Guess? IP Holder L.P. and Guess?, Inc. v. Iyenr Puer
Claim Number: FA2207002002897
Complainants are Guess? IP Holder L.P. and Guess?, Inc. (“Complainants”), represented by Gary J. Nelson of Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP, California, USA. Respondent is Iyenr Puer (“Respondent”), China.
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <store-guess.com>, registered with Name.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.
Alan L. Limbury, as Panelist.
Complainants submitted a Complaint to the Forum electronically on July 1, 2022. The Forum received payment on July 1, 2022.
On July 5, 2022, Name.com, Inc. confirmed by e-mail to the Forum that the <store-guess.com> domain name is registered with Name.com, Inc. and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. Name.com, Inc. has verified that Respondent is bound by the Name.com, Inc. registration agreement and has thereby agreed to resolve domain disputes brought by third parties in accordance with ICANN’s Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Policy”).
On July 6, 2022, the Forum served the Complaint and all Annexes, including a Written Notice of the Complaint, setting a deadline of July 26, 2022 by which Respondent could file a Response to the Complaint, via e-mail to all entities and persons listed on Respondent’s registration as technical, administrative, and billing contacts, and to email@example.com. Also on July 6, 2022, the Written Notice of the Complaint, notifying Respondent of the e-mail addresses served and the deadline for a Response, was transmitted to Respondent via post and fax, to all entities and persons listed on Respondent’s registration as technical, administrative and billing contacts.
Having received no response from Respondent, the Forum transmitted to the parties a Notification of Respondent Default.
On July 28, 2022, pursuant to Complainants’ request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the Forum appointed Alan L. Limbury 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" through submission of Electronic and Written Notices, as defined in Rule 1 and Rule 2. 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.
Complainants request that the domain name be transferred from Respondent to Complainants.
PRELIMINARY ISSUE: MULTIPLE COMPLAINANTS
In the instant proceedings, there are two Complainants. Paragraph 3(a) of the Rules provides that “[a]ny person or entity may initiate an administrative proceeding by submitting a complaint.” The Forum’s Supplemental Rule 1(e) defines “The Party Initiating a Complaint Concerning a Domain Name Registration” as a “single person or entity claiming to have rights in the domain name, or multiple persons or entities who have a sufficient nexus who can each claim to have rights to all domain names listed in the Complaint.”
Complainant Guess? IP Holder L.P. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Complainant Guess?, Inc. The Panel accepts that the parent/subsidiary relationship between Complainants and their history of use of the GUESS trademark constitutes a sufficient nexus or link such that each may claim to have rights to the <store-guess.com> domain name listed in the Complaint. Henceforth this decision will refer to them collectively as Complainant.
Complainant is a two billion dollar multinational retailer of men’s and women’s apparel and related goods, distributing products throughout the United States and worldwide. Complainant has rights in the GUESS mark through registration of the mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”). The GUESS mark is one of the most famous and distinctive marks in retailing. Respondent’s <store-guess.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainants mark.
Respondent has no legitimate interests in the <store-guess.com> domain name. Respondent is not commonly known by the domain name and Complainant has not authorized or licensed to Respondent any rights in the GUESS mark. Additionally, Respondent does not use the domain name for any bona fide offering of goods or services or legitimate noncommercial or fair use. Instead, the domain name resolves to a website that attempts to pass off Respondent as affiliated with Complainant and sells counterfeit versions of Complainant’s goods.
Respondent registered the <store-guess.com> domain name in bad faith with actual knowledge of Complainant’s rights in the GUESS mark and uses it in bad faith in order to disrupt Complainant’s business and divert its customers for commercial gain.
Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant has established all the elements entitling it to relief.
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."
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.
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 ¶ 4.3; see also eGalaxy Multimedia Inc. v. ON HOLD By Owner Ready To Expire, FA 157287 (Forum June 26, 2003) (“Because Complainant did not produce clear evidence to support its subjective allegations [. . .] the Panel finds it appropriate to dismiss the Complaint”).
Complainant has shown that it has rights in the GUESS mark through registration of the mark with the USPTO (e.g., Reg. No. 1,433,022 registered March 17, 1987). The Panel finds Respondent’s <store-guess.com> domain name to be confusingly similar to Complainants mark because it incorporates the GUESS mark in its entirety, adding the term “store” and a hyphen, which do nothing to distinguish the domain name from the mark, and the inconsequential “.com” generic top-level domain (“gTLD”), which may be ignored.
Complainant has established this element.
Rights or Legitimate Interests
Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy sets out three illustrative circumstances as examples which, if established by Respondent, shall demonstrate rights to or legitimate interests in the domain name for purposes of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy, i.e.
(i) before any notice to Respondent of the dispute, the use by Respondent 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) Respondent (as an individual, business or other organization) has been commonly known by the domain name, even if Respondent has acquired no trademark or service mark rights; or
(iii) Respondent is making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert customers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue.
The <store-guess.com> domain name was registered on March 16, 2022, long after Complainant has shown that its GUESS mark had become very well-known. It resolves to a website prominently displaying the GUESS mark, featuring Complainants’ own copyright protected images and purporting to offer for sale Complainant’s goods.
These circumstances, together with Complainant’s assertions, are sufficient to constitute a prima facie showing of absence of rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name on the part of Respondent. The evidentiary burden therefore shifts to Respondent to show that it does have rights or legitimate interests in the <store-guess.com> domain name. See JUUL Labs, Inc. v. Dryx Emerson / KMF Events LTD, FA1906001849706 (Forum July 17, 2019).
Respondent has made no attempt to do so.
The Panel finds that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name.
Complainant has established this element.
Registration and Use in Bad Faith
Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy sets out four illustrative circumstances, which, though not exclusive, shall be evidence of the registration and use of the domain name in bad faith for purposes of paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy, including:
(iv) by using the domain name, Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of Respondent’s website or location or of a product or service on its website or location.
The circumstances set out above in relation to the second element satisfy the Panel that Respondent was fully aware of Complainant’s very well-known GUESS mark when Respondent registered the <store-guess.com> domain name and that Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to Respondent’s website, by creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainant’s mark as to the source of Respondent’s website and of the goods promoted on that website. This demonstrates registration and use in bad faith to attract users for commercial gain under Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv).
Complainant has established this element.
Complainant having established all three elements required under the ICANN Policy, the Panel concludes that relief shall be GRANTED.
Accordingly, it is Ordered that the <store-guess.com> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant Guess? IP Holder L.P.
Alan L. Limbury, Panelist
Dated: July 29, 2022
Click Here to return to the main Domain Decisions Page.
Click Here to return to our Home Page