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WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center Softlab GmbH für Systementwicklung und EDV-Anwendung v. “xxx” Case No. DNAME2006-00001 - softlab.name

 

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Softlab GmbH für Systementwicklung und EDV-Anwendung, Munich, Germany, represented by BMW, AG In-House Trademark Counsel, Munich, Germany.

The identity of the Respondent is not accurately known because it identified itself as “xxx”, Massachusettes, United States of America,” when it registered the domain name.

 

2. The Registration and Registrar

The disputed domain name <softlab.name> is registered with Direct Information Pvt Ltd d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com.

 

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on September 19, 2006. On September 29, 2006, the Center transmitted by email to Direct Information Pvt Ltd d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain name at issue. On October 3, 2006, and October 7, 2006, Direct Information Pvt Ltd d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry transmitted by email to the Center its verification responses confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details for the administrative, billing, and technical contact. The Center verified that the Complaint satisfied the formal requirements of the Eligibility Requirements Dispute Resolution Policy for .NAME (the “ERDRP Rules”), and the WIPO Supplemental Rules for Eligibility Requirements Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Supplemental ERDRP Rules”).

In accordance with the ERDRP Rules, the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on October 17, 2006. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was November 16, 2006. The Respondent did not file a Response. The Center notified the Respondent of the default on November 22, 2006.

The Center appointed Lawrence K. Nodine as the sole panelist in this matter on December 15, 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.

The due date for Decision was subsequently extended by the Panel.

The Panel finds that the Complaint was properly notified in accordance with the ERDRP Rules, paragraph 2(a). A copy of the Complaint (without attachments) was sent to the Respondent, via e-mail only, due to incomplete address information listed in the Whois information for the Respondent, making mail or courier delivery not possible.

The Panel agrees with the Center’s assessment concerning the Complaint’s compliance with the formal requirements.

 

4. Factual Background

The Complainant, Softlab GmbH für Systementwicklung und EDV-Anwendung, was founded in 1971 in Munich, Germany as a software and IT services company which now provides IT consultancy and services to corporate clients worldwide. Softlab GmbH has a subsidiary, Softlab Limited, in the United Kingdom, as well as offices in Austria and in Switzerland. Its parent company since 1992 is the car manufacturer BMW AG, the manufacturer of BMW and MINI automobiles.

The earliest trademark registration for SOFTLAB was granted in Germany on June 5, 1981, as Registration No. 1018863. There is also a United States of America trademark registration for SOFTLAB, No. 2905858, issued November 30, 2004.

 

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant submits that the Respondent does not satisfy the Eligibility Requirements of the ERDRP paragraph 4(b).

With respect to ERDRP paragraph 4(b)(i) Complainant alleges that, according to the Whois information, the registrant of the domain name (as an individual) is given as “xxx”. The Respondent’s legal name must therefore be assumed to be “xxx” and not “softlab” as required by paragraph 4(b)(i). Complainant also argues that the website located at “www.softlab.name” indicates that there is a company or business behind the Registered Name which trades under the name Softlab. However, the .name rules require the only individuals register and use .name domains, not businesses, and thus, such a use does not satisfy the .name Registration Restrictions which require that the registrant be an individual and that the Registered Name be a personal name of that individual.

With respect to ERDRP paragraph 4(b)(ii) Complainant alleges that “softlab” is not the name of a fictional character in which the Respondent has trademark or service mark rights.

With respect to ERDRP paragraph 4(b)(iii) Complainant alleges that “SOFTLAB” is not the name by which the Respondent, as an individual, has been commonly known.

B. Respondent

The Respondent did not file a Response.

 

6. Discussion and Findings

The Respondent registered the Domain Name at issue as a Personal Name domain name. The Complainant brought this Complaint under paragraph 4(a)(i) of the ERDRP, on the ground that the Respondent does not satisfy the Eligibility Requirements for a Personal Name domain name registration.

Pursuant to the ERDRP paragraph 4(b), the Complainant must prove that:

(i) the name corresponding to the Registered Name is not the Respondent’s legal name;

(ii) the name corresponding to the Registered Name is not the name of a fictional character in which the Respondent has trademark or service mark rights; and

(iii) the Respondent as an individual has not been commonly known by the name corresponding to the Registered Name.

Respondent’s Legal Name

According to the domain name registrar for the Domain Name at issue, the registrant of the Domain Name is “xxx”. It must be assumed in the absence of any evidence or allegation to the contrary, that this is the legal name of the Respondent. Since “softlab” is not the legal name of the Respondent, the Panel finds that the Complainant has met its burden of proof for the first element under paragraph 4(b)(i) of the ERDRP.

Fictional Character in Which The Respondent Has Trademark or Service Mark Rights

The Complainant has stated that “softlab” is not the name of a fictional character in which the Respondent has trademark or service mark rights. Since the Respondent has not provided any evidence to the contrary, the Panel finds that the Complainant has met its burden of proof for the second element under paragraph4(b)(ii) of the ERDRP.

Name by which the Respondent is Commonly Known

The Complainant asserts that “softlab” is not the name by which the Respondent, as an individual, has been commonly known. In the absence of any evidence from the Respondent to the contrary, the Panel finds that the Complainant has met its burden of proof for the third element under paragraph 4(b)(iii) of the ERDRP.

Complainant’s Eligibility for the Registered Name as a Defensive Registration

The Panel also finds that Complainant has made the required representations and warranties, supported by evidence of German and United States of America trademark registrations, necessary to demonstrate its eligibility for a Phase II Defensive Registration for the challenged domain name.

 

7. Decision

The Panel finds that the Complainant has proven each of the three elements in paragraph 4(b) of the ERDRP in relation to the <softlab.name> domain name. Therefore, in accordance with paragraph 5(f) of the ERDRP and paragraph 15 of the ERDRP Rules, and in accordance with the request of the Complainant contained in the Complaint, the Panel orders that the domain name <softlab.name> be cancelled in the name of Respondent and registered as a Defensive Registration in the name of the Complainant, provided that upon cancellation of the Registered Name the Complainant pays any applicable registration fees and satisfies other applicable Common Defensive Registration Eligibility requirements.

 

 

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