WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Billa Aktiengesellschaft v. Ganea Nicolae
Case No. DRO2002-0001
1. The Parties
Complainant is Billa Aktiengesellschaft, represented by Dr. Andreas Natterer,
Attorney at Law, Tuchlaben 13, 1014 Vienna, Austria,
hereinafter the "Complainant".
Respondent is Nicolae Ganea, Car Impex i Malmoe,
Husievegen 90, 21233 Malmoe, Sweden, hereinafter the
2. Domain Name and Registrar
The domain name in dispute is <billa.ro>, hereinafter
the "Domain Name".
The Registrar for the disputed Domain Name is National
Institute of R&D in Informatics, Bd. Averescu 8-10,
Sector 1, Bucharest 71316, Romania.
3. Procedural History
The essential procedural history of the Administrative
Proceeding is as follows:
(a) Complainant initiated the proceeding by the filing of a
complaint, received by the World Intellectual Property
Organization Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center")
on April 4, 2002. On April 11, 2002, the
Center sent an Acknowledgement of Receipt of Complaint to the
(b) On April 15, 2002, the Center transmitted a Request for
Registrar Verification to the Registrar, with the Registrarís
Verification received by the Center on April 22, 2002
confirming that the Domain Name was registered through National
Institute of R&D in Informatics.
(c) On April 22, 2002, the Center sent a Complaint Deficiency
Notification to the Complainant, and an Amended Complaint was
received by the Center on April 23, 2002.
(d) On April 30, 2002, the Center transmitted the
Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative
Proceeding to the Respondent, after having satisfied itself that
the Complainant had complied with all formal requirements
pursuant to the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy,
adopted by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and
Numbers ("ICANN") on August 26, 1999 ("the
Policy"), the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute
Resolution Policy approved by ICANN on October 24, 1999
("the Rules"), and the WIPO Supplemental Rules for
Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy ("the
(e) No Response has been submitted by the Respondent.
Accordingly, the Center issued a Notification of Respondent
Default on May 24, 2002.
(f) In view of the Complainantís designation of a Sole
Panelist, the Center invited Mr. Peter Nitter to serve
as a Panelist. Having received his Statement of Acceptance and
Declaration of Impartiality and Independence of June 7, 2002,
the Center formally appointed him as Sole Panelist. The parties
were notified of the Appointment of Administrative Panel on June 7, 2002.
(g) The Sole Panelist finds that the Administrative Panel was
properly constituted and appointed in accordance with the Rules
and the Supplemental Rules. The Administrative Panel shall issue
its decision based on the Complaint, the Policy, the Rules and
the Supplemental Rules. The proceedings have been conducted in
4. Factual Background
Complainant has operated a supermarket chain in Austria since
1961, and has now expanded to Italy, the Czech Republic,
Slovakia, Hungary and Romania. The first supermarket in Romania
was opened in February 1999.
Complainant has presented listings showing registrations of
the trademark BILLA in several European countries.
Complainant is currently using the domain names <billa.at>,
<billa.it> and <billa.cz>, and has registered other
ccTLD domains in countries where they plan to go into business.
The Respondent has registered the domain name <billa.ro>.
Respondent has also registered the domain names <sas.ro>
Prior to the filing of the Complaint, there was some
communication between the parties. Complainant urged Respondent
to transfer the Domain Name to the Complainantís Romanian
subsidiary, and Respondent offered to transfer the Domain Name
if a precise offer would be made.
There was a meeting between the parties, at which Complainant
offered to pay the registration fee of USD 100 for the transfer
of the Domain Name. This offer was rejected by Respondent, and
so was an offer of USD 10.000. An offer of USD 50.000 was
presented, and Respondent wanted to consider this offer.
5. Partiesí Contentions
The Complainant asserts that:
The Domain Name is identical to Complainantís trademark and
The Respondent has not put forward any rights or legitimate
interests in the Domain Name. In the year 2000, the Respondent
offered the Domain Name for sale on the page <http://www.billa.ro>.
The website under the Domain Name is not active. The website
is only intended to create the impression that actual use would
be made of the disputed domain by creating the impression of a
password protected active website.
The fact that Respondent has not even considered
Complainantís offer to reimburse their out-of-pocket costs in
respect of the Domain Name and that Respondent has bargained
very high for a payment for a transfer of the Domain Name,
constitutes a clear indication that Respondent has registered or
acquired the Domain Name primarily for the purpose of selling,
renting or otherwise transferring it to the Complainant.
