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WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

 

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Harrods Limited v. Harrods University of Applied n Allied Sciences

Case No. D2006-0803

 

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Harrods Limited of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, represented by Burges Salmon LLP, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The Respondent is Harrods University of Applied n Allied Sciences of Pakistan.

 

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <harrods-university.com> is registered with Wild West Domains, Inc.

 

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on June 27, 2006. On June 29, 2006, the Center transmitted by email to Wild West Domains, Inc. a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain name at issue. On June 29, 2006, Wild West Domains, Inc. 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. 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 July 11, 2006. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was July 31, 2006. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on August 2, 2006.

The Center appointed Christopher J. Pibus as the sole panelist in this matter on August 17, 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.

 

4. Factual Background

The Complainant and its predecessors have operated the Harrods Department Store in London, England since 1849, providing over one million products and 50 separate services in a unique building. The Complainant’s store serves approximately 35,000 customers each day and has itself become a tourist attraction in England. International sales and promotions have occurred through export sales and international mail order business. The Complainant also operates satellite stores under the Harrods name in major international airports, such as Frankfurt, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, Kuala Lumpur, Lisbon and Vienna. The Seibu Department Store in Hong Kong, SAR of China and various Mitsukoshi Stores across Japan also offer the Complainant’s products. The Complainant has also expanded its associated businesses under the Harrods name to include Harrods Estates, Harrods Bank and Harrods Casino Online.

The Complainant owns many trademark registrations around the world for the mark HARRODS in connection with a variety of goods and services (the “HARRODS Trademark”), including the following:

HARRODS – UK Trademark Registration No. 1305592;

HARRODS – UK Trademark Registration No. 2245927;

HARRODS – Community Trademark Registration No. 62414;

HARRODS – Community Trademark Registration No. 61697;

HARRODS – U.S. Trademark Registration No. 1354693;

HARRODS – U.S. Trademark Registration No. 1812374.

The Complainant registered the domain name “harrods.com” on February 14, 1999.

The Complainant’s HARRODS Trademark is alleged to have acquired substantial goodwill, to the point where it is recognized worldwide as an indicia of origin exclusively identified with the Complainant.

The Respondent registered the domain name <harrods-university.com> on April 3, 2006. At the date of the Complaint, the Respondent was operating a website under this name that provides links to other companies goods and services as a “click through site”.

 

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

(a) Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Complainant contends that the domain name <harrods-university.com> is virtually identical to the Complainant’s HARRODS Trademark, differing only by the addition of a hyphen and the descriptive word university. The addition of a hyphen and a descriptive word denoting a specific service or product does not serve to distinguish the domain name from the Complainant’s mark in any meaningful way.

(b) Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Complainant contends that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name <harrods-university.com>. The Complainant owns many trademark registrations for the mark HARRODS worldwide and the domain name “harrods.com”. The Complainant’s rights in its HARRODS Trademark predates the registration of the Respondent’s domain name <harrods-university.com> by 150 years. The Complainant contends that the Respondent cannot demonstrate any right or interest in the domain name. The Complainant has never authorized, licensed or permitted the Respondent to use its HARRODS Trademark.

(c) Registered and Use in Bad Faith

The Complainant contends that the Respondent’s domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith based on the following factors: (i) knowledge of the Complainant’s long and continuous use of the HARRODS Trademark at the time of registration of the Respondent’s domain name and that the Respondent had no right, title or interest, whatsoever, in the mark or domain name; and (ii) Respondent acquired the confusing domain name for the purpose of monetary gain by providing links to other companies’ products and services through a “click through” scheme.

B. Respondent

The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.

 

6. Discussion and Findings

According to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, in order to succeed, the Complainant must establish each of the following elements:

(i) The Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to the trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights;

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

(iii) The Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The first issue in this matter is whether the domain name <harrods-university.com> is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s mark. There are two elements that must be satisfied: (a) the Complainant has rights in the particular mark; and (b) the domain name in question is identical or confusingly similar to that mark.

The first element is readily established and independently verified by reference to the applicable Trademarks Register. In this case, presentation of copies of trademark certificates for the various trademark registrations for the mark HARRODS, including U.K. Registration Nos. 1305592 and 2245927; Community Trademark Registration Nos. 62414 and 61697; and U.S. Trademark Registration Nos. 1354693 and 1812374, satisfies the threshold requirement of having rights in the mark HARRODS (Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine v. Zahid Khan (for Imperial College Management School Alumni Association – ICMSAA), WIPO Case No. 2000-1079).

The domain name <harrods-university.com> differs from the HARRODS Trademark merely by the addition of a hyphen and the word “university”. The addition of the hyphen and a descriptive word denoting a specific service does not distinguish the domain name from the mark in any meaningful way. The distinctive element HARRODS has been used in its entirety, and has been positioned as the prominent first element of the domain name, thereby increasing the likelihood of confusion. (See Harrods Limited v. Vision Exact WIPO Case No. D2003-0723; United States Olympic Committee v. MIC WIPO Case No. D2000-0189; and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Richard MacLeod d/b/a , For Sale WIPO Case No. D2000-0662).

