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WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
La Francaise des Jeux v. Domain Drop S.A.
Case No. D2007-1157
1. The Parties
The Complainant is La Francaise des Jeux, Boulogne, Billancourt, France, represented by Inlex Conseil, France.
The Respondent is Domain Drop S.A., Charleston, Saint Kitts and Nevis.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <coteetmatch.com> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with DomainDoorman, LLC.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on August 3, 2007. On August 7, 2007, the Center transmitted by email to DomainDoorman, LLC a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On August 8, 2007, DomainDoorman, LLC transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details. The Center verified that 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 August 15, 2007. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was September 4, 2007. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on September 11, 2007.
The Center appointed William P. Knight as the sole panelist in this matter on October 4, 2007. 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 current registration of the Domain Name dates from January 26, 2007, soon after which date it was acquired by the Respondent. Use of the Wayback Machine at “www.archive.org” shows that the Domain Name was first registered and used in 2003, since when it has been used by several different entities.
The Complainant is a corporation of the French state which creates, develops and markets lottery and sports-betting games in France and in the French overseas departments and territories. The Complaint asserts and provides supporting information that it is the owner of the trademark COTE & MATCH, registered in France following filings at the beginning of 2002, numbers 023147311 and 023144292, in classes 9, 16, 18, 25, 28, 38 and 41 in relation to “education and amusements; production of shows, films, television films, video tapes; rental of films; amusements by multimedia or computer; lottery operating services, games money (…); production of transmissions televisions or radio” (the “Trademark”).
The Complainant is the owner of the domain name <cote-et-match.com> registered February 14, 2002 as well as many other domain names containing the Trademark namely <cote-et-match.fr>, <cote-et-match.net>, <cote-et-match.tv>, <cote-et-match.eu>, <cotematch.com>, <cotematch.fr>, <cotematch.net>, <cotematch.tv>, <cotematch.eu>, <cotematch.mobi>, <coteetmatch.fr> and <coteetmatch.eu>.
The Respondent is an entity which, on its website at “www.domaindropsa.com”, says that it “looks at expiring or previously [sic] registered domains using an automated program.” It has been the subject of many previous decisions under the Policy, namely: Western Health Advantage, Inc. v. Domain Drop S.A.,
WIPO Case No. D2007-1111 (<westernhealthadvantage.org>); VAG – Armaturen GmbH v. Domain Drop S.A.,
WIPO Case No. D2007-0673 (<vagarmaturen.com>); Credit Industriel et Commercial v. Domain Drop S.A.,
WIPO Case No. D2007-0666 (<wwwcic.com>); Credit Industriel et Commercial S.A. v. Domain Drop S.A.,
WIPO Case No. D2007-0532 (<filbangue.com>); Pelikan Vertriebs Gesellschaft mbH & Co v. Domain Drop S.A.,
WIPO Case No. D2007-0306 (<wwwpelikan.com>); Intesa Sanpaolo S.p.A. v. Domain Drop S.A.,
WIPO Case No. D2007-0273 (<intesa.org>); O2 Centro Wellness, S.L. v. Domain Drop S.A.,
WIPO Case No. D2006-1469 (<o2centrowellness.com>); Genlyte Thomas Group LLC v. Domain Drop S.A.,
WIPO Case No. D2006-1223 (<hadcolighting.org>); Kiloutou v. Domain Drop S.A.,
WIPO Case No. D2006-1105 (<kiloutout.net>); Veolia Environment v. Domain Drop S.A.,
WIPO Case No. D2006-1029 (<veoliatransporation.com>); PREPADOM v. Domain Drop S.A.,
WIPO Case No. D2006-0917 (<prepadom.com>); United Refining Company v. Domain Drop S.A., NAF Claim No. FA0708001055144 (<unitedrefiningcompany.com>; JELD-WEN, Inc. v. Domain Drop S.A., NAF Claim No. FA0707001043130 (<jeld-wen.org>); Implus Footcare LLC. v. Domain Drop S.A., NAF Claim No. FA0606000741848 (<wwwsofsole.com>); LTD Commodities, LLC v. Domain Drop S.A., NAF Claim No. FA0609000809759 (<lakesidecollections.com> and <ltdcommedites.com>); Questar Corporation v. Domain Drop S.A., NAF Claim No. FA0610000819503 (<wwwquestargas.com> and <questarexploration.com>); Starent Networks Corporation v. Domain Drop S.A., NAF Claim No. FA0611000842901 (<starentnetwork.com>); and Pirelli & C. S.p.a. v. Domain Drop S.A., NAF Claim No. FA0706001021045 (<pirellifil.com>).
