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WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

 

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Case No. D2000-0396

 

1 The Parties

The Complainants are:

(1) Laurent-Perrier SA, and

(2) Champagne Laurent-Perrier SA, both with the address of 32 Avenue de Champagne 51150 Tours sur Marne, France.

The Complainants are represented by: Mr. Yves Dumont, President of the Board, and Mrs. Flore Steinmetz-Coffin, Legal Director, both of 32 Avenue de Champagne 51150 Tours sur Marne, France.

The Respondent(s) are variously referred to by the Center as:

Laurentperrier.com, Mr. L. Perrier, Laurent Jacques Perrier, and M. L. Perrier, c/o Fernhead Property Holdings, P.O. Box N-8188, Suite 205 Saffrey Square, Bank Lane, Nassau, The Bahamas. E-mail: Fernhead1@hotmail.com. (This is the address provided by Network Solutions, Inc.).

Recent communications from "Representatives" of the Respondent(s), Alan Jones, of Belize Domain Services, and Peter Colman, indicate the new address of the Respondent(s) as P.O. Box 28, San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, Belize. E-mail: Belize@Visto.com .

The alleged Respondents have not given any sign of existence in the present proceedings. A Response to the Complaint was filed by Mr. Peter Colman, 28 Heathstan Rd., London W12 ORA, United Kingdom, (formerly of 84, Castellain Rd. London W9 1EX, UK), e-mail: cosh@dircon.co.uk, who said that he would be "happy to draft out some responses which are appropriate to my position" (Mr. Colman’s June 13, 2000 e-mail to Mr. Jones) Mr. Colman was the initial Registrant of both domain names and appears to be the de facto true Respondent in the present long-running domain name dispute.

 

2. The Domain Name(S) And Registrars(S)

The Domain Names at issue are "laurentperrier.com" and "laurent-perrier.com". They are both registered with Network Solutions, Inc., 505 Huntmar Park Drive, Herndon, VA. 20170 USA, under its standard 4.0 Service Contract.

 

3. Procedural History And Factual Background

This proceeding is part of a domain name controversy dating back to 1997. On August 15 and 26, 1997, Mr. Peter Colman registered the domain names "laurentperrier.com" and "laurent-perrier.com" respectively.

Mr. Colman was still the Registrant on November 6, 1997,. This is evidenced by Complainants’ Annex E, which is the November 1997 Internic printout listing Peter Colman, of 84, Castellain Road, as the Registrant, Administrative Contact and Billing Contact. Mr. Colman failed to provide his phone or fax number. This appears to be a characteristic of many past registrations with which he has been involved. The Technical and Zone Contact was and remains Mr. Andrew Crane whose contact information was provided.

Sometime after August 26, 1997, the Complainants initiated two legal actions in the Paris County Court (Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris) against Peter Colman seeking control of the two domain names. The date in 1997, when these actions began has not been provided to the Panel (Complainants’ June 26, 2000 Response, para. 12).

On December 23, 1997, Peter Colman completed the necessary "Internic" forms to transfer the two domain names. Mr. Colman provided copies of these forms as Annex II. It is significant that a copy of the laurentperrier.com transfer form was e-mailed to "L. Perrier"

dns@fds.group.co.uk

and a copy of the laurent-perrier.com transfer form was mailed to Laurent Jacques Perrier

dns@fds.group.co.uk

The e-mail addresses of each of these "individuals" are identical. In addition, M. L. Perrier is referred to as L. Perrier.

The Complainants’ maintain that the domain names were transferred as soon as Mr. Colman became aware of the French legal proceedings (Complainants’ June 26, 2000 Response, para. 12).

