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. 104321
Time of Filing 2022-02-04 10:47:26
Disputed domain name MSK-REMONT-PHILIPS.COM, MSK-SERVICE-SAECO.COM, REMONT-PHILIPS-SPB.COM, REMONT-SAECO-MSK.COM, PHILIPS-CENTER.COM, SAECO-CENTER.COM, SAECO-REPAIR.COM, SUPPORTSAECO.COM, PHILIPS-COFFEE-SERVICE.COM, REMONTPHILIPS.COM
Case Administrator
Name Denisa Rihova
Complainant
Organization Koninklijke Philips N.V.
Authorized Representative
Organization Coöperatieve Vereniging SNB-REACT U.A.
Respondent
Name Miraziz Mirvaliev
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 names.
Identification of rights
The Complainant demonstrates it has trademark(s) or service mark(s) certified in numerous jurisdictions:
- The International trademark word registration No. 310459 for PHILIPS registered on March 16, 1966;
- The International trademark registration No. 991346 for PHILIPS (figurative mark) registered on June 13, 2008. This trademark was designated for “RU” (the Russian Federation) and "UZ" (Uzbekistan) as well;
- The European Union trademark No. 000205971 for PHILIPS (word mark) filed on April 1, 1996 and registered on October 22, 1999;
- The International trademark No. 576295A for the Saeco logo (figurative mark), registered since April 12, 1991. This trademark was designated for “RU” (the Russian Federation) as well;
-The European Union trademark No. 8278236 for the Saeco logo (figurative mark), registered since January 19, 2010;
- The European Union trademark No. 3962313 for the Saeco logo (figurative mark), registered since November 21, 2005; and
-The International trademark No. 802395C for the Saeco logo (figurative mark, registered since March 27, 2003. The trademark was designated for "UZ" (Uzbekistan) as well.
Factual Background
FACTS ASSERTED BY THE COMPLAINANT AND NOT CONTESTED BY THE RESPONDENT:

MULTIPLE DOMAIN NAMES:
As article 3(c) of the UDRP Rules state: "The complaint may relate to more than one domain name, provided that the domain names are registered by the same domain-name holder."

In this case, all of the domain names were registered by Miraziz Mirvaliev (x8.sultanov@gmail.com).

LANGUAGE OF THE PROCEEDINGS:

Pursuant to paragraph 11 of the Rules, unless otherwise agreed by the parties, or specified otherwise in the registration agreement, the language of the administrative proceeding shall be the language of the registration agreement. All of the domain names are registered at the registrar “Internet Domain Service BS Corp”.

As the Terms & Conditions of the Registrar at https://internetbs.net/ state: "The operative and effective version of this Agreement will be the latest version available at http://www.internetbs.net/ and the Registration Agreement available at that URL is entirely in the English language." It should be noted that English is the official language of the Bahamas, and the Registrar operates its website (where registration is performed), in that language. By registering the majority of the domain names at this Registrar, Respondent has also shown his ability to understand the English language.

Furthermore, there is evidence showing that the respondent can understand the language of the complaint: the domain names contain English words such as 'philips-coffee-service.com', repair, center, support, and service.
 
NO ADMINISTRATIVELY COMPLIANT RESPONSE HAS BEEN FILED.

PARTIES' CONTENTIONS:

COMPLAINANT:
The Complainant contends that The PHILIPS trademark is a well-known and famous brand, which is one of the most widely recognized identities in the world. The PHILIPS trademark is synonymous with a wide spectrum of products varying from consumer electronics to domestic appliances, from security systems to semiconductors. The SAECO trademark is a distinctive, coined word, which originates from the names of the founders of the Saeco company: Sergio, Arthur e Compagnia, and has become famous for high quality espresso machines for domestic use.
All of the domain names incorporate the entirety of the PHILIPS or SAECO trademark. The Respondent has merely added descriptive or dictionary terms such as ‘support’, ‘repair’, ‘service’, ‘center’, or ‘remont’, which is the Russian word for repairs. In some cases, geographic acronyms are used: ‘msk’, which is short for Moscow, as seen on the connected websites, and ‘spb’ for Saint Petersburg.
According to the Complainant, the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain names, because Complainant has not authorized Respondent to use the PHILLIPS and SAECO trademarks. Further Respondent is not using the disputed domain names for any legitimate purpose, is not commonly known by the disputed domain names, and the Respondent expresses no intention to carry out a fair or non-commercial use of the disputed domain names as they do not resolve to active websites.


