On-line ADR Center of the Czech Arbitration Court (CAC)

Panel Decision

§ 15 of the UDRP Rules (Rules), § 9 of the CAC’s Supplemental Rules (Supplemental Rules)

Case No. 104064
Time of Filing 2021-10-08 09:41:46
Disputed domain name ZA-LACTALIS.COM
Case Administrator
Name Iveta Špiclová
Complainant
Organization Groupe Lactalis
Authorized Representative
Organization NAMESHIELD S.A.S.
Respondent
Name kathy morris, Year
Other Legal Proceedings
The Panel is not aware of any other legal proceedings which are pending or decided and which relate to the disputed domain name.
Identification of rights
The Complainant has provided evidence of ownership of the following trademarks:

- International trademark registration LACTALIS® n° 900154 registered on 27 July 2006;

- European trademark registration LACTALIS® n° 1529833 registered on 28 February 2000;

- European trademark registration LACTALIS® n° 11203262 registered on 29 September 2012.
Factual Background
FACTS ASSERTED BY THE COMPLAINANT AND NOT CONTESTED BY THE RESPONDENT:

THE DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME IS IDENTICAL OR CONFUSINGLY SIMILAR TO A TRADEMARK OR SERVICE MARK IN WHICH THE COMPLAINANT HAS RIGHTS

The Complainant is a multinational company incorporated in France and engaged in the food sector, and a world leader in the production of dairy products in the world.

The Complainant owns several trademarks in the term LACTALIS and of the domain name <lactalis.com>.

On April 6, 2021 the Respondent registered the disputed domain name <za-lactalis.com>.

The Complainant states that the disputed domain name <za-lactalis.com> is confusingly similar to its trademarks. The addition of the term "za" is not sufficient to escape a finding of confusing similarity.


THE RESPONDENT HAS NO RIGHTS OR LEGITIMATE INTERESTS IN RESPECT OF THE DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME

The Complainant asserts that the Respondent is not identified in the WHOIS database and is therefore not known by the disputed domain name.

The Complainant contends that the Respondent is not affiliated with nor authorized by the Complainant in any way.

Lastly, the Complainant did not find any fair or non-commercial uses of the domain name at stake.


THE DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME WAS REGISTERED AND IS USED IN BAD FAITH

The Complainant’s trademark “LACTALIS" is distinctive and well known all around the world. The fact that the Respondent registered a domain name reproducing the Complainant's trademark is evidence that the Respondent had knowledge of the Complainant’s trademark at the time of registration of the disputed domain name.

In addition, the disputed domain name is not used for any bona fide offerings. More particularly, the disputed domain name resolves to a page indicating that the corresponding website was suspended.
 
NO ADMINISTRATIVELY COMPLIANT RESPONSE HAS BEEN FILED.
Rights
The Complainant has, to the satisfaction of the Panel, shown the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights (within the meaning of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy).
No rights or legitimate interests
The Complainant has, to the satisfaction of the Panel, shown the Respondent to have no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name (within the meaning of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy).
Bad faith
The Complainant has, to the satisfaction of the Panel, shown the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith (within the meaning of paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy).
Procedural Factors
The Panel is satisfied that all procedural requirements under UDRP were met and there is no other reason why it would be inappropriate to provide a decision.
Principal Reasons for the Decision
Notwithstanding the fact that no Response has been filed, the Panel shall consider the issues present in the case based on the statements and documents submitted by the Complainant.

Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy directs that the Complainant must prove each of the following elements:

(i) that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and

(ii) that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and

(iii) that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.


A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Complainant must establish that it has a trademark or service mark and that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to that trademark or service mark for the Complainant to succeed.

The Complainant, Lactalis group, is a world leader in the production and distribution of fairy founded in 1933. The Complainant has provided evidence of ownership of the following registrations for the marks LACTALIS:

- International trademark registration LACTALIS® n° 900154 registered on 27 July 2006;

- European trademark registration LACTALIS® n° 1529833 registered on 28 February 2000;

- European trademark registration LACTALIS® n° 11203262 registered on 29 September 2012.