Network Solutions’ records reflect that on December 30, 1997, the transfer of the domain names was effectuated. The domain name laurentperrier.com was transferred to M. L. Perrier, and the domain name laurent-perrier.com was transferred to Laurent Jacques Perrier. The address provided for both was the same: P.O. Box N-8188, Suite 205 Saffrey Square, Bank Lane, Nassau, Bahamas. This address corresponds with that of Fernhead Property Holdings (e-mail:

Fernhead1@hotmail.com

, which was provided on the same documents (Complainants’ Annex B). In each case Fernhead Property Holdings took Mr. Colman’s position as Administrative and Billing Contact, and as with Mr. Colman’s earlier registration, no phone or fax information for this entity was provided. Andrew Crane remained the Technical and Zone Contact and again his contact information was provided.

On June 26, 1998, the Honorable Judge Jean-Pierre Marcus, Vice-President of the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris (Paris County Court) entered judgements in the related matters: 55459/98 and 55460/98 (bf) ordering Mr. Colman to transfer the domain names at issue to the Complainants and prohibiting Mr. Colman from transferring the domain names for the benefit of any third parties. These Orders were issued in summary proceedings. The Judge found that Mr. Colman failed to accept the registered letters delivered to him by the process server and that he failed to appear.

Mr. Peter Colman did not comply with the Court Orders.

A hardcopy Complaint from Laurent-Perrier S.A. and Champagne Laurent-Perrier SA was filed with the Center against Mr. Peter Colman, on May 8 , 2000. The Center requested the appropriate verifications from the Registrar, Network Solutions, Inc. on May 10, 2000.

On May 12, 2000, the Registrar, Network Solutions, Inc. notified the Center that 1) M. L. Perrier is the current Registrant of the domain names laurentperrier.com and laurent-perrier.com, 2) the Registrant’s address is P.O. Box N-8188 Suite 205, Saffrey Square, Bank Lane, Nassau, Bahamas, 3) the Administrative Contact for both domain names is CEO (CE100-ORG) fernheadl@hotmail.com, Fernhead Property Holdings, P.O. Box N-8188, Nassau, Bahamas, 4) the Technical and Zone Contacts is Andrew Crane (AC1326) andrew@inweb.co.uk, InterWeb Design Ltd., 9 The Parade, Trumps Green Road, Virginia Water, GU25 4EH, UK, and that the Billing Contact is Accounts (AC418-ORG) fernhead1@hotmail.com, Fernhead Property Holdings, P.O. Box N-8188, Nassau, Bahamas, 5) Network Solutions’ 4.0 Service Agreement is in effect, and that 6) both domain names are in "active" status.

The Complaint was found to be deficient for several reasons and the Complainants were so informed by the Center on May 16, 2000. An Amended Complaint was filed with the Center on May 19, 2000, and a hardcopy arrived on May 29, 2000.

On May 30, 2000, the Center was informed by e-mail from fernheadl@hotmail.com, Alan Jones, Belize Domain Services P.O. Box 28, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize that it had received a "complaint transmittal cover sheet" from the Center and that the Respondent, Mr. Perrier, was "travelling by yacht around the Pacific and is personally unable to deal with this complaint." The e-mail also stated that his Administrative, Technical and Billing Contact were "acting on his behalf" and that all future e-mails should be sent to belize@visto.com.

The e-mail dated May 30, 2000, also noted that "Fernhead Property of Nassau is no longer operating and we [Belize Domain Services] have been given their email authorities since Network Solutions Inc, despite several attempts at amending the current registrant address and contact details, using the RNCA template, has not complied with these requests and updated the above details." This e-mail further noted that the two domain names at issue were transferred by Mr. Peter Colman of Great Britain to their client (referred to as Mr. L. Perrier and Mr. Perrier) on or around December 30, 1997.

On May 31, 2000 the Center also provided a copy of the above-referenced May 30, 2000, e-mail from Alan Jones of Belize Domain Services to the Complainants’ counsel, Mrs. Flore Steinmetz-Coffin.

