Europcar International v. International Travel House Ltd.
Claim Number: FA0206000114674
Complainant is Europcar International, FRANCE (“Complainant”) represented by Corinne Allard. Respondent is International Travel House Ltd., New Delhi, INDIA (“Respondent”) represented by Satish Singh.
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <europcarindia.com>, registered with BulkRegister.com, Inc.
The undersigned certifies that he has acted independently and impartially and to the best of his knowledge has no known conflict in serving as Panelist in this proceeding.
James A. Crary as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum (the “Forum”) electronically on June 24, 2002; the Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on June 26, 2002.
On June 24, 2002, BulkRegister.com, Inc. confirmed by e-mail to the Forum that the domain name <europcarindia.com> is registered with BulkRegister.com, Inc. and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. BulkRegister.com, Inc. has verified that Respondent is bound by the BulkRegister.com, Inc. registration agreement and has thereby agreed to resolve domain-name disputes brought by third parties in accordance with ICANN’s Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Policy”).
On July 2, 2002, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the “Commencement Notification”), setting a deadline of July 22, 2002 by which Respondent could file a Response to the Complaint, was transmitted to Respondent via e-mail, post and fax, to all entities and persons listed on Respondent’s registration as technical, administrative and billing contacts, and to firstname.lastname@example.org by e-mail.
Having received no Response from Respondent, using the same contact details and methods as were used for the Commencement Notification, the Forum transmitted to the parties a Notification of Respondent Default.
On August 5, 2002, pursuant to Complainant’s request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the Forum appointed James A. Crary as Panelist.
Having reviewed the communications records, the Administrative Panel (the “Panel”) finds that the Forum has discharged its responsibility under Paragraph 2(a) of the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Rules”) “to employ reasonably available means calculated to achieve actual notice to Respondent.” Therefore, the Panel may issue its decision based on the documents submitted and in accordance with the ICANN Policy, ICANN Rules, the Forum’s Supplemental Rules and any rules and principles of law that the Panel deems applicable, without the benefit of any Response from Respondent.
Complainant requests that the domain name be transferred from Respondent to Complainant.
The <europcarindia.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant's EUROPCAR mark.
Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
Respondent registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith.
Respondent failed to submit a Response.
Complainant holds numerous registrations for the EUROPCAR mark including India (Reg. No. 519.574), Respondent’s domicile. Complainant also owns trademark registrations in France (Reg. No. 1,547,398), United States (Reg. No. 2,002,271), and an International Registration Number R426,021 that covers Algeria, Germany , Austria, Belarus, Benelux, Croatia, Egypt, Spain, Hungary, Italy, Kazakstan, Liechtenstein, Morocco, Monaco, Mongolia, Portugal, Czech Republic, Romania, Saint-Marin, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, and Ukraine. Complainant is one of the foremost Rental car companies in Europe. Complainant’s franchises are also in over 100 countries throughout the world. Complainant has registered numerous domain names in various country codes such as <europcar.com>, <europcar.de>, <europcar.au.com>, <europcar.fj>, <europcar.gp>, and <europcar.co.uk>.
Respondent registered the <europcarindia.com> domain name on September 28, 2000. Respondent has not used the domain name in any way or developed a website. Respondent is a franchisee of Complainant. Respondent’s franchise agreement states that Complainant’s trademark rights are exclusive, and therefore Respondent has no permission or license to use Complainant’s mark on the Internet.
Paragraph 15(a) of the Rules instructs this Panel to “decide a complaint on the basis of the statements and documents submitted in accordance with the Policy, these Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable.”
In view of Respondent's failure to submit a Response, the Panel shall decide this administrative proceeding on the basis of the Complainant's undisputed representations pursuant to paragraphs 5(e), 14(a) and 15(a) of the Rules and draw such inferences it considers appropriate pursuant to paragraph 14(b) of the Rules.
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy requires that the Complainant must prove each of the following three elements to obtain an order that a domain name should be cancelled or transferred:
(1) the domain name registered by the Respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and
(2) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
(3) the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
Identical and/or Confusingly Similar
Complainant has established that it has rights in the EUROPCAR mark through use and international trademark registration. Respondent’s <europcarindia.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s EUROPCAR mark because it incorporates Complainant’s entire mark and merely adds the geographic term “India.” The addition of a geographic term to a well-known mark does not create a distinct mark capable of overcoming a claim of confusing similarity. See CMGI, Inc. v. Reyes, D2000-0572 (WIPO Aug. 8, 2000) (finding that the domain name <cmgiasia.com> is confusingly similar to Complainant’s CMGI mark); see also Net2phone Inc, v. Netcall SAGL, D2000-0666 (WIPO Sept. 26, 2000) (finding that the Respondent’s registration of the domain name <net2phone-europe.com> is confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.