RESPONDENT:
The Respondent did not respond to the Complainant’s contentions and did not submit any arguments or evidence in its defense. In such event, UDRP Rule 14 provides (a) that the “Panel shall proceed to a decision on the complaint” and (b) that “the Panel shall draw such inferences therefrom as it considers appropriate.” In view of Respondent’s failure to submit a response, the Panel shall decide this administrative proceeding on the basis of Complainant’s undisputed representations pursuant to paragraphs 5(f), 14(a) and 15(a) of the Rules and draw such inferences it considers appropriate pursuant to paragraph 14(b) of the Rules. The Panel is entitled to accept all reasonable allegations set forth in a complaint; however, the Panel may deny relief where a complaint contains mere conclusory or unsubstantiated arguments. See WIPO Jurisprudential Overview 3.0 at Para. 4.3.
Rights
The Complainant has, to the satisfaction of the Panel, shown the disputed domain names are 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 names (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 names have been registered and are 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
Pursuant to the Policy, paragraph 4(a), a complainant must prove each of the following to justify the transfer of a domain name:
(i) the domain name is 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 name; and
(iii) the respondent has registered and is using the domain name in bad faith.

In this case, the Czech Arbitration Court has employed the required measures to achieve actual notice of the Complaint to the Respondent, and the Respondent was given a fair opportunity to present its case and defend its registrations of <msk-remont-philips.com>, <msk-service-saeco.com>, <remont-philips-spb.com>, <remont-saeco-msk.com>, <philips-center.com>, <saeco-center.com>, <saeco-repair.com>, <supportsaeco.com,> <philips-coffee-service.com>, and <remontphilips.com> the subject domain names.

By the Rules, paragraph 5(c)(i), a respondent is expected to: "Respond specifically to the statements and allegations contained in the complaint and include any and all bases for the Respondent (domain name holder) to retain registration and use of the disputed domain name ..." Notwithstanding Respondent's default Complainant is not relieved from the burden of establishing its claim. WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, 3.0, Sec. 4.3: "Noting the burden of proof on the complainant, a respondent's default (i.e., failure to submit a formal response) would not by itself mean that the complainant is deemed to have prevailed; a respondent's default is not necessarily an admission that the complainant's claims are true." However, if a complainant's adduced evidence supports any element of the Policy, a respondent has an opportunity to contest the contention that its registration of the challenged domain name was unlawful.

A. The disputed domain name is confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights.

This first limb of the Policy requires Complainant to prove that it has a trademark right and that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to that mark. The Panel finds that Complainant has demonstrated that it has registered trademark rights to the terms PHILLIPS and SAECO. Having established that element of the Policy the next question is whether the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to Complainant's marks. A side-by-side comparison of the domain names and the PHILLIPS and SAECO trademarks demonstrates that <msk-remont-philips.com>, <msk-service-saeco.com>, <remont-philips-spb.com>, <remont-saeco-msk.com>, <philips-center.com>, <saeco-center.com>, <saeco-repair.com>, <supportsaeco.com,> <philips-coffee-service.com>, and <remontphilips.com> are confusingly similar to the marks in that they incorporate entirely Complainant's trademarks. The additions of dashes plus words do not create distinct names but suggest a relationship with Complainant which Complainant denies and does not exist.
At the threshold it is necessary only to consider "whether a domain name is similar enough in light of the purpose of the Policy to justify moving on to the other elements of a claim for cancellation or transfer of a domain name." The Panel in Nicole Kidman v. John Zuccarini, d/b/a Cupcake Party, D2000-1415 (WIPO January 23, 2001) notes that "numerous prior panels have held [the purposes of the Policy are satisfied] when a domain name wholly incorporates a complainant's registered mark." Similarly, Magnum Piering, Inc. v The Mudjackers and Garwood S. Wilson, Sr., D2000-1525 (WIPO January 21, 2001). Panelists generally disregard the top-level suffixes as functional necessities, thus the top-level extension is irrelevant in determining the issue under the first requirement of the Policy. Having demonstrated that <msk-remont-philips.com>, <msk-service-saeco.com>, <remont-philips-spb.com>, <remont-saeco-msk.com>, <philips-center.com>, <saeco-center.com>, <saeco-repair.com>, <supportsaeco.com,> <philips-coffee-service.com>, and <remontphilips.com> are confusingly similar to Complainant's PHILLIPS and SAECO trademarks the Panel finds Complainant has satisfied Para. 4(a)(i) of the Policy.