On May 31, 2000, the Center notified the Respondents that the Complaint satisfied the formal requirements of the Policy, Rules and Supplemental Rules; that payment of the required sum had been made by the Complainant; and that an administrative proceeding had been commenced against the Respondent. A deadline of June 19, 2000, was fixed for filing the Response. Communications were made by post, fax, and e-mail to Mr. L. Perrier at the Bahamas address provided in the Network Solutions WHOIS database, and to the Administrative, Billing and Technical and Zone contacts listed in the Network Solutions WHOIS database. The following e-mail address were used:

fernheadl@hotmail.com
andrew@inweb.co.uk
postmaster@laurent-perrier.co and
postmaster@laurentperrier.com

Notification was also provided to Mr. Peter Colman 84 Castellain Road, London W91 EX, UK

On June 6, 2000, Network Solutions updated the records of both Laurent Jacques Perrier and M.L. Perrier to reflect a change of the Technical and Zone Contact’s address.

On June 14, 2000, Alan Jones again wrote the Center using the fernhead1@hotmail.com e-mail address. In this correspondence he stated that his organization, Belize Domain Services, represented both clients, M. L. Perrier and Laurent Perrier. In this same e-mail, Mr. Jones again transmitted the new address and the belize@visto.come-mail address. Mr. Jones again noted that the domain names had been transferred to his clients by Mr. Colman in December 1997. Mr. Jones indicated that he was not in Belize at present and had not yet received full copies of the documents, and requested an extension of time. Mr. Jones further noted that Mr. Peter Colman of the U.K. had received a bundle of documents concerning the Complaint and had complained of inaccuracies. A copy of Mr. Jones’s e-mail was forwarded to the Complainants by the Center on the day of receipt.

On June 15, 2000, Alan Jones again wrote the Center, this time using the belize@visto.com address stating that he was still out of Belize and stating that he had still not received full documentation concerning the Complaint. Attached to Mr. Jones’s e-mail was a second e-mail dated May 23, 2000, sent from the fernhead1@hotmail.com address to Network Solutions, complaining that address registrations had not been changed. The author of this e-mail, who is not identified, complained of fundamental inaccuracies in the Complaint. This e-mail, while from the Fernhead1@hotmail.com address speaks of a domain name that "we administrate". These e-mails were again transmitted by the Center to the Complainants. The May 23, 2000 e-mail demonstrates that the Respondents, i.e. their representatives, had very early notice of the domain dispute.

On June 15, 2000, the Complainants e-mailed the Center denying consent for an extension of time. That same day, the Complainants’ refusal to grant an extension was e-mailed to all addresses of record.

On June 17, 2000, Alan Jones e-mailed the Center expressing disappointment that an extension would not be granted and stating that "Mr. Peter Colman in the UK has very kindly offered to put in a response on our behalf". An e-mail dated June 13, 2000, provided in Annex 1 the Response evidences that Mr. Colman’s offer to draft the response was made on June 13, 2000.

On June 19, 2000, an electronic copy of the Response was filed by Peter Colman. Receipt of the Response was acknowledged the same day by the Center. In his Response Mr. Colman admits that he "has registered and does register domain names both on his behalf and on behalf of other individuals and organizations" (Response para. 21).

On June 26, 2000 the Complainants filed a reply to Mr. Colman’s Response which was transmitted to the Respondents. They also sent by registered mail additional evidence – an investigative report dated December 3, 1997 from SCP Beaumier Denis (Huissiers de Justice) concerning the domain names in question which had previously been submitted to the French Court.

Subsequently, the Center notified the Parties that an Administrative Panel composed of a single member, Dr. Kamen Troller, had been appointed. The Center further notified the Parties that the Panel had duly submitted a Statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality and Independence to the Center. On June 26, 2000, the file was transmitted to the Panel and the Panel was notified that absent exceptional circumstances, he was required to forward its decision to the Center in accordance with Paragraph 15 of the Rules by July 10, 2000.