The Respondent has often been found to be a serial cybersquatter, the Panel in Western Health Advantage, Inc. v. Domain Drop S.A.,
WIPO Case No. D2007-1111, finding that the Respondent “is engaged in a pattern of preclusive and abusive domain name registrations within the meaning of Policy paragraph 4((b)(ii).” The Domain Name in this case is presently being used to simply provide links to websites providing pornographic materials.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights.
(Policy, paragraph 4(a)(i), Rules, paragraphs 3(b)(viii), (b)(ix)(1))
The Complainant relies upon its registrations of the Trademark and its other domain names. In support of its contention of identity or confusing similarity of the Domain Name, the Complainant points out that word “et” is the French equivalent for the English “and” so that “Cote et Match” is to be understood as substantially identical to the Trademark.
The respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name.
(Policy, paragraph 4(a)(ii), Rules, paragraph 3(b)(ix)(2))
The Complainant points out that there is no evidence that the Respondent is known by or uses the Domain Name in respect to any goods or services, is not licensed by the Complainant to do so and is not a reseller of the Complainant’s products.
The Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
(Policy, paragraphs 4(a)(iii), 4(b); Rules, paragraph 3(b)(ix)(3))
The Complainant observes and argues:
1. that the current use of the Domain Name is as a parking site, which presents commercial links to apparently unrelated products and services;
2. that use of the Domain Name which is identical to the Trademark may cause consumers to believe that the Respondent’s website is in some way associated with the Complainant, an entity of high moral and ethical standards devoted to the public interest;
3. that the Respondent’s website using the Domain Name has active pop-up windows enabled which seek to redirect those going to the Respondent’s website into unrelated lottery or casino game sites, which add to the denigration of the Complainant;
4. that the Complainant has attempted to contact previous registrants of the Domain Name by email and registered mail, in each case the correspondence being returned due to a change of address of the intended recipient and the Domain Name shortly thereafter being transferred to a new registrant;
5. that the use of the website of the respondent using the Domain name to redirect users to pornography sites – the use of a site for the purposes of pornography itself in these circumstances being indicative of bad faith; see V&S Vin & Sprit AB v. Canal Prod Ltd,
WIPO Case No. D2002-0437; and
6. that the lack of any connection between the Domain Name and the Respondent or the pornographic products and services to which users would be redirected, indicating use of the Domain Name for no purpose other than to divert those who mistakenly believe it to be connected to the Complainant, presumably by commercial gain through click-through fees.
The Complainant also has put in evidence the fact that the Domain Name was originally registered after the date of registration of the Trademark and the commencement of use of the Trademark by the Complainant, albeit by an entity other than the Respondent.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
In accordance with paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainant must establish:
(i) that the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service in which the Complainant has rights; and
(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.
In the absence of any contradiction or evidence from the Respondent, the panel is entitled to accept the factual matters asserted by the Complainant.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
It is clear that the Complainant is the owner of the Trademark, through registration in France.
For the reasons proposed by the Complainant and set out above, the Panel agrees that the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to the Trademark and, accordingly, Policy paragraph 4(a)(i) is satisfied in this case.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Respondent was entitled, and had every opportunity, to demonstrate that it had some right or legitimate interest with respect to the Domain Name. The Respondent has given no such explanation. The Complainant has not given any licence to the Respondent, and the Respondent is not a reseller of the Complainant’s products.
The only use that has been made of the Domain Name has been to attract Internet users who might be interested in the Complainant to websites providing pornography goods or services on a pay-per-click basis.
The Panel, therefore, agrees with the Complainant’s submission and finds that the Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Whilst the Domain Name was not first registered by the Respondent, use of the Wayback Machine at “www.archive.org” shows that, when the Domain Name was first registered and used in 2003 and a year after the Complainant commenced its use of the Trademark, the Domain Name was used in respect of a website in the French language, diverting users to a wide range of sports and gaming interests. It is clear that the first registrant and user of the Domain Name was perfectly aware of the Complainant, and its Trademark.
Be that as it may, the Respondent acquired the Domain Name in January 2007 in circumstances where, whether the Respondent used automated processes to identify and acquire the Domain Name or not, the Respondent must be taken to have known of the established reputation of the Complainant in the Trademark and to have intended to profit from it by its current use.
In these circumstances, and given the current use of the Domain Name for no purpose other than to redirect users to pornography websites, the Panel readily accepts the evidence and arguments of the Complainant as showing that the Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
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 <coteetmatch.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
William P. Knight
Dated: October 18, 2007