Hannover Ruckversicherungs-Aktiengesellschaft v. Hyungki Ryu
Claim Number: FA0112000102724
Complainant is Hannover Ruckversicherungs-Aktiengesellschaft, Hannover (“Complainant”) represented by Robert A. Badgley, of Lord, Bissell & Brook. Respondent is Hyungki Ryu, Guro Gu (“Respondent”).
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <hannoverre.com>, registered with Gabia, 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.
Hon. Ralph Yachnin as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum (the “Forum”) electronically on December 4, 2001; the Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on December 6, 2001. The Complaint was submitted in both Korean and English.
On December 5, 2001, Gabia, Inc. confirmed by e-mail to the Forum that the domain name <hannoverre.com> is registered with Gabia, Inc. and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. Gabia, Inc. has verified that Respondent is bound by the Gabia, 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 December 11, 2001, a Korean language Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the “Commencement Notification”), setting a deadline of December 31, 2001 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 email@example.com 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 January 4, 2001, pursuant to Complainant’s request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the Forum appointed Hon. Ralph Yachnin 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.
Pursuant to Rule 11(a) the Panel determines that the language requirement has been satisfied through the Korean language Complaint and Commencement Notification and, absent a Response, determines that the remainder of the proceedings may be conducted in English.
Complainant requests that the domain name be transferred from the Respondent to the Complainant.
The disputed domain name <hannoverre.com> is identical to the HANNOVER RE mark, in which Complainant holds rights.
Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.
Respondent registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith.
Respondent did not submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant is the world’s fifth largest reinsurance company, headquartered in Hannover, Germany. Similar to other reinsurance companies (e.g. Swiss Re, Munich Re, Transatlantic Re, etc.), Complainant is commonly known as Hannover Re. Complainant asserts that by doing business all over the globe and having received international recognition and acclaim, its name enjoys worldwide fame. Among its various international locations, Complainant holds an office in Seoul, Korea, which is Respondent’s apparent place of residence.
Complainant holds several registered trademarks throughout the world incorporating the words HANNOVER and RE. Complainant registered the trademark HANNOVER RE in Germany as a “well-known mark” (Durchgesetztes Zeichen) in International Class 36 in April 1980, as Registration No. 1,001,472. The mark was registered and has been used in connection with insurance and financial services.
Respondent registered the disputed domain name on October 21, 2000. At the time the Complaint was filed, Respondent had made no use of the domain name but to display an “under construction” page. By way of correspondence between the two parties, Respondent asserted that it intended to form, but that it had not yet formed, a real estate company in Korea named after the city of Hannover, Germany. In the same letter, Respondent offered to transfer ownership of the domain name to Complainant for $400,000 (USD).
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.
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;
(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 sufficiently established its rights in the HANNOVER RE mark through registration with the German government. It is immaterial that Respondent is not a German resident, as Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) is satisfied when a Complainant registers its mark with any governmental agency. See Koninklijke KPN N.V. v. Telepathy Inc., D2001-0217 (WIPO May 7, 2001) (finding that the Policy does not require that the mark be registered in the country in which a Respondent operates; it is sufficient that a Complainant can demonstrate a mark in some jurisdiction); see also Smart Design LLC v. Hughes, D2000-0993 (WIPO Oct. 18, 2000) (holding that ICANN Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) does not require Complainant to demonstrate exclusive rights, but only that complainant has a bona fide basis for making the complaint in the first place).
The disputed domain name <hannoverre.com> is identical to Complainant’s HANNOVER RE mark, as spaces are impermissible in domain names and a generic top-level domain such as “.com” or “.net” is required in domain names. See Wembley Nat’l Stadium Ltd. v. Thomson, D2000-1233 (WIPO Nov. 16, 2000) (finding that the domain name <wembleystadium.net> is identical to the WEMBLEY STADIUM mark); see also Croatia Airlines v. Kwen Kijong, AF-0302 (eResolution Sept. 25, 2000) (finding that the domain name <croatiaairlines.com> is identical to the Complainant’s CROATIA AIRLINES trademark).
Accordingly, the Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.
Rights or Legitimate Interests
Complainant has established that it has rights to and legitimate interests in the HANNOVER RE mark. Because Respondent has failed to submit a Response in this proceeding, the Panel may presume 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).
Respondent has made no use of the domain name for over a year after registration. Such non-use amounts to passive holding, which suggests that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. See American Home Prod. Corp. v. Malgioglio, D2000-1602 (WIPO Feb. 19, 2001) (finding no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name <solgarvitamins.com> where Respondent merely passively held the domain name); see also 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).
Although Respondent once claimed that it intended to use the disputed domain name for a commercial purpose, Complainant asserts that this explanation was pretextual, as evidenced by Respondent’s willingness to sell the domain name. See J. Paul Getty Trust v. Domain 4 Sale & Co., FA 95262 (Nat. Arb. Forum Sept. 7, 2000) (finding rights or legitimate interests do not exist when one has made no use of the websites that are located at the domain names at issue, other than to sell the domain names for profit). As Respondent has not come forward to rebut Complainant’s assertion, the Panel will accept it as true. 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”); see also AT&T Corp. v. Domains by Brian Evans, D2000-0790 (WIPO Sept. 27, 2000) (finding no rights or legitimate interests where Respondent alleged that it intended to use the domain name <attweb.com> for a company called “At the Web” but failed to provide any evidence as to the existence of the company).
The Panel thus finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied and that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.
Registration and Use in Bad Faith
Respondent’s offer to sell the disputed domain name for $400,000 is strong evidence of bad faith registration and use under Policy ¶ 4(b)(i). See Matmut v. Tweed, D2000-1183 (WIPO Nov. 27, 2000) (finding bad faith under Policy ¶ 4(b)(i) where Respondent stated in communication with Complainant, “if you are interested in buying this domain name, we would be ready to sell it for $10,000”); see also Grundfos A/S v. Lokale, D2000-1347 (WIPO Nov. 27, 2000) (finding that Respondent’s failure to use the domain name in any context other than to offer it for sale to Complainant amounts to a use of the domain name in bad faith).
Respondent’s intentional selection of a domain name that wholly incorporated Complainant’s well known mark provides further evidence of registration and use in bad faith, as Respondent should have been aware of the proprietary nature of the mark. See Singapore Airlines Ltd v. P & P Servicios de Communicacion S.L., D2000-0643 (WIPO Aug. 29, 2000) (“The domain name <singaporeairlines.com> is so obviously connected with a well-known airline that its very registration and use by someone with no connection to the airline suggests opportunistic bad faith”); 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).
Finally, Respondent’s passive holding of the disputed domain name for over a year also indicates bad faith under the Policy. See 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 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 paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy).
Accordingly, 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 should be hereby granted.
Accordingly, it is Ordered that the <hannoverre.com> domain name be transferred from Respondent to Complainant.
Hon. Ralph Yachnin, Panelist
Justice, Supreme Court, NY (Ret.)
Dated: January 7, 2001
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