The Panel examined all notifications of the Center, and the Complaint, and finds that they comply with the formal requirements of the Rules and Supplemental Rules. It further finds that the Center has adhered to the Policy, Rules and Supplemental Rules throughout this proceeding, and that the Administrative Panel was properly constituted.

 

4. Factual Background

The Complainants, (1) Laurent-Perrier SA, and (2) Champagne Laurent-Perrier SA, are internationally known champagne producers and also active in various financial and other business activities.

The names "Laurent Perrier", "Laurent-Perrier", and these names in combination with various types of champagne, have been the subject of international protection for years. The examples of protection submitted are far too numerous to recount. Suffice it to say the name Champagne Laurent Perrier was the subject of WIPO registration No. 443 839 pursuant to the Madrid Convention on March 15, 1979, which was renewed in 1999, and that contrary to the Respondent(s) contention (par. 20), the mark "Laurent Perrier" is registered in Belize (Complainants’ Annex C: reference number 5157I).

The Respondent(s) have been listed variously in documents provided by the Center as laurentperrier.com, laurent-perrier.com, Mr. L. Perrier, Laurent Jacques Perrier and M. L. Perrier. It is unclear whether M. L. Perrier is intended to be Mr. Laurent Perrier. Since at least June 14, 2000 the Respondent(s) have taken the position that these are two distinct individuals. However, no evidence has been offered to support this position, and no evidence has been offered that would suggest the existence of this/these individuals. Hereafter they are designated in the referred to in the plural as the "Respondents".

The Respondents have not provided proof of a trademark registration for "laurent-perrier" or "laurentperrier".

The sites

www.laurentperrier.com

and

www.laurent-perrier.com

are not in operation.

 

5. Parties’ Contentions

The Complainants asserts that: (1) The domain names laurentperrier.com and laurent-perrier.com are identical or confusingly similar to mark employing the names "Laurent Perrier" and Laurent-Perrier", (2) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; that (3) the domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith, and that the Respondent has used an assumed name "Mr. L. Perrier" to transfer the ownership of the domain names in question.

In accordance with paragraph 4(b)(i) of the Policy, the Complainants request the Administrative Panel to issue a decision that the domain names "laurentperrier.com" and "laurent-perrier.com" be transferred to the Complainants.

The Respondents note numerous procedural irregularities which are dealt with below. The Respondents assert that (1) they have a right to and a legitimate interest in the domain names; and that (2) the domain was not registered and used in bad faith. The Respondents do not deny that the names laurentperrier.com and laurent-perrier.com are not identical or confusingly similar to trademarks registered by the Complainants.

The Respondents suggest that the Complainants has acted in bad faith but does not make a claim for reverse domain name hijacking.

 

6. Discussion and Findings

A) Preliminary Matters

Several procedural points are to be addressed on a preliminary basis, each of them is addressed below.

1) Identification of the Respondents

The original Complaint, filed with the Center on May 8, 2000, named Peter Colman as the Respondent despite the fact that the two domain names at issue had been transferred more than two years before to Laurent Jacques Perrier and M. L. Perrier.

The May 12, 2000, Network Solutions certification stated however that M. L. Perrier is the current registrant of both laurentperrier.com and laurent-perrier.com. This appears to have been an error, but explains why WIPO issued a deficiency notice on May 16, 2000, stating that M. L. Perrier was the Registrant of both domain names.

An Amended Complaint, filed May 19, 2000, listed M. L. Perrier as the Respondent. Mr. Colman in his Response has used this error to suggest that the status of laurent-perrier.com is not at issue (para. 2).

The Panel has considered this argument carefully and rejects it. The Complainants have identified the domain names in dispute and the Registrants are identified with precision in Annex B of the Complaint. There is no doubt concerning the objectives of the Complainants. They have been clear since legal proceedings were commenced in France several years ago. Furthermore, all contact information is the same for M. L. Perrier and Laurent Jacques Perrier (if they even exist), and notice of the dispute to both parties is therefore presumed. This is evidenced by the fact that Mr. Colman argues effectively for both parties (see e.g., paras. 15, 18 of his Response).

