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Houle v. Jean-Pierre Ranger International, Inc. , British Columbia International Commercial Arbitration Centre, CIRA Dispute No. 00010 - by Eric Macramalla

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Domain Name: quebecreservation.ca
OutCome: Transfer Granted
Response Filed: No
Panellist: René Lagacé

The Complainant was in the tourism business and was the owner of the common law mark QUEBEC RESERVATION and the corresponding trade name.

The Registrant did not file a Response to the Complaint, and accordingly the Complainant elected as per Rule 6(5) of the CIRA Domain Name Dispute Resolution Rules to reduce the three member Panel to a single member Panel.

Under the CIRA Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy ("CDRP"), Complainants must establish three elements. Firstly, the disputed domain name must be confusingly similar to a mark in which the Complainant had, and continues to have, rights. Secondly, the domain name must have been registered in bad faith. Finally, the Registrant must have no legitimate interest in the domain name.

Given the similarities between the domain name and the Complainant's common law mark, the Panel held that confusion had been established.

The Panel held that the domain name was registered in bad faith, as the Registrant had registered the domain name to disrupt its competitor. In particular, the domain name quebecreservation.ca redirected traffic to a website offering tourist bookings and accommodation, catering, and other services, which constituted an overlap with the Complainant's services.

The Panel held that the Registrant did not have a legitimate interest in the domain name, particularly given that the domain name was only used to redirect traffic to its own website.

Accordingly, the Panel ordered the domain name transferred to the Complainant.

This decision is somewhat interesting given that the Panel determined that the Complainant had rights in the mark QUEBEC RESERVATION based solely on the fact that the words had been used by the Complainant prior to the subject domain name registration. The Panel however, did not direct its analysis to whether the mark, which was not registered as a trade-mark, was sufficiently distinctive to properly support a claim under the CDRP.

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