The Panel accepts the Complainant’s contention that the HARRODS Trademark is famous and that the use of the full trademark in connection with other descriptive words conveys the impression to internet users that the website or domain name is connected, sponsored, endorsed or affiliated with the Complainant. The Panel concludes that the Respondent’s domain name <harrods-university.com> suggests a false association with the Complainant, and infers that the Respondent chose the domain name because of the Complainant’s well-established reputation in its HARRODS Trademark. (See Harrods Limited v. Surrinder Gill, WIPO Case No. D2003-0243; Microsoft Corporation v. J. Holiday Co., WIPO Case No. D2000-1493; ISL Marketing AG, and The Federation Internationale de Football Association v. J.Y. Chung, Worldcup2002.com, W Co., and Worldcup 2002 ёWIPO Case No. D2000-0034; and The Price Company v. Price Club, also known as Tsung-Pei Chang, WIPO Case No. D2000-0664).

The Panel therefore finds that the Complainant has satisfied the first requirement of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

There is no evidence that the Respondent is using the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods and/or services in accordance with paragraph 4(c)(i) of the Policy. The Panel finds that the domain name <harrods-university.com> does not resolve to an educational institution or business entity providing educational services. Instead, the Panel finds that the domain name in question provides links to other types of goods and services in what appears to be a “click through” site.

The Panel also accepts that the Complainant never authorized, licensed or permitted the Respondent to use its HARRODS Trademark, and that it cannot be said that the Respondent is using the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services.

There is no evidence that the Respondent has any rights or legitimate interest in the domain name. (See Inter-IKEA Systems, B.V. v. Eveson Co. Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2000-0437 and Harrods Limited v. Steve Bohn, WIPO Case No. D2003-0736). The Panel is accordingly satisfied that Complainant has made a prima facie showing of Respondent’s lack of rights or legitimate interest in the disputed domain name. This has not been rebutted by Respondent.

The Panel concludes that the Complainant has satisfied the second requirement under paragraph 4(b) of the Policy.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

Prior panel decisions have consistently recognized that the HARRODS Trademark has achieved the status of a famous mark. Accordingly, it is extremely difficult for the Panel to believe that the Respondent was not aware or had no knowledge of the Complainant’s famous HARRODS Trademark. In Harrods Limited v. Chris Brick, WIPO Case No. D2003-0876, the Panel found that “The mark HARRODS is world-famous and instantly evokes the Harrods department store at Knightsbridge, London.” In Harrods Limited v. Vision Exact, WIPO Case No. D2003-0723, the Panel stated that, “It is important to remind that, as stated before, HARRODS may be considered as a well-known trademark. Therefore, it is quite unlikely that a “coincidence” has been given in the present case. On the contrary, it seems that the Respondent was clearly aware of the existence of the Complainant’s trademarks and did not register the disputed domain name for other purposes than to include the Complainant’s trademarks in said domain name.” In this case, the Panel reaches the same conclusion, that the Complainant’s HARRODS Trademark is famous and so well-known that is virtually impossible that the Respondent was not aware of the Complainant’s marks. There can be no reason for the Respondent to have registered a confusingly similar name, other than to trade on the substantial goodwill of the Complainant’s mark. (See Harrods Limited v. Walter Wieczorek, WIPO Case No. DTV2001-0024; Harrods Limited v. Walter Trautner, WIPO Case No. D2001-1164; Harrods Limited v. Surrinder Gill, WIPO Case No. D2003-0243; and Harrods Limited v. Steve Bohn, WIPO Case No. D2003-0736).

In trading on the Complainant’s goodwill, Respondent has disrupted the business of the Complainant and diverted Internet traffic intended for the Complainant’s website to the Respondent’s website. It is significant to note that the Respondent’s domain name does not resolve to an educational institution’s website, but rather provides links to other companies’ products and services for monetary gain, commonly called “click through” sites. The fact that the Respondent has not actually constructed a website which reflects in any way the descriptive element of the domain name – “university” – or which offers even a scintilla of justification for the use of the HARRODS Trademark, confirms that this is an abusive registration which was clearly made in bad faith. (See BP p.l.c. v. Kang-Sungkun Portraits Production WIPO Case No. D2001-1097).

Accordingly, the Panel is prepared to find that the Complainant has satisfied the third element, under paragraph 4(c) of the Policy.

 

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 <harrods-university.com> be transferred to the Complainant.


Christopher J. Pibus
Sole Panelist

Dated: August 31, 2006

 

Источник информации: https://www.internet-law.ru/intlaw/udrp/2006/d2006-0803.html

 

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