Possibly some of the confusion is cultural in origin. Despite the fact that the Service Agreement is in English, the Complaint was originally filed in French. "M" is the French abbreviation for "Monsieur". The Panel is therefore not sure whether the notice overlooked the status of Laurent Jacques Perrier, or assumed that Mr. L. Perrier and Laurent Jacques Perrier are one and the same person.

2) Response Period

The Respondents have complained about the time period permitted to file a Response, alleging that they failed to receive the annexes timely. The Panel has considered this argument carefully and also rejects it. The e-mails submitted by the Respondents as Annex 1 demonstrate that they had notice of the dispute at the latest by May 23, 2000. This was one week before the Corrected Complaint had been accepted by the Center. Furthermore, the e-mails filed by the Respondents as Annex 1 also reveal that Belize Domain Services, whom Respondents contend is now the Administrative, Billing and Technical Contact, regularly checked the e-mail address provided by Network Solutions: fernhead1@hotmail.com

The Respondents, having chosen to use an extremely complex and non-transparent administrative structure to administer their domain names, and having decided to move this structure around from London to the Bahamas and then to Belize, can not make use of such complexity to excuse their problem to file a timely response (if such a problem existed at all – Mr. Colman had no problem to submit a well documented response in due time!). Furthermore, the fact that the Respondents’ representatives are, as suggested by their e-mails, seldom in the country where their "business" is allegedly headquartered is the Respondents’ choice and not the Panel’s concern. Lastly, the fact that Administrative Contact of the Respondents has never provided phone and fax numbers to either the Center or Network Solutions for their businesses (which would have made it possible to contact them directly by phone or fax) in either the Bahamas or Belize, does little to convince the Panel that the rules should be relaxed in this instance. It is evident that the Respondents and their representatives sought anonymity and deployed great efforts to confuse the other parties and make it as difficult as possible to contact them.

3) Failure to Include the Policy

The Respondents also note that the Corrected Complaint fails to include a copy of the policy applicable to the domain names in dispute as required by Rule 3(b)(xv) (para. 15). They are correct in this regard and this is an omission that the Center should have detected. Nevertheless, inclusion of this information is for the benefit of the Panel and not the Respondents. The Respondents must already know which Agreement or Policy is in effect. Therefore, this error is not of any practical importance for this dispute.

B) The Merits

Pursuant to paragraph 4(a), the Complainants must prove that each of the following three elements are present if it is to prevail:

(i) The Respondent’s "domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights;" and

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

(iii) The "domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith."

a Identical or confusingly similar

The Complainants assert that the domain names laurent-perrier.com and laurentperrier.com are identical or confusingly similar to trademarks registered by the Complainants. The Respondents have not denied this allegation.

The Panel finds that but for the ".com" designation, minor capitalization differences, and the missing space or dash in "laurentperrier", the domain names "laurent-perrier.com" and "laurentperrier.com" are identical or confusingly similar to trademarks registered by the Complainant.

The Panel therefore concludes that the domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Claimant has rights.

b Rights or legitimate interests

Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy defines the circumstances required for a Respondent to demonstrate "rights to and a legitimate interest in the domain name" The Respondent is only required to demonstrate any one of the following circumstances (in particular and without limitation) to prove its rights to or legitimate interest in the domain name:

(i) before any notice to you of the dispute, your use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the domain name or a name corresponding to the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; or

(ii) you (as an individual, business, or other organization) have been commonly known by the domain name, even if you have acquired no trademark or service mark rights; or

(iii) you are making a legitimate non-commercial or fair use of the domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue.

