Statoil ASA. v. Evgeny Pavlov
Case No. D2015-1582
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Statoil ASA. of Stavanger, Norway, represented by Valea AB, Sweden.
The Respondent is Evgeny Pavlov of Vniissok, Moscow, Russian Federation.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name is registered with GoDaddy.com, LLC (the “Registrar”).
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on September 4, 2015. On September 4, 2015, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On September 4, 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” 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 and 4, the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on September 16, 2015. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was October 6, 2015. Several brief emails were received from the Respondent. However the Respondent did not submit any formal response.
The Center appointed Nicolas Ulmer as the sole panelist in this matter on October 16, 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.
On October 19, 2015 the Center transmitted to the Panel an email received from the Respondent, on October 16, 2015. Although the communication is clearly late the Panel has, in its discretion considered this email to the extent useful, and it is quoted below.
4. Factual Background
The Complainant is part of a large international energy concern with headquarters in Norway; it holds many registered trademarks for STATOIL and variations thereof. These include at least two international trademark and European Community registrations, in a variety of classes. Most or all of the Complainant’s registrations of its trademarks occurred prior to the Respondent’s registration of the disputed domain name, on May 20, 2014.
The Case file reveals little about the Respondent other than that he appears to be an individual resident in the Russian Federation.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant submits that all three elements of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy are readily met and that the disputed domain name should therefore be transferred to the Complainant. More specifically the Complainant points out that the entirety of its well-known trademark STATOIL is reproduced in the disputed domain name and that the addition of the suffix “detaljhandel”, meaning retail in Swedish, does not reduce the confusing similarity with the Complainant’s trademarks, and may increase it. The Complainant also clearly asserts that the Respondent has no relation to it, is not known by the disputed domain name, and has no license or other right to use the Complainant’s trademarks in the disputed domain name or otherwise. The Complainant asserts that the disputed domain name was linked to a site selling penis enlargement cream and that this is not a legitimate use within the meaning of the Policy and tarnishes the reputation of the Complainant’s well-known trademark. Thereupon, the Complainant asserts that the disputed domain name can only have been registered and used in bad faith.
The Complainant’s contentions are discussed further as appropriate in the Discussion and Findings below.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions in any substantive way. The Respondent has, however, sent to the Center emails on September, 21, 23 and 30 and October 2, 2015. The gist of these laconic emails is, in each case, “I have deleted the site” and “I am ready to give or sell domain”. The last email received, after the transmission of the case file to the Panel, and referenced above, recites: “we are talking about panel goddy? What I need doing now to close the issue with this domain.”
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The disputed domain name begins with and contains the entirety of the Complainant’s trademark and company name, both of which have been established to be well-known. The addition of the Swedish word “detaljhandel”, meaning retail or retailing, does not diminish this confusing similarity and arguably may augment it as it suggests that the disputed domain name is connected to the Complainant’s commercial operations. See DHL International GmbH v. Ecommerce Admin / DHL, WIPO Case No. D2015-0980. This first element of paragraph 4(a) the Policy is accordingly met.
The Complainant needs to establish at least a prima facie case showing that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name. See Croatia Airlines d.d. v. Modern Empire Internet Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2003-0455. Once such a prima facie case is made, the burden shifts to the Respondent to demonstrate that it has rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. See also, Meizu Technology Co., Ltd v. “osama bin laden”, WIPO Case No. DCO2014-0002; H & M Hennes & Mauritz v. Simon Maufe, Akinsaya Odunayo Emmanuel and Nelson Rivaldo, WIPO Case No. D2014-0225.
In the present case the Complainant has clearly asserted that it has never given permission to the Respondent to use its trademarks in the disputed domain name or otherwise, that there is no business relationship or affiliation with the Respondent, and that it has no knowledge or belief of any legitimate use, interests or rights of the Respondent in the disputed domain name.
The Respondent’s various emails to the Center do not assert that he has any rights in the disputed domain name; on the contrary they suggest that the Respondent is willing to give up the disputed domain name.
Furthermore, nothing else in the case file for this matter suggests that the Respondent has any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, or that he is known by such a name.
The Respondent having failed substantively to answer the Complaint, or to raise or allege any evidence of rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name that could rebut the Complainant’s prima facie case, the Complainant has accordingly met its burden under paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
The Complaint established the well-known status of the Complainant’s name and trademarks; it is not plausible that the disputed domain name, registered in May 2014, was chosen serendipitously and without knowledge of the Complainant’s rights and business. The Panel finds that the registration of the disputed domain name was in bad faith.
The Complaint also submits evidence that the disputed domain name resolved to a site selling penis enlargement cream, which suggests an impermissible bad faith use for commercial profit. When the Panel sought to visit the disputed domain name on October 16, 2015 it did not resolve to any discernable site. This is presumably because the Respondent, as indicated in his emails “deleted the site.” The Complainant also points out that it has a former subsidiary in Sweden, Statoil Fuel and Retail AB, which would be authorized to use the disputed domain name if it were not registered by the Respondent.
While the active use of the disputed domain name may have now ceased it is well established since the Telstra Corporation Limited v. Nuclear Marshmallows, WIPO Case No. D2000-0003 decision that the passive holding of a domain name registered in bad faith may constitute bad faith use within the meaning of the Policy. More generally, there is nothing in the file or in the Respondent’s known behaviour that is consistent with good faith conduct with regard to the registration and use of the disputed domain name.
The Complainant has thus also met its burden under paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.
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 be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: October 30, 2015