WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Le Cordon Bleu International B. V. v. Keith Myers
Case No. D2015-0115
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Le Cordon Bleu International B. V. of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, represented by Novagraaf Nederland B.V., the Netherlands.
The Respondent is Keith Myers of Houston, Texas, United States of America.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <cordonbleu.education> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with GoDaddy.com, LLC (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on January 23, 2015. On January 23, 2015, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On January 27, 2015, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details.
The Center verified that 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 2, 2015. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was February 22, 2015. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on February 24, 2015.
The Center appointed William P. Knight as the sole panelist in this matter on February 27, 2015. 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 culinary and hospitality education company which operates worldwide. The Complainant has registered trade marks in respect of CORDON BLEU (for example, following on International Trade Mark Registration No. 396013, registered February 19, 1973) and LE CORDON BLEU (for example, Community Trade Mark Registration No. 004751178, registered September 21, 2006) alone and as part of a device or with other words, in respect of a wide range of goods and services, in multiple jurisdictions including the United States of America. The Complainant also trades under the name “Le Cordon Bleu.” The earliest date of registration for the word mark CORDON BLEU in the name of the Complainant appears to be January 5, 1970.
The Domain Name was registered to the Respondent on April 10, 2014. The website at the Domain Name features the following text “This Domain is For Sale: If you are interested in purchasing this domain please use the contact form below to contact the seller”. The website also contains an image featuring the acronym “WWW” in blue lettering. No other substantive content is featured on the website.
The contact form on the Respondent’s website includes a “Select Domain” drop-down box which lists multiple “.education” domain names, including the Domain Name. These domain names correspond to the names of several other educational bodies, including the Complainant.
The Complainant sought to arrange the sale of the Domain Name by the Respondent. The Respondent offered to sell the Domain Name for USD 20,000.
5. Parties’ Contentions
In accordance with paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainant asserts:
(i) that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to its CORDON BLEU trade marks;
(ii) that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name;
(iii) that the Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Complainant asserts that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to its family of CORDON BLEU trade marks as the Domain Name incorporates the words “cordon bleu.”
The Complainant asserts that the Respondent does not own any trade mark registrations relating to the Domain Name, is not known by the Domain Name and is not making fair use of the Domain Name.
The Complainant argues that the use of the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.education” in the Domain Name indicates registration and use in bad faith as education is known to be the core business of the Complainant.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Pursuant to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainant must establish each of the following three elements to prevail in its request for transfer of the Domain Name from the Respondent:
1. The Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trade mark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and
2 The 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.
Notwithstanding the failure of the Respondent to respond to the Complaint in this matter, the Complainant still bears the burden of proof on each of these elements. The Respondent’s default does not automatically result in a determination in favour of the Complainant. The failure of the Respondent to argue its case does not mean that the Panel must accept the propositions of the Complainant (see Brooke Bollea, a.k.a Brooke Hogan v. Robert McGowan, WIPO Case No. D2004-0383).
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel finds that the Complainant has trade mark rights in CORDON BLEU for the purposes of the Policy, by virtue of its many trade mark registrations alone, as well as its substantial trading history. The Panel is also satisfied that the Domain Name is identical to the Complainant’s CORDON BLEU trade mark. The gTLD “.education” does not carry any distinguishing weight as education is known to be the core business of the Complainant.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The website at the Domain Name offers no indication that the Respondent is making a legitimate use of the Complainant’s CORDON BLEU mark. The Respondent has not provided any explanation of why he selected the Domain Name – or the domain names corresponding to any of the other institutions referred to in his list of domain names for sale on his website.
In such circumstances, the Panel concludes that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name.
The Panel finds that the second element of the Policy is satisfied.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel accepts the Complainant’s argument that the use of the gTLD “.education” in the Domain Name indicates registration and use in bad faith as education is known to be the core business of the Complainant.
The Panel finds that the Respondent was most likely aware of the Complainant’s established reputation and trade mark rights at the time of registering the Domain Name. The Respondent’s use of the gTLD “.education” in registering the Domain Name indicates an understanding of the nature of the Complainant’s business, and therefore its existence.
The Respondent is brazenly offering to sell the Domain Name on his website and the evidence of his request for USD 20,000 makes plain that he is seeking payment well in excess of his legitimate expenses of registration.
The Respondent is an archetypical “cybersquatter” against the actions of which it is the purpose of the Policy to provide a remedy.
Therefore, the Panel finds that the Respondent has registered and is using the Domain Name in bad faith.
For the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the disputed domain name <cordonbleu.education> be transferred to the Complainant.
William P. Knight
Date: March 2, 2015