B. Rights and legitimate interests, Para. 4(a)(ii)

Under paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy, a complainant has the burden of establishing that a respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain names, but this burden is light. It is sufficient in the first instance for Complainant to allege a prima facie case, and if the evidence presented is persuasive or yields a positive inference that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests, the burden shifts to Respondent to rebut the allegations. This concept of shifting burdens is clearly explained in Croatia Airlines d.d. v. Modern Empire Internet Ltd., D2003-0455 (WIPO August 21, 2003) in which the Panel held that "[s]ince it is difficult to prove a negative ... especially where the Respondent, rather than complainant, would be best placed to have specific knowledge of such rights or interests—and since Paragraph 4(c) describes how a Respondent can demonstrate rights and legitimate interests, a Complainant's burden of proof on this element is light." Once the complainant makes such a prima facie showing, "the burden of production shifts to the Respondent, though the burden of proof always remains on the complainant. If the respondent fails to come forward with evidence showing rights or legitimate interests, the complainant will have sustained its burden under the second element of the UDRP," Malayan Banking Berhad v. Beauty, Success & Truth International, D2008-1393 (December 8, 2008). Finally, "in the absence of direct evidence, complainant and the panel must resort to reasonable inferences from whatever evidence is in the record," Euromarket Designs, Inc. v. Domain For Sale VMI, D2000-1195 (WIPO October 26, 2000).

In this case, Complainant contends that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, because Complainant has not granted any rights to Respondent to use the PHILLIPS and SAECO trademarks. It contends that the evidence in the record conclusively demonstrates that Respondent Miraziz Mirvalievis is not using the disputed domain names in any bona fide offering of goods or services, is not commonly known under the disputed domain names, or has any noncommercial or fair use intentions in registering the disputed domain names. See Skechers U.S.A., Inc. and Skechers U.S.A., Inc. II v. Chad Moston / Elite Media Group, FA1804001781783 (Forum May 11, 2018) ("Here, the WHOIS information of record identifies Respondent as "Chad Moston / Elite Media Group." The Panel therefore finds under Policy 114(c)(ii) that Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name under Policy 114(c)(ii)"); Amazon Technologies, Inc. v. Suzen Khan / Nancy Jain / Andrew Stanzy, FA 1741129 (FORUM August 16, 2017) (finding that respondent had no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names when the identifying information provided by WHOIS was unrelated to the domain names or respondent's use of the same).
The Panel finds that Complainant has established a prima facie case that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names, accordingly the burden of production shifts to Respondent. Once the burden shifts, Respondent has the opportunity of demonstrating its right or legitimate interest by showing the existence of any of the following nonexclusive circumstances:

(i) before any notice to you [respondent] 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 [respondent] (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 [respondent] 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.

If a respondent proves any of these circumstances or indeed anything else that shows it has a right or legitimate interest in the domain name, the complainant will have failed to discharge its onus and the respondent must succeed. However, where respondent fails to respond, the panel must assess the record before it on an objective basis. Here, the choice of the domain names corresponds to the trademarks. Therefore, Respondent's default and its failure to rebut Complainant's evidence is particularly telling. Since there is no proof otherwise, the record supports the conclusion that Respondent lacks any right or legitimate interest as measured by the three circumstances of paragraph 4(c). See Deutsche Telekom AG v. Britt Cordon, D2004-0487 (WIPO September 13, 2004) (holding that "once a complainant establishes a prima facie case that none of the three circumstances establishing legitimate interests or rights applies, the burden of production on this factor shifts to the Respondent. If the respondent cannot do so, a complainant is deemed to have satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the UDRP). Similarly in Malayan Banking Berhad, supra. (holding that "[i]f the respondent fails to come forward with evidence showing rights or legitimate interests, the complainant will have sustained its burden under the second element of the UDRP."). Respondent has not presented any rebuttal and its silence supports the conclusion that it has neither rights nor legitimate interests in the disputed domain names.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Thus, Complainant has satisfied Paragraph §4(a)(ii) of the Policy.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith, §4(a)(iii)
Having determined that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests, the Complainant must then prove on the balance of probabilities both that the disputed domain name was registered in bad faith and that it is being used in bad faith. The consensus expressed in WIPO Overview 3.0, section 3.1.4. is that "the mere registration of a domain name that is identical or confusingly similar. .. to a famous or widely-known trademark by an unaffiliated entity can by itself create a presumption of bad faith." Particularly probative in this case is that the only difference with the disputed domain names are additions of dashes and words that suggest a relationship with Complainant or even pretending it is the Complainant itself and passing itself off as an authorized representative. Absent a cogent explanation from Respondent justifying its choice of these domain names, this supports the conclusion that it registered <msk-remont-philips.com>, <msk-service-saeco.com>, <remont-philips-spb.com>, <remont-saeco-msk.com>, <philips-center.com>, <saeco-center.com>, <saeco-repair.com>, <supportsaeco.com,> <philips-coffee-service.com>, and <remontphilips.com> with the purpose of taking advantage of the goodwill and reputation accruing to its trademark and targeting Complainant with a view to committing a fraud on consumers.