The fact that Respondent has registered at least two other
domain names identical to well-known trademarks as a pattern of
conduct clearly indicates that Respondent has registered the
Domain Name in order to prevent Complainant from reflecting
their trademark and tradename in a corresponding domain name.
The fact that Respondent does not actively use the website
Ė even more the fact that Respondent by installing password
protection intentionally has tried to create the impression that
the website would be actively used Ė further fosters the
conclusion that Respondent has registered and is using the
Domain Name in bad faith.
The Complainant requests the Administrative Panel to issue a
decision that the Domain Name be transferred to the Complainant.
The Respondent has not submitted a Response, and is thus in
default. Respondent has not made any submissions after the
Notification of Respondent Default.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy lists three tests that a
complainant must satisfy in order to succeed. The Complainant
must satisfy the following:
(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 such domain name; and
(iii) the domain name has been registered in bad faith and is
being used in bad faith.
6.1 Identical or Confusingly Similar to a Trademark or a
Service Mark in which the Complainant has Rights
Complainant has not presented copies of trademark
registrations for the mark BILLA. However, based on the
presented listings of registrations and the annexed leaflet, the
Panel finds that the Complainant has rights to the trademark
The Domain Name at issue is <billa.ro>.
The Panel considers that the suffix ".ro" has no
influence on the similarity consideration, and so the Panel
finds that the Domain Name is identical to the Complainantís
6.2 Rights or Legitimate Interest in the Domain Name
The Panel has considered the allegations made by the
Complainant as to the lack of rights or legitimate interests of
the Respondent in respect of the Domain Name.
Respondent is not a representative or licensee of the
Complainant, nor has Respondent any other authorization to use
the Complainantís trademarks.
The Panel has visited the <http://www.billa.ro> website
of the Respondent in order to investigate whether there could be
found any evidence as to Respondentís rights or legitimacy of
interest with regard to the Domain Name.
The address leads to a website with a picture of a car, and
the option to either send an e-mail or enter a password. The
Panel agrees with the Complainant that it appears that no active
password check is actually conducted, as no error messages
appear after typing random words, letters or numbers. Based on
this the Panel could not find any such evidence of rights or
As a result of its default, the Respondent has not contested
the allegations put forward by the Complainant. Nor has the
Respondent presented any rights or legitimate interests in the
The Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or
legitimate interest in the Domain Name.
6.3 Registration and Use in Bad Faith
The Panel has considered Complainantís allegations and
evidence with regard to the Respondentís registration and use
of the Domain Name in bad faith.
The Panel agrees with the Complainant that the rejection by
Respondent of Complainantís offer to reimburse the
Respondentís out-of-pocket expenses, and the willingness to
consider a possible offer of USD 50.000 in this case indicates
that the Domain Name was registered for the purpose of selling,
renting or otherwise transferring the Domain Name to Complainant.
Although Respondent has a Swedish address, the Panel finds
that Respondent in all probability has been aware of the
Complainantís trademark when registering the Domain Name. It
is not likely that any trader would choose and register a domain
name including the trademark BILLA under the Romanian ccTLD at
approximately the same time as Complainant entered into the
Romanian market if not to create an impression of association
with the Complainant.
Respondent has also registered the domain names <sas.ro>
and <budget.ro>, both domain names reflecting famous
trademarks. Together with the registration of the Domain Name,
this shows a pattern of conduct as to registering domain names
in order to prevent the owner of the trademark from reflecting
the mark in a corresponding domain name.
The way the Respondent has organized the website at <http://www.billa.ro>
indicates that Respondent wishes to give the impression that it
conducts a legitimate use of the Domain Name. As stated above,
the Panel finds that there is actually no active use of the
site, and this action by Respondent indicates that the Domain
Name is being used in bad faith.
By not submitting a Response, Respondent has failed to invoke
any circumstances that could demonstrate that it did not
register and use the Domain Name in bad faith.
Based on the above discussion, the Panel finds that the
Respondent has registered and is using the Domain Name in bad
The Panel has found that the Domain Name <billa.ro> is
identical to a trademark held by the Complainant, and that the
Respondent has no rights to or legitimate interest in the Domain
Name. The Panel further finds that the Domain Name has been
registered in bad faith, and that it is being used in bad faith.
Therefore, pursuant to Paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15
of the Rules, the Panel decides that the Domain Name be
transferred to the Complainant.
Peter G. Nitter
Dated: June 26, 2002