WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Revlon Consumer Products Corporation v. Domain Administrator / Moniker Privacy Services
Case No. D2010-2091
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Revlon Consumer Products Corporation of New York, New York, United States of America, internally represented.
The Respondent is Domain Administrator of Shanghai, China and Moniker Privacy Services of Pompano Beach, Florida, United States of America.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <revlonwalkrun.org> is registered with Moniker Online Services, LLC.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on December 3, 2010. On December 6, 2010, the Center transmitted by email to Moniker Online Services a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On December 7, 2010, Moniker Online Services, LLC transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the disputed domain name, which differed from the named Respondent, and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on December 8, 2010 providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting the Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. The Complainant filed an amendment to the Complaint on December 10, 2010.
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” or “UDRP”), 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 December 13, 2010. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was January 2, 2011. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on January 4, 2011.
The Center appointed Harini Narayanswamy as the sole panelist in this matter on January 11, 2011. 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.
4. Factual Background
The Complainant is a leading cosmetics manufacturer that markets beauty products under the REVLON trademark. The Complainant owns several registered trademarks for REVLON and has filed documents showing its trademark registrations under different classes. The Complainant owns numerous domain names that incorporate the REVLON trademark and its variations, which includes the domain name <revlonwalkrun.com>.
The Respondent registered the disputed domain name <revlonwalkrun.org> on May 2, 2010.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that it has used the REVLON trademark since 1932 and states that the mark is the most valuable in its brand portfolio, which includes other marks such as ALMAY, COLORSILK, COLORSTAY, CHARLIE, GATINEAU, MITCHUM and ULTIMA II. The Complainant asserts that REVLON is a fanciful trademark and is a coined word created from a combination of its founder’s names, Charles and Joseph Revson and Charles Latchman, and it has no other generic or descriptive meaning.
The Complainant states that it sells its REVLON products in one hundred and seventy five countries around the world through its wholly owned subsidiaries in fourteen countries and through numerous distributors and licensees. The Complainant also has several licensees who manufacture and distribute REVLON products such as wigs, electric dryers, curling irons, eyewear, false eyelashes and collectible dolls in many countries. The Complainant says it has about fifty US trademark registrations and pending applications and over two thousand six hundred worldwide registrations or pending applications for the REVLON mark and its variants.
The Complainant contends that its parent company Revlon Inc. is a publicly traded company and is frequently referenced in news, financial and business publications and on websites. The Complainant contends that it has spent several million dollars over the decades promoting its REVLON products through advertisements on television, print, Internet and on point-of-sale materials. The Complainant states its first print advertisement outside of trade journals appeared in “The New Yorker” 1935.
The Complainant claims it pioneered the use of celebrities in advertisements, and has featured personalities such as Halle Berry, Jessica Alba, Cindy Crawford, Brook Shields and Lucy Liu among others in its advertisements. The Complainant states it has sponsored numerous television programs and fundraising events. In the 1950’s the Complainant was the sole sponsor of the popular television game show “The $ 64,000 Question” and has sponsored “The Ed Sullivan Show”, the Academy Awards and advertised on widely viewed television events like the Super Bowl.
The Complainant states it sponsors the EIF Revlon Run / Walk for women, which is featured on the website “www.revlonrunwalk.com“, and is the largest single day fundraiser event to support women’s cancer research in the United States. The Complainant has sponsored this annual event since 1993 in Los Angeles and since 1997 in New York City. The domain name <revlonrun.com> was transferred to the Complainant in the case Revlon Consumer Products Corporation v. Above.com Domain Privacy / Host Master, Transure Enterprise Ltd, David Smith, WIPO Case No. D2010-1497. The Complainant lists several other UDRP cases where domain names pertaining to its trademarks were transferred to the Complainant.
The Complainant argues that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark for the reasons that it uses the entire REVLON mark. The Complainant submits that the gTLD “.org” and the generic terms “walk”, “run” are non distinctive and does not distinguish the disputed domain name from the mark.
The Complainant argues the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interest in the disputed domain name as the Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name and has no relationship with the Complainant or any permission to use the REVLON mark. Further, the Respondent’s website does not disclaim any connection with the Complainant. The Respondent does not use the disputed domain name for a bona fide offering of goods and services as the Complainant’s well-known mark is being used to misdirect users to a series of sponsored links, some of which are competitors of the Complainant.
The Complainant asserts the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith, as the Respondent uses the famous REVLON mark to misappropriate its goodwill and to divert Internet traffic away from the Complainant to competitor and third party sites. The Respondent continues to run an infringing website despite the Complainant’s objections. The deliberate use of the REVLON mark on meta tags shows the Respondent’s awareness of the mark and intentions to exploit the mark from click through commissions. For all these reasons, the Complainant requests for transfer of the disputed domain name.
