer is in excess of out-of-pocket expenses and is evidence of bad faith. See China Ocean Shipping (Group) Co. Ltd. v. Cao Shan Hui, WIPO Case No. D2000-0066 and Educational Tertiary Service v. TOEFL, WIPO Case No. D2000-0044. The Complainant also cited as an example a line of decisions in the United States Courts which have come to similar conclusions about those who act in a manner similar to the Respondent by offering to sell domain names to trademark owners for a profit. See Panavision International LP v. Toeppen, 141 F.3d 1315 (9th Cir. 1998).

The Respondent had made it clear that it would be happy to sell many of the disputed domain names at a significantly inflated rate. The fact that the Respondent registered and used the domain name to direct internet users to websites that provided sponsored links for the Complainant’s goods as well as those of the Complainant’s competitors is further evidence of bad faith. See Lowen Corporation d/b/a Lowen Sign Company v. Henry Chan, WIPO Case No. D2004-0430.

B. Respondent

The Respondent submitted a short response on June 27, 2006. The Respondent contends that the disputed domain name was registered in that name because its original purpose was to make an informative non-commercial website about Ralph Lauren and its products. The Respondent admits that he was familiar with the company and it’s products and contends that because he enjoyed the Ralph Lauren products, he had decided to make an informative website which would have no profitable purposes and which would not harm the company in any way.

The Respondent contends that he had not used the domain and the website that is described is a standard Go Daddy’s website that is attached to GoDaddy’s server. The Respondent contends that his domain had no effect on the contents of the website and the control of the contents belongs to GoDaddy only. The contention was that the registration of the domain with that name was not intended to harm the Ralph Lauren Corporation in any way but to support it and to make some positive non-commercial information available on the Respondent’s website. When he was asked to evacuate and to sell the domain, the Respondent contends he refused in order not to create a situation that would allow someone to make use of the disputed domain to harm the company. The Respondent claimed that in response to the request by the Complainant to set the price for the domain, it did reply by email in the manner described by the Complainant earlier but that the Respondent’s price is only an offer. The Respondent contended that the Complainant should “set the real price according to their estimation of the value of the domain”.

The Respondent contended that it had not used the domain and that “moreover there was no server attached to the domain and so there was no possibility to use the domain” and contended that “Therefore it`s not possible to say that I made a profit from that domain or used it in bad faith because I did not use it at all”.

The Respondent asserted that the Complainant had no legitimate basis for demanding the domain for free. It concluded by contending that the only thing it had tried to do was to prevent the possibility of somebody buying the domain and using it to harm the Complainant. The Respondent has asked the Complainant to buy the domain at a price according to the value of the domain’s estimated worth.

 

6. Discussion and Findings

The Panel finds that the proceedings have been conducted in accordance with the Rules and the Policy. Under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainant must prove each of the following three elements of its case:

(i) The Respondent’s domain names are identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights;

(ii) The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain names; and

(iii) The Respondent’s domain names have been registered and are being used in bad faith.

Under paragraph 15(a) of the Rules, this Panel must “decide a complaint on the basis of the statements and documents submitted in accordance with the Policy, the Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable”.

(a) Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Panel finds that the Complainant, as registered proprietor of RALPHLAUREN/POLO Trademarks, has established rights in those trademarks, sufficient for the purposes of paragraph4(a) of the Rules. The panel finds that there is a confusing similarity between the Complainant’s RALPH/LAUREN/POLO Trademarks and the disputed domain name. Onetest as to what constitutes “confusing similarity” in such proceedings as this, in the Panel’s opinion, is whether or not an informed potential customer of the rightful services would, during the process of looking at the domain name, reasonably believe that the website to be accessed was operated by, or on behalf of the owner of a trademark in connection with that owner’s business. The essential function of a trademark was to guarantee the identity of the origin of the marked product to the consumer by enabling him to distinguish the product or service from others which had another origin. Thus, a risk that the public is on balance more likely than not to believe that the goods or services in question came from the same or economically linked undertakings is sufficient to constitute a likelihood of confusion. See Canon Kabushiki Kaisha v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc, European Court of Justice decision [1999] RPC 117. See also Polaroid Corp. v. Polarad Elecs. Corp., 287 F.2d 492 (2nd Cir.) cert. denied, 368 U.S. 820.

The likelihood of confusion had to be appreciated globally, taking account of all relevant factors and the more distinctive the earlier mark the greater would be the likelihood of confusion. Where the association between the domain name and the trademark would cause the end user to believe wrongly that the respective services came from the same or economically linked undertakings, there would be a likelihood of confusion. See Ellerman Investments Ltd and another v. C-Vanci [2006] EWHC 1442 and see Exxon Corp. v. Oxxford Clothes, Inc., 109 F.3d 1070 (5th Cir.), 118 S. Ct. 299 (1997). The use of a hyphen in the disputed domain name does not render the domain name sufficiently different from the Complainant’s RALPH LAUREN/POLO Trademarks. See Columbia Sportswear Company v. Mahlon Keeler, WIPO Case No. D2000-0206 . For the reasons outlined above, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s mark. The Panel concludes that the Complainant has established paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.

