WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center



Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. v. Domaincar

Case No. D2006-0136


1. The Parties

The Complainant is Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., New York, United States of America, represented by Arnold & Porter, United States of America.

The Respondent is Domaincar, Panama, Panama.


2. The Domain Names and Registrar

The disputed domain names;


are registered with DSTR Acquisition VII, LLC d/b/a Dotregistrar.com.


3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on January 31, 2006. On February 2, 2006, the Center transmitted by email to DSTR Acquisition VII, LLC d/b/a Dotregistrar.com a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain names at issue. On February 4, 2006, DSTR Acquisition VII, LLC d/b/a Dotregistrar.com transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details for the administrative, billing, and technical contact.

In response to a notification by the Center that the Complaint was administratively deficient, the Complainant filed an amendment to the Complaint on February 16, 2006.