The Respondent had chosen to use an identity shield service and the registrar during the verification process has revealed the identity of the true registrant of the disputed domain name. The identity and name of the domain name registrant, the Respondent in these proceedings, provided by the registrar is “Domain Administrator” and the contact address is in Shanghai, China. Other than this, there is no further information regarding the Respondent from the material on record.
The Panel has verified from the record that the Center has sent a notification under the Rules to the named Respondent, “Domain Administrator” at the given contact address at Shanghai, China. The Respondent did not reply or respond to the notification or send any communications to the Center in connection with these proceedings, although the record shows proof of delivery of the documents.
6. Discussion and Findings
To obtain the remedy of transfer of the disputed domain name, the Policy states that the Complainant has to establish three elements under paragraph 4(a).
(i) The disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a mark in which the Complainant has rights; and
(ii) The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and
(iii) The disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith by the Respondent.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The first element under paragraph 4(a) requires the Complainant to prove that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a mark in which it has rights.
The Complainant has provided documents showing its trademark registrations for the REVLON trademark in several classes. The Complainant has also filed documents that demonstrate the wide publicity it undertakes for its REVLON mark internationally and has mentioned a number of popular events that it has sponsored over the years. The Complainant has filed samples of several full page advertisements that feature the REVLON mark prominently and advertisements showing REVLON products being endorsed by celebrities in leading magazines. Based on the evidence submitted in these proceedings the Complainant is found to have established its exclusive rights in the REVLON trademark.
The disputed domain name consists of the Complainant’s REVLON mark along with the terms “walk” and “run”. It is well established that a domain name that incorporates a trademark in it entirety with other terms is sufficient to establish confusing similarity to the trademark. See for instance F.Hoffmann-LaRoche AG v. Direct Privacy ID 9CC6, WIPO Case No. D2010-0139, where the domain name <tamiflu-online-store.com> was found confusingly similar to the trademark TAMIFLU. The Panel accordingly finds that incorporating the entire REVLON trademark in the disputed domain name renders it confusingly similar to the Complainant’s REVLON trademark.
The Complainant has submitted that it sponsors the fund raising event known as the EIF Revlon Run Walk to support women’s cancer research in the Unites States. It can be inferred that an average user who encounters the disputed domain name with the terms “walk”, “run” along with the REVLON mark is likely to associate it with the event sponsored by the Complainant and is likely to be confused by the deceptively similar name. The Panel finds the inclusion of the terms “walk” “run” and the choice the gTLD “.org” in the disputed domain name, renders the entire domain name virtually identical to the fund raising event sponsored by the Complainant.
It is well established that the gTLD suffix is considered a technical requirement for a domain name and it does not directly influence the finding of confusing similarity of the domain name to the trademark. See for instance Société des Hôtels Méridien v. Korea Worldtravel, WIPO Case No. D2005-1215. However, the choice of a gTLD by a respondent, can in some cases contribute to the overall confusing similarity of the domain name in question to the trademark. The choice of the gTLD suffix, “.org” by the Respondent in the present case, in the Panel’s view, could further contribute to the confusing similarity with the Complainant’s mark as the Complainant sponsors the EIF Revlon Run / Walk for women. This is because the “.org” gTLD is generally used by non-profit organizations or organizations working for social causes. Such organizations are known to conduct fund raising events, such as the one sponsored by the Complainant. The Panel therefore finds the entire disputed domain name with all its component parts, namely the trademark, the generic terms and the gTLD suffix, is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s mark.
For the reasons discussed the Panel finds the Complainant has satisfied the first requirement under paragraph 4 of the Policy, that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to a trademark in which the Complainant has rights.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The second element under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy requires the Complainant to make a prima facie showing that the Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
The Complainant has argued that the Respondent has no rights and legitimate interests, as the Respondent is not known by the disputed domain name and the Respondent is not authorized to use its mark. It has been established in these proceedings that the Complainant’s trademark is a widely advertised and a widely known trademark. From the material on record it appears that the Respondent who is not connected with the Complainant or its business, nonetheless uses the Complainant’s trademark in the disputed domain name.
The Respondent is undoubtedly getting misdirected Internet traffic due to its unauthorized use of the Complainant’s mark. Further, the Respondent has placed sponsored links on its website and it can be inferred that the Respondent derives some form of commercial gain from these links.
The Respondent has not participated in these proceedings or filed any response to the Complaint. Further the Panel finds there is no material on record that indicates the Respondent’s legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. In the Panel’s view, the use of the Complainant’s trademark in the disputed domain name is likely to mislead the public and Internet users that the disputed domain name refers to the Complainant. A domain name that gives a false impression to users does not confer legitimate rights or interests. This view has been upheld in several decisions. See for instance Pfizer Inc. v. Alex Schreiner/ Schreiner & Co., WIPO Case No. D2004-0731.
