ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Inter-IKEA Systems B.V. v. SC Agis International Sport S.R.L.
Case No. DRO2006-0001
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Inter-IKEA Systems B.V., Delft, Netherlands, represented by SD Petosevic Romania SRL, Romania.
The Respondent is SC Agis International Sport S.R.L., Bucharest, Romania.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <ikea.ro> is registered with RNC.ro.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on January 20, 2006. On January 23, 2006, the Center transmitted by email to RNC.ro a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain name at issue. On January 24, 2006, RNC.ro transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details for the administrative, billing, and technical contact.
In response to a notification by the Center that the Complaint was administratively deficient, the Complainant filed an amendment to the Complaint on February 3, 2006. The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amendment to the Complaint satisfied the formal requirements of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Policy”), the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Rules”), and the WIPO Supplemental Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Supplemental Rules”).
In accordance with the Rules, paragraphs 2(a) and 4(a), the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on February 13, 2006. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was March 5, 2006. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on March 6, 2006.
The Center appointed Beatrice Onica Jarka as the Sole Panelist in this matter on March 14, 2006. The Panel finds that it was properly constituted. The Panel has submitted the Statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality and Independence, as required by the Center to ensure compliance with the Rules, paragraph 7.
Although the Registrar of the disputed domain name has informed the Center that the language of the relevant registration agreement was Romanian, the Panel considers that the language of the present proceeding should be English, mainly because the applicant for the registration of a domain name with RNC.ro does not have an option between Romanian and English language. By registering the domain name, such applicant accepts the use of both languages in the relationship with the domain name.
In addition, considering that the Complainant opted for the English language to be used in these proceedings and that the Center notified the Complaint in both its English and Romanian version, and taking into account the Respondent’s default, the Panel concludes that, according to Rules, paragraph 11(b), the language of the proceedings shall be English.
4. Factual Background
The Complainant owns two famous IKEA trademarks in Romania, respectively:
- IKEA word trademark No. 12672/1982 (renewed until 2012) registered in Romania for the classes 11, 20, 24 and 27; and
- IKEA logo trademark No. 15033/1988 (renewed until 2008) registered in Romania for the classes 20 and 21.
With respect to domain names, among others, Inter-IKEA is the holder of the following registrations:
- <www.ikea.com> - the main website;
- <www.ikea-usa.com> for United States of America;
- <www.ikea.se> for Sweden;
- <www.ikea.at> for Austria;
- <www.ikea.dk> for Denmark;
- <www.ikea.jp> for Japan;
- <www.ikea.com.cn> for China;
The Respondent is a Romanian company which is the current registrant of the disputed domain name.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that:
- the domain name <ikea.ro> is identical to the sign and trademark IKEA;
- the Respondent has no right or legitimate interest in respect of the domain name;
- it has notified the Respondent of its rights and did not get any reaction back from it;
- the disputed domain name was registered in bad faith because the Respondent has knowingly registered a well-known sign and trademark held by another to exploit as its own;
- the domain name <ikea.ro> has been registered by the Respondent in 1999 but remained inactive ever since;
- the Respondent’s registration of <ikea.ro> prevents Inter-IKEA from legitimately registering its rights in the form of the sign IKEA as a corresponding top level domain name in Romania and has also an unfavorable impact over Inter-IKEA’s business and good name;
- the Respondent’s registered contact is a Swedish resident, Mr. Nicolae Ganea, who was held in past WIPO UDRP cases to have acted in bad faith and who has registered in Romania other well-known signs and trademarks as domain names.
- the Respondent’s contact information is not accurate.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant’s rights in the IKEA mark are uncontestable. As it can be seen from the Romanian and other foreign registrations of the mark, such registrations cover furniture, including sofas, chairs, stools, tables, desks, shelves, cupboards, chests of drawers and beds, mattresses, hallstands; bars for wall; frames, mirrors, rods for curtains and galleries, pillows; apparatus for lighting, including accessories for lighting and illuminators; lamp shades; heating installations, cooking, refrigerating and sanitary installations; textiles, bed and table covers; carpets, rugs, mats and other materials for covering existing floors; wall hangings (non-textile); small household utensils; containers (not of precious metal or coated therewith); combs and sponges; brushes (except paint brushes); articles and materials for cleaning purposes; glassware, porcelain and earthenware.
In addition, as the Complainant contends and other WIPO UDRP panels confirmed (See, Inter-IKEA Systems B.V v. Hoon Huh, WIPO Case No. D2000-0438), the sign IKEA has no meaning in any language other than as a trademark identifying Inter-IKEA as a source of origin.
The Panel finds that the disputed domain name is identical to the Complainant’s trademark because it incorporates it in its entirety. The mere addition of the top level country code “.ro”, does not alter such identity, but it connects the said trademark to the Romanian space.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
As prior WIPO UDRP panels have decided (See Document Technologies, Inc. v. International Electronic Communications, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2000-0270; Chanel, Inc v Estco Technology Group, WIPO Case No. D2000-0413 Inter-Continental Hotel Corporation v. Khaled Ali Soussi, WIPO Case No. D2000-0252), once a complainant establishes a prima facie showing that none of the three circumstances establishing legitimate interests or rights apply, the burden of proof on this element shifts to the Respondent to rebut the showing.
Moreover, prior WIPO UDRP panels (See Singapore Airlines limited v. European Travel Network, WIPO Case No. D2000-0641; Bayerische Motoren Weke AG v. Null, WIPO Case No. D2002-0937), have accepted that the silence of the Respondent might support a finding, based on other relevant circumstances, that he has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.
Considering this prior practice, the Panel finds that in this case the Complainant established a prima facie showing that the Respondent has no rights to or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Panel, referring to the Respondent, has no indication whatsoever of any demonstrable preparations to use the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services.The Complainant holds a distinctive trademark and the Complainant has not authorized the Respondent to use its mark.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel finds that the Respondent has registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith.
As the Complainant’s trademark is well known all over the world, the Panel is of the opinion that the registration of the trademark was done with the knowledge of it and with the implied intent to take advantage of the IKEA mark.
Also, the passive holding of the disputed domain name by the Respondent for more than 7 years since its registration (See Guerlain S.A. v. Peikang, WIPO Case No. D2000-0055) together with the circumstances of the case represent, in the opinion of the Panel, bad faith registration and use.
The circumstances which represent the basis of the Panel’s opinion are the following:
1. the Complainant holds a well- known trademark with a strong distinctiveness
2. the Respondent provided no evidence of nor alleged any actual or contemplated good faith use;
3. one of the persons listed as contacts in the Whois record for the disputed domain name is the Swedish resident Nicolae Ganea who apparently has a conduct of registering reputed trademarks as domain names.
For all the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the domain name <ikea.ro> be transferred to the Complainant.
Beatrice Onica Jarka
Dated: April 7, 2006