Louis Vuitton Malletier
Claim Number: FA0806001213021
Complainant is Louis Vuitton Malletier S.A., L.L.C. (“Complainant”), represented by J.
Andrew Coombs, of J. Andrew Coombs, A Professional
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAMES
The domain name at issue are <ilouisvuitton.biz>, <lvbagz.com>, <louisvuittonbagz.com> and <louisvuittonestore.com>, registered with Enom, 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.
Judge Ralph Yachnin as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to
the National Arbitration Forum electronically on
On July 9, 2008, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the "Commencement Notification"), setting a deadline of July 29, 2008 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, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com by e-mail.
Having received no response from Respondent, the National Arbitration Forum transmitted to the parties a Notification of Respondent Default.
Having reviewed the communications records, the Administrative Panel (the "Panel") finds that the National Arbitration 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 National Arbitration 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 names be transferred from Respondent to Complainant.
A. Complainant makes the following assertions:
<ilouisvuitton.biz>, <lvbagz.com>, <louisvuittonbagz.com>
and <louisvuittonestore.com> domain names are confusingly
similar to Complainant’s LOUIS VUITTON and
2. Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the <ilouisvuitton.biz>, <lvbagz.com>, <louisvuittonbagz.com> and <louisvuittonestore.com> domain names.
3. Respondent registered and used the <ilouisvuitton.biz>, <lvbagz.com>, <louisvuittonbagz.com> and <louisvuittonestore.com> domain names in bad faith.
B. Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant has registered both the LOUIS VUITTON and
domain name was registered on
Preliminary Issue: Multiple Respondents
In the instant proceedings, Complainant has alleged that the entities which control the domain names at issue are effectively controlled by the same person and/or entity, which is operating under several aliases. Paragraph 3(c) of the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Rules”) provides that a “complaint may relate to more than one domain name, provided that the domain names are registered by the same domain name holder.” Complainant demonstrates that the same e-mail address “firstname.lastname@example.org” is listed for each of the registrations of the disputed domain names. The domain name servers for each of the disputed domain names also happen to be the same: “<dns2.name-services.com.>” and “<dns1.name-services.com>.” Additionally, Complainant argues that a similar pattern of fictitious triple names and false contact information is used in the registrations for each of the disputed domain names.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that Complainant has presented sufficient evidence that the disputed domain names are controlled by the same entity and thus chooses to proceed with the instant proceedings. See Las Vegas Sands Corp. v. NONE, FA 1182353 (Nat. Arb. Forum June 13, 2008) (finding the listed aliases to be “the same person or entity, or entities controlled by the same person or entity” because the WHOIS information for each disputed domain name contained the same email address and domain name servers); see also Am. Online, Inc. v. Johuathan Invs., Inc. & AOLLNEWS.COM, D2001-0918 (WIPO Sept. 14, 2001) (determining that when service is proper and the respondent(s) fail to respond to the complaint, the panel may accept the complainant’s assertion that the various aliases are the same person or entity as true).
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 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. The Panel is entitled to accept all reasonable allegations and inferences set forth in the Complaint as true unless the evidence is clearly contradictory. See Vertical Solutions Mgmt., Inc. v. webnet-marketing, inc., FA 95095 (Nat. Arb. Forum July 31, 2000) (holding that the respondent’s failure to respond allows all reasonable inferences of fact in the allegations of the complaint to be deemed true); see also 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.”).
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy requires that 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 Respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights; and
(2) 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.
The Panel finds that Complainant has sufficiently
established rights in the LOUIS VUITTON and
Each of the disputed domain names contains either the LOUIS
The omission of the spaces between words and inclusion of a
gTLD is irrelevant to a Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) analysis. See Bond & Co. Jewelers, Inc. v.
In addition, the incorporation of generic words, even if
slightly misspelled so that “bagz,” represents “bags,” and “estore” represents
“store” will not distinguish a disputed domain name. This is especially true when these words
describe a service or product offered under Complainant’s mark. See Am. Express Co. v. MustNeed.com, FA 257901 (Nat. Arb. Forum
Moreover, a single letter added to a disputed domain name will not negate a finding of confusing similarity. See Reuters Ltd. v. Global Net 2000, Inc., D2000-0441 (WIPO July 13, 2000) (finding that a domain name which differs by only one letter from a trademark has a greater tendency to be confusingly similar to the trademark where the trademark is highly distinctive); see also Victoria’s Secret v. Zuccarini, FA 95762 (Nat. Arb. Forum Nov. 18, 2000) (finding that, by misspelling words and adding letters to words, a respondent does not create a distinct mark but nevertheless renders the domain name confusingly similar to the complainant’s marks).