The Respondents contend that they have a legitimate interest in both of these names (para. 17), but they do not explain what these interests could possibly be. The suggestion, never proven is that M. L. Perrier and/or Laurent Jacques Perrier actually exist and as real people have an interest in and the right to use their names as domain names. Neither Mr. Coleman nor Mr. Jones, who seem to be the only two persons whose existence appears to be real in the present procedure, have produced any document which would establish the existence of the two L. Perrier’s, such as e.g., passport copies, or powers of attorneys signed in their favor by their principals whom they allege to represent, or exchanges of correspondence between Mr. Colman and the Perriers with regard to the alleged transfer of the domain names. All that has been alleged is that a Mr. Perrier is on his yacht in the Pacific and will not be participating in this dispute.

Therefore, the Panel is more than skeptical about the existence of M. L. Perrier and Laurent Jacques Perrier and comes to the conclusion that in 1997 Mr. Colman invented two new registrants for the laurent-perrier and laurentperrier domain names in order to escape the French legal proceedings, and the court order which was likely to follow after the transfer.

Since the existence of the alleged registrants has not been proven, their egitimate interest cannot be proven either. As to the right of Mr. Colman to register the litigious domain names and to indicate invented registrants to Network Solutions, this will be dealt with in reference to 4(c)(iii).

Paragraph 4(c)(i) of the Policy requires the Respondent to demonstrate that before notice of the domain name proceeding there was use or preparation to use the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. Neither the Respondents nor their representatives have alleged that they used or ever intended to use the domain names to offer any goods or services in the sense of paragraph 4(c)(i). The Panel has attempted to visit both "laurentperrier.com" and "laurent-perrier.com" and found them not to be in operation. Mr. Colman acknowledges that the names are not being applied to a website (para. 18). The Panel concludes that the sites are not in operation and that as a result neither the Respondents nor their representatives are making a bona fide offering of goods or services on their sites. The requirements of paragraph 4(c)(i) are not met.

Paragraph 4(c)(ii) requires that the Respondents prove that they have been commonly known by the domain names in question, in this case "laurentperrier.com " and "laurent-perrier.com". The Respondents have not raised this issue and have offered no proof that they are commonly known by the names at issue. In fact, the Respondents have offered no proof of their existence. Lastly, the Respondents have not even offered proof that they have e-mail addresses associated with the domain names in question. The Panel is left with no choice but to conclude that the Respondents are not commonly known by the domain names in question and that as a result this element of paragraph 4(c)(ii) has not been satisfied.

Paragraph 4(c)(iii) requires the Respondent to prove that he is making a egitimate non-commercial or fair use of the domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue.

While individuals or legal entities will in most cases have a legitimate interest in egistering their full name as a domain name with a ".com" designation, the problem is different if a party (individual or corporate) chooses to register as its domain name the name of another living person or entity. In such cases, a strong presumption exists that the registrant is trying to hide behind some other individual or corporate entity, or is trying to pass off his activities as those of someone else, and the Registrant will have to present exceptionally valid reasons to demonstrate that he is making a "legitimate non-commercial or fair use of the domain name".

Mr. Colman has failed to argue or offer any evidence suggesting that he is making a legitimate use of the domain name, and the Panel has already found that the Respondents are making any use of the domain name as contemplated in paragraph 4(c)(iii). The Panel therefore concludes that the requirements of paragraph 4(c)(iii) of the Policy have not been met by the Respondents.

c Bad faith

Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy sets forth a non-exclusive list of circumstances which shall be evidence that the registration and use of a domain name is in bad faith:

(i) circumstances indicating that you have registered or you have acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of your documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or

(ii) you have registered the domain name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that you have engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or

(iii) you have registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or

(iv) by using the domain name, you have intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to your web site or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainants’ mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of your web site or location or of a product or service on your web site or location.

The Complainants have not offered any evidence to support a finding of bad faith with respect to para. (i), (iii) and (iv) above. Evidence however exists to support a finding of bad faith based on paragraph (ii): it is evident to the Panel that the domain name was registered to prevent the Complainant, as the owner of the trademark "Laurent Perrier" (among other related marks) from reflecting its mark in a corresponding domain name. Furthermore, the Panel finds evidence exists that the Respondents, or someone closely affiliated with the Respondents have engaged in a pattern of such conduct.