(b) Rights or Legitimate Interests

According to the Policy, paragraph 4(b)(ii), the Complainant has to demonstrate that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy sets out three elements, all of which shall demonstrate the Respondent’s rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name for the purposes of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy. The Complainant has established prima facie evidence that none of the three elements establishing legitimate interests or rights mentioned in paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy applies. In such instance, the burden of proof shifts to the Respondent to rebut the evidence (see, Carolina Herrera, Ltd. v. Alberto Rincon Garcia, WIPO Case No. D2002-0806 ).

Where, as here, the Complainant’s marks and name are so well-known and so widely recognized, and have been used in connection with apparel, home decor, fragrances and other products for so many years, it is difficult to see how there can be no legitimate use by the Respondent. For instance in Nike Inc. v. B.B. de Boer, WIPO Case No. D2000-1397, the panel concluded that the respondent had no legitimate rights noting that it was difficult to see how the respondent could not have known about the trademark NIKE. See also, Victoria’s Secret, et. al v. Atchinson Investments Ltd., NAF Case No. 96496 (finding the respondent could not have been unaware that VICTORIA’S SECRET was a famous mark and thus did not have a legitimate right to register a domain name using the mark).

More importantly, each of the domain names registered by the Respondent forwards the user to a page with click through links, mostly unrelated to the Respondent. The Respondent’s use of domain names, which are confusingly similar to the Complainant’s Trademarks, to redirect internet users interested in the Complainant’s goods to sites that offer links to competing websites is not a use in connection with a bona fide offering of goods and services pursuant to paragraph 4(c)(i) of the Policy, nor a legitimate noncommercial or fair user pursuant to paragraph 4(c)(iii) of the Policy. See Pioneer Hi-Bred Int’l Inc. v. Chan, NAF Case No. 154119 (finding that respondent did not have rights or legitimate interests in a domain name that used complainant’s mark and redirected Internet users to a website that pays domain name registrants for referring those users to its search engine and pop-up advertisements); see also, eBay Inc. v. Sunho Hong, WIPO Case No. D2000-1633 (stating that the “use of complainant’s entire mark in infringing domain names makes it difficult to infer a legitimate use.”)

The Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name and, accordingly, that paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy is satisfied.

(c) Registered and Used in Bad Faith

Paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy provides that one of the circumstances evidencing registration and use of a domain name in bad faith is that, by using the domain name, the respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, internet users to the respondent’s website or other on-line locations, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of the respondent’s website or location or of a product or service on the respondent’s website or location. See Barnes & Noble College Bookstores, Inc. v. Leasure Interactive, WIPO Case No. D2001-1216 and Veuve Cliquot Ponsardin, Maison Fondee en 1772 v. The Polygenix Group Co, WIPO Case No. D2000-0163 (“The domain name is so obviously connected with such a well-known product that its very use by someone with no connection with the product suggests opportunistic bad faith”).

Registration of a domain name that is confusingly similar or identical to a famous trademark by any entity, which has no relationship to that mark, is in certain circumstances itself sufficient evidence of bad faith registration and use (See Charles Jourdan Holding AG v. AAIM, WIPO Case No. D2000-0403 and Centurion Bank of Punjab Limited v. West Coast Consulting, LLC, WIPO Case No. D2005-1319). The Panel finds that to be the case in the present circumstances.

It is also significant that the Respondent tried to offer to sell the domain name at what appears to be considerably inflated price. This is strong evidence of its bad faith under the Policy. Many previous WIPO decisions have held that offering to sell a disputed domain name at prices in excess of the registration fee is evidence of respondent’s bad faith. See World Wrestling Fed’n Entmt., Inc. v. Bosman, WIPO Case No. D1999-0001.

The Panel does find that in view of the submitted evidence, and in the specific circumstances of this case, there is a very strong inference that the Respondent’s purpose in registering the domain name was for commercial gain in bad faith within the meaning of the Policy.

The Panel finds that the Complainant has established that the disputed domain names were registered and are being used in bad faith.

 

7. Decision

For all the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the domain name, <ralphlauren-polo.com> be transferred to the Complainant.


Dr. Colin Yee Cheng Ong
Sole Panelist

Dated: July 15, 2006

 

Источник информации: https://internet-law.ru/intlaw/udrp/2006/d2006-0700.html

 

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