As a consequence of all of the aforementioned, the Panel finds that Respondent’s disputed domain names are confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(i).
The Panel concludes that Complainant has sufficiently established Policy ¶ 4(a)(i).
In considering the elements under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii), a complainant must first establish a prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain names. The Panel finds that Complainant has met this threshold and that the burden is accordingly shifted to Respondent to demonstrate that it does have rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names. See Hanna-Barbera Prods., Inc. v. Entm’t Commentaries, FA 741828 (Nat. Arb. Forum Aug. 18, 2006) (holding that the complainant must first make a prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) before the burden shifts to the respondent to show that it does have rights or legitimate interests in a domain name); see also AOL LLC v. Gerberg, FA 780200 (Nat. Arb. Forum Sept. 25, 2006) (“Complainant must make a prima facie showing that Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interest in the subject domain names, which burden is light. If Complainant satisfies its burden, then the burden shifts to Respondent to show that it does have rights or legitimate interest in the subject domain names.”).
However, Respondent has failed to reply to the
Complaint. Therefore the Pane may
presume that Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in the disputed
domain names, but will nonetheless examine the record in consideration of the
elements listed under Policy ¶ 4(c). See Do
the Hustle, LLC v. Tropic Web, D2000-0624 (WIPO
Complainant asserts that it has never granted permission or
license to Respondent, under any of its aliases, to use its marks in any
way. Furthermore, there is nothing in
the WHOIS information for any of the disputed domain names that indicates that
Respondent is or ever was commonly known by the disputed domain names. As a result, the Panel finds that Respondent
is not commonly known by any of the disputed domain names pursuant to Policy ¶
4(c)(ii). See Tercent Inc. v. Lee Yi,
FA 139720 (Nat. Arb. Forum
Additionally, the disputed domain names are being used to
resolve to websites that offer Complainant’s goods as well those of
Complainant’s competitors. Complainant
argues that most, if not all, of the products on these websites are counterfeit
or fake versions of Complainant’s products.
As such, the Panel may find this to be neither a bona fide offering of goods or services pursuant to Policy ¶
4(c)(i) nor a legitimate noncommercial of fair use pursuant to Policy ¶
4(c)(iii). See Hewlett-Packard
Co. v. Inversiones HP Milenium
The Panel concludes that Complainant has sufficiently established Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii).
As previously stated, Complainant argues that Respondent is
using the disputed domain names to resolve to a website offering replicas of
Complainant’s designer handbags, shoes and sunglasses and other luxury
goods. Regardless of whether these goods
are specifically replicas or not, there is sufficient evidence to establish
that they compete with the goods legitimately sold under Complainant’s
marks. The Panel finds such use to
establish that Respondent has registered and is using the disputed domain name
in bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iii).
See G.D. Searle & Co. v. Celebrex Cox-2 Vioxx.com, FA 124508
(Nat. Arb. Forum
Furthermore, the disputed domain names incorporate Complainant’s mark and purport to sell either direct or counterfeit versions of Complainant’s goods, as well as those of Complainant’s competitors, without Complainant’s permission or license. The Panel finds that such use of the disputed domain names is capable of creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainant’s mark and that this is further evidence of Respondent’s bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv). See Nokia Corp. v. Private, D2000-1271 (WIPO Nov. 3, 2000) (finding bad faith registration and use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv) where the domain name resolved to a website that offered similar products as those sold under the complainant’s famous mark); see also Compaq Info. Techs. Group, L.P. v. Waterlooplein Ltd., FA 109718 (Nat. Arb. Forum May 29, 2002) (finding that the respondent’s use of the <compaq-broker.com> domain name to sell the complainant’s products “creates a likelihood of confusion with Complainant's COMPAQ mark as to the source, sponsorship, or affiliation of the website and constituted bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv)”).
The Panel concludes that Complainant has sufficiently established Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii).
Having established all three elements required under the ICANN Policy, the Panel concludes that relief shall be GRANTED.
Accordingly, it is Ordered that the <ilouisvuitton.biz>, <lvbagz.com>, <louisvuittonbagz.com> and <louisvuittonestore.com> domain names be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
Hon. Ralph Yachnin, Panelist
Justice, Supreme Court, NY (Ret,)
Dated: August 11, 2008
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