As regards the question of identity or confusing similarity for the purpose of the Policy, it requires a comparison of the disputed domain name with the trademarks in which the Complainant holds rights. According to section 1.7 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), “this test typically involves a side-by-side comparison of the domain name and the textual components of the relevant trademark to assess whether the mark is recognizable within the disputed domain name”.

Also, according to section 1.7 of the WIPO Overview 3.0, “in cases where a domain name incorporates the entirety of a trademark, or where at least a dominant feature of the relevant mark is recognizable in the domain name, the domain name will normally be considered confusingly similar to that mark for purposes of UDRP standing”.

The disputed domain name wholly incorporates the Complainant’s trademarks "LACTALIS" in addition to a hyphen and the letters "za". This addition does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity with the Complainant’s trademarks. The fact that a domain name wholly incorporates a complainant’s trademark is sufficient to establish identity or confusing similarity for the purpose of the Policy, despite the addition of other words to such marks.

It is well accepted by UDRP panels that a generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”), such as “.com”, is typically ignored when assessing whether a domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark.

This Panel concludes that the disputed domain name is identical to the Complainant’s trademark and therefore finds that the requirement of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy is satisfied.


B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

Under paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, any of the following circumstances, if found by the Panel, may demonstrate the respondent’s rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name:

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

(ii) the respondent has been commonly known by the disputed domain name, even if it has acquired no trademark or service mark rights; or

(iii) the respondent is making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue.


The consensus view of UDRP panels on the burden of proof under paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy is summarized in section 2.1 of the WIPO Overview 3.0, which states: “[…] where a complainant makes out a prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests, the burden of production on this element shifts to the respondent to come forward with relevant evidence demonstrating rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. If the respondent fails to come forward with such relevant evidence, the complainant is deemed to have satisfied the second element.”

The evidence on record does not show that the Respondent was commonly known, as an individual or an organization, by the disputed domain name.

The Panel also accepts, in the absence of a rebuttal from the Respondent, that the Respondent uses the Complainant's trademarks in the disputed domain name without authorization from the Complainant.

Equally, the Panel finds that the Respondent has not made a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name.

Therefore, the Panel concludes that the Respondent has no right or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name and therefore finds that the requirement of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy is satisfied.


C. Registration and Use in Bad faith

For the purpose of Paragraph 4(a) (iii) of the Policy, the following circumstances, in particular but without limitation, if found by the Panel to be present, shall be evidence of the registration and use of the domain names in bad faith:

(i) circumstances indicating that the holder has registered or has 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 the holders documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or

(ii) the holder has 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 the holder has engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or

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

(iv) by using the domain name, the holder has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to the holder's website or other online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant's mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of your website or location or of a product or service on the holder's website or location.


The Panel finds the third and fourth elements of Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy applicable in the present case.

The Panel sides with the Complainant and agrees that the Complainant's LACTALIS trademarks are well known worldwide in relation to dairy products.

The evidence on the record shows that the Respondent was certainly aware of the existence of the Complainant and of the rights of the Complainant, and that the Respondent, by registering and using the disputed domain name has intentionally attracted internet users by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant's trademark.

In addition, the website associated with the domain name indicates that the corresponding website is suspended, falling under the doctrine of passive holding.

It is not necessary for the Respondent’s conduct to fall precisely within any of the examples of bad faith registration and use which are set out at paragraph 4(b) of the Policy. These are only examples, and do not limit the circumstances which might constitute bad faith registration and use. In this case, the confusing similarity between the disputed domain name and the Complainant’s trademark, and the passive holding of the domain name by the Respondent, are in combination sufficient to conclude that the disputed domain name was registered, and has been used, in bad faith.

The Panel concludes that the Respondent has registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith, and therefore finds that the requirement of paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy is satisfied.
Decision
For all the reasons stated above, the Complaint is Accepted
and the disputed domain name(s) is (are) to be
ZA-LACTALIS.COM Transferred to Complainant
Panellists
Name Arthur Fouré
Date of Panel Decision 2021-11-11
Publication of the Decision
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