The Panel is satisfied that the Complainant has made a prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name and has satisfied the second element under paragraph 4 of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The third element under paragraph 4(a) of he Policy requires the Complainant to prove that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Complainant has extended four main arguments regarding the bad faith registration and use of the disputed domain name, these are: First, the very use of its widely known distinctive mark in the disputed domain name and the likelihood of confusion to the public. Second, some of the sponsored links placed on the Respondent’s website are to competitor sites of the Complainant. Third, the use of the REVLON trademark on the Respondent’s metatags, and finally the Respondent is continuing to maintain the infringing website despite the Complainant’s objections and notices.
The Complainant has submitted that the term REVLON is a coined word and a fanciful trademark that is adopted and used by the Complainant through out the world for a period of over seventy-five years and therefore it is a strong and distinctive trademark that is internationally well known. These submissions are amply substantiated with documents that show the Complainant’s extensive use of the trademark that establish the distinctive nature of the Complainant’s the REVLON mark and its international fame.
Given the fame of the Complainant’s mark, it is fair to infer that the Respondent had knowledge of the Complainant’s REVLON mark at the time of registration of the disputed domain name. Particularly with the Complainant’s prior adoption and use of the mark for over seventy-five years, and its worldwide publicity for a considerable period, the mere reference to the term “Revlon” has no other connotation than the Complainant’s widely known mark. The registration of a domain name that uses a well-known mark is evidence of bad faith registration. See for instance, Audi AG v. Sikes Information Systems, WIPO Case No. D2009-0128 (<audi-online.com>) or PepsiCo, Inc. v. Domain Admin, WIPO Case No. D2006-0435 (<pepsicolaroadhouse.com>).
The Respondent when he registered the domain name, had expressly agreed under the contract with the registrar, (Annex 3 of Complaint, Moniker Registration Agreement, paragraph 12.2) that the disputed name will not directly or indirectly infringe or conflict with any third party rights including their intellectual property rights. To determine whether such third party rights exist in this day and age of electronic searches would not have been difficult for the Respondent, who is evidently proficient at registering domain names on the Internet. Further, as discussed in the previous paragraphs, the Complainant has established that its REVLON trademark is widely known, which leads to the logical inference that the Respondent has used the mark in the disputed domain name despite knowing of the Complainant’s rights in the mark. Under the circumstances, it is not far fetched to surmise that the dispute domain name was registered expressly to gain from the use of the REVLON mark.
The other ramification of the Respondent’s use of the Complainant’s trademark in the disputed domain name is the resulting confusion caused to the average Internet user as to the source, sponsorship and endorsement of the Respondent’s domain name and website. Paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy seeks to address precisely this type of offensive domain name registration. The Panel finds the Respondent’s registration comes within the meaning of paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy for intentionally attempting to attract for commercial gain, Internet users to its website by creating a likelihood of confusion as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation and endorsement of the Respondent’s website.
The Complainant has also argued that the Respondent uses its REVLON mark to attract Internet traffic to the Respondent’s website, but diverts this traffic away from the Complainant. According to the Complainant, this indicates that the Respondent is misappropriating the Complainant’s goodwill to derive income from the Respondent’s link farm website and also promotes the Complainant’s competitors. The Panel on going through the contents of the Respondent’s website, finds that some of the sponsored links on the Respondent’s website are competitors of the Complainant in the beauty products business. The use of a well-known trademark in a domain name to attract users to the respondent’s link farm website that promotes goods or services which compete with the complainant’s products and services, or divert users to competitors of the complainant is recognized as bad faith use under the Policy. See Viacom International Inc. v. Transure Enterprise Ltd. WIPO Case No. D2009-1616.
The Complainant also refers to the Respondent’s deliberate use of the trademark REVLON on the metatags, which also indicates the Respondent’s awareness of the mark and intentions to exploit the reputation of the trademark to obtain click through commissions. Such use of a trademark on metatags by a respondent, who is found to have no rights in the domain name and is unauthorized to use the mark, has been viewed as indicative of bad faith registration and use of the domain name. See STX LLC v. Yu nae ho, Jinsu Kim, WIPO Case No. D2006-0567, and Tata Sons Limited v. tataconnect, WIPO Case No. D2006-0572. The Panel additionally notes that the Complainant sent several notices to the Respondent regarding the use of the disputed domain name, which the Respondent has apparently disregarded and continues using the domain name.
The Panel finds, for the reasons discussed that the entire set of facts and circumstances in the present case indicates that the disputed domain name was registered in bad faith and is being used in bad faith. The Complainant has therefore successfully established the third element under paragraph 4 of the Policy.
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 <revlonwalkrun.org> be transferred to the Complainant.
Dated: January 25, 2011