WIPO: domain "villeroy-boch.mobi" registered in bad faith

The WIPO arbitration panel has ruled that the domain name "villeroy-boch.mobi" had been registered in bad faith and ordered that the domain be transferred to its legitimate owner, Villeroy & Boch AG, Germany. The Complainant in the proceedings, Villeroy & Boch AG, Germany, was founded in 1748 and is an international manufacturer of tiles and bathroom and kitchen furniture and accessories and in the course of its existence has become a well-known company worldwide. The Complainant is the proprietor of many trade mark registrations and domain names around the world, all of which are based on its name “Villeroy & Boch”. The interesting point in this case is that a "parking page" was created by the Registrar, a fact of which the Respondent was intially not aware.

David J.A. Cairns, acting as sole panelist, found that

"... the Repondent’s statement that the parking page was created by the Registrar, and that at the time the Respondent had no knowledge of its contents. ... Further, the Respondent states that he has not received any money or discount from the website. However, these facts do not exclude bad faith under paragraph 4(b)(iv) [of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy] for the following reasons: (i) paragraph 4(b)(iv) requires the Respondent to intend to attract Internet users ‘for commercial gain’, but this gain does not need to be derived by the Respondent himself. The Respondent cannot infringe the Complainant’s rights with impunity on the basis that it is allowing a third party to reap the profits of its wrongful conduct; (ii) the Respondent has at all times been in contractual control of the content of the website at the disputed domain name, and had the power to instruct the Registrar to remove the parking page."

The Panel further ruled that

"... the Respondent’s registration of the disputed domain name with knowledge of the Complainant’s trade marks, its authorization to the Registrar to host a parking page at the disputed domain name, and then its failure to act when the Complainant complained of the links of this parking page to its competitors is an independent ground of bad faith. The Respondent is responsible for the content of any webpage hosted at the disputed domain name. It cannot evade this responsibility by means of its contractual relationship with the Registrar. The relationship between a domain name registrant and the Registrar does not affect the rights of a complainant under the Policy (cf Ogden Publications, Inc. v. MOTHEARTHNEWS.COM c/o Whois IDentity Shield/OGDEN PUBLICATIONS INC., Administrator, Domain WIPO
Case No. D2007-1373
Therefore, the Panel decided that the disputed domain name was registered and used in bad faith and had to be transferred to its rightful owner.

Case ref: Villeroy & Boch AG v. Mario Pingerna
Case No. D2007-1912 of 14 February 2008

Posted by: Birgit Clark @ 07.17
Tags: WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center,
Link: https://www.marques.org/class46?XID=BHA116

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