The Panel finds that the present case is one in which the presumption of bad faith is satisfied. The presumption is further strengthened by the strong inference of Respondent's actual knowledge of Complainant and its PHILLIPS and SAECO trademarks and of its intention to take advantage of its attractive value on the Internet solely for the reason of its goodwill flowing from its widely known or famous brands.

Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy sets out four nonexclusive circumstances, any one of which is evidence of the registration and use of a domain name in bad faith, although other circumstances may also be relied on, as the four circumstances are not exclusive. The four specified circumstances are:
(i) circumstances indicating that the respondent has registered or 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 respondent's documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or
(ii) the respondent 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 respondent has engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or
(iii) the respondent has registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or
(iv) 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 location, 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 site or location.

Of the four circumstances, the fourth most readily applies as the domain name is clearly intended to attract Internet users seeking to reach Complainant's website or purchase its products and services. The domain names in this case are passively held, but for no conceivably lawful use. Telstra, supra.; also National Football League v. Thomas Trainer, D2006-1440 (WIPO December 29, 2006) <nflnetwork.com>) (holding that "when a registrant, such as respondent here, obtains a domain name that is [confusingly similar] to a famous mark, with no apparent rights or legitimate interests in the name, and then fails to respond to infringement claims and a UDRP Complaint, an inference of bad faith is warranted."
Where the facts demonstrate an intent to capitalize on an owner's mark in the manner in which Complainant describes and which is supported by proof in the record, the registration is prima facie abusive. Royal Bank of Canada - Banque Royale Du Canada v. Registration Private, Domains By Proxy, LLC / Randy Cass, D2019-2803 (WIPO February 23, 2020) (<investease.com>. "It is clear that where the facts of the case establish that the respondent's intent in registering or acquiring a domain name was to unfairly capitalize on the complainant's nascent .. . trademark, panels have been prepared to find the respondent acted in bad faith.").. WIPO Overview 3.0, Sec. 3.3: "While panelists will look at the totality of the circumstances in each case, factors that have been considered relevant in applying the passive holding doctrine include: (i) the degree of distinctiveness or reputation of the complainant’s mark, . (ii) the failure of the respondent to . . . to provide any evidence of actual or contemplated good-faith use, . . . and (iv) the implausibility of any good faith use to which the domain name may be put.”
The Panel finds that the Complainant has shown that the Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain names in bad faith both in general and in particular because the Respondent's conduct puts the case squarely within paragraph 4(b)(iv) as well as within the larger notion of abusive conduct. The Panel finds that Complainant has adduced more than sufficient evidence to prove Respondent's bad faith based on the foregoing considerations.
Accordingly, the Respondent has registered and used the disputed domain names in bad faith and that its conduct firmly supports the conclusion that the registration of the disputed domain names were abusive.
Having thus demonstrated that Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith, Complainant has also satisfied paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.
Decision
For all the reasons stated above, the Complaint is Accepted
and the disputed domain name(s) is (are) to be
MSK-REMONT-PHILIPS.COM Transferred to Koninklijke Philips N.V.
MSK-SERVICE-SAECO.COM Transferred to Koninklijke Philips N.V.
REMONT-PHILIPS-SPB.COM Transferred to Koninklijke Philips N.V.
REMONT-SAECO-MSK.COM Transferred to Koninklijke Philips N.V.
PHILIPS-CENTER.COM Transferred to Koninklijke Philips N.V.
SAECO-CENTER.COM Transferred to Koninklijke Philips N.V.
SAECO-REPAIR.COM Transferred to Koninklijke Philips N.V.
SUPPORTSAECO.COM Transferred to Koninklijke Philips N.V.
PHILIPS-COFFEE-SERVICE.COM Transferred to Koninklijke Philips N.V.
REMONTPHILIPS.COM Transferred to Koninklijke Philips N.V.
Panellists
Name Gerald M. Levine, Ph.D, Esq.
Date of Panel Decision 2022-03-09
Publication of the Decision
Publish the Decision