Rights or Legitimate Interests
Respondent has failed to come forward with a Response. Therefore it is presumed that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. See Pavillion Agency, Inc. v. Greenhouse Agency Ltd., D2000-1221 (WIPO Dec. 4, 2000) (finding that Respondents’ failure to respond can be construed as an admission that they have no legitimate interest in the domain names).
Furthermore, when Respondent fails to submit a Response the Panel is permitted to make all inferences in favor of Complainant. See Talk City, Inc. v. Robertson, D2000-0009, (WIPO Feb. 29, 2000) (“In the absence of a response, it is appropriate to accept as true all allegations of the Complaint”).
Respondent registered the disputed domain name in September of 2000 and has not developed a website or used <europcarindia.com> for any purpose. The passive holding of a domain name for such a long duration of time is not considered to create rights or legitimate interests pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii). See Bloomberg L.P. v. Sandhu, FA 96261 (Nat. Arb. Forum Feb. 12, 2001) (finding that no rights or legitimate interest can be found when Respondent fails to use disputed domain names in any way); see also Nike, Inc. v. Crystal Int’l, D2001-0102 (WIPO Mar. 19, 2001) (finding no rights or legitimate interests where Respondent made no use of the infringing domain names); see also Ziegenfelder Co. v. VMH Enter., Inc., D2000-0039 (WIPO Mar. 14, 2000) (finding that failure to provide a product or service or develop the site demonstrates that Respondents have not established any rights or legitimate interests in the domain name).
Furthermore, Respondent is known to this Panel as “International Travel House Inc.” and has not come forward to present any evidence that it is commonly known as EUROPCAR INDIA or <europcarindia.com>. Therefore, Respondent has not established that it has rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii). See Gallup Inc. v. Amish Country Store, FA 96209 (Nat. Arb. Forum Jan. 23, 2001) (finding that Respondent does not have rights in a domain name when Respondent is not known by the mark); see also Compagnie de Saint Gobain v. Com-Union Corp., D2000-0020 (WIPO Mar. 14, 2000) (finding no rights or legitimate interest where Respondent was not commonly known by the mark and never applied for a license or permission from Complainant to use the trademarked name).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied.
Registration and Use in Bad Faith
The Policy recognizes that there may be circumstances that give rise to bad faith which are not expressly listed within the four factors of the Policy. See CBS Broadcasting, Inc. v. LA-Twilight-Zone, D2000-0397 (WIPO June 19, 2000) (“[T]he Policy expressly recognizes that other circumstances can be evidence that a domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith”); see also Cellular One Group v. Brien, D2000-0028 (WIPO Mar. 10, 2000) (finding that the criteria specified in 4(b) of the Policy is not an exhaustive list of bad faith evidence).
Based on the fact that Respondent is a franchisee of Complainant, Respondent had knowledge of Complainant’s exclusive rights in the EUROPCAR mark when it registered <europcarindia.com>. Registration of a domain name that incorporates Complainant’s well-known mark despite knowledge of Complainant’s rights is evidence of bad faith registration pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii). See Entrepreneur Media, Inc. v. Smith, 279 F.3d 1135, 1148 (9th Cir. Feb. 11, 2002) (finding that "[w]here an alleged infringer chooses a mark he knows to be similar to another, one can infer an intent to confuse"); see also Samsonite Corp. v. Colony Holding, FA 94313 (Nat. Arb. Forum Apr. 17, 2000) (finding that evidence of bad faith includes actual or constructive knowledge of a commonly known mark at the time of registration).
Furthermore, Respondent’s holding of the domain name for the past two years without developing a website is evidence of bad faith use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii). See DCI S.A. v. Link Commercial Corp., D2000-1232 (WIPO Dec. 7, 2000) (concluding that the Respondent’s passive holding of the domain name satisfies the requirement of ¶ 4(a)(iii) of the Policy); see also Clerical Med. Inv. Group Ltd. v. Clericalmedical.com, D2000-1228 (WIPO Nov. 28, 2000) (finding that merely holding an infringing domain name without active use can constitute use in bad faith); see also Mondich & Am. Vintage Wine Biscuits, Inc. v. Brown, D2000-0004 (WIPO Feb. 16, 2000) (holding that the Respondent’s failure to develop its website in a two year period raises the inference of registration in bad faith).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii) has been satisfied.
Having established all three elements required under the ICANN Policy, the Panel concludes that the requested relief shall be hereby granted.
Accordingly, it is Ordered that the domain name <europcarindia.com> be transferred from Respondent to Complainant.
James A. Crary, Panelist
Dated: August 12, 2002
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