It is a fact that the Complainants are indeed the owner of a trademark that they are unable to register as a ".com". This is not an instance of first come, first serve. It is a case of wily Respondent(s) engaging in a pattern of conduct which prevents certain domain names from being registered.

The Complainants provided as Annex D a list, apparently developed in 1997, of domain names registered by Peter Colman. This list is currently quite of date. Nevertheless, Peter Colman has admitted in para. 21 that he "has registered and does register domain names both on his own behalf and on behalf of other individuals and organizations." Furthermore, the Panel visited Network Solutions’ WHOIS database and found that Mr. Colman still appears as the Registrant of many of the domain names provided, and even more importantly, that Belize Domain Services now appears as the Registrant of several names of potential commercial importance, in particular, "thepru.com". It is evident that Respondents, or those affiliated with the Respondents, have been "involved" in the "transfer" of the names and that a pattern exists where these names have been transferred from Mr. Colman to services with addresses in the Bahamas and Belize.

The Panel concludes that the domain names in question were registered in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name. The Panel further concludes that a pattern of such conduct exists and that Mr. Colman, and Mr. Alan Jones (Fernhead Property Holdings and Belize Domain Services) play an important role in this pattern of activities. On this basis alone a finding of bad faith can be sustained by the Panel.

As noted above, the criteria for finding bad faith set forth in paragraph 4(b) of the Policy are not exclusive. For the avoidance of all doubt, the Panel also finds support for its finding of bad faith in:

1) The fact that no evidence has been offered as to the existence of either Laurent Jacques Perrier or M. L. Perrier, despite suggestions that they do indeed exist.

2) The treatment by Mr. Colman of L. Perrier and Laurent Jacques Perrier as one person in 1997 e-mail correspondence wherein the two domain registrations were transferred (see above), but the later treatment of the "Perriers" as two individuals.

3) The transfer of the Registrant of these domain names which "coincidentally" seems to have occurred when legal problems arose.

4) The unwillingness of the Administrative Contact to provide full contact information.

5) The close and apparently long-standing relationship between Alan Jones (Belize Domain Services) and Mr. Peter Colman as evidenced by their e-mail correspondence.

6) The lack of a demonstrable plan to use the domain names at issue for a bona fide purpose.

7) The likelihood that the Respondents had constructive or actual notice of the trademarks at issue prior to the registration of the domain names.

8) Evidence of a pattern of conduct involving the speculative registration of domain names, whether by the Respondents or those closely associated with the Respondents.

9) The willingness of Mr. Colman to file a Response when he claims to have transferred the names at issue.

10) Mr. Colman’s statement in his June 13, 2000 e-mail to Mr. Jones that he would be "happy to draft out some responses [to the Complaint] which are appropriate to my position…". Mr. Colman’s reference to his "position" suggests to the Panel a continuing involvement in the future of the domain names in dispute.

In light of the foregoing considerations, the Panel has no hesitation in finding that the Respondents have acted in bad faith in contravention of para. 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.

7. Decision

The Panel decides that 1) the domain names "laurent-perrier.com" and "laurentperrier.com" are confusingly similar to trademarks owned by the Complainants, 2) that the Respondents have no rights or legitimate interest in respect of the domain name, and 3) that the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith by the Respondent.

Pursuant to paragraph 4(i) of the Policy and pursuant to paragraph 15 of the Rules, the Panel requires that the Registrar, Network Solutions, Inc., transfer the names "laurent-perrier.com" and "laurentperrier.com" to the Complainants.

 


 

Dr. Kamen Troller
Sole Panelist

Dated: July 10, 2000

 

Источник информации: http://www.internet-law.ru/intlaw/udrp/2000/d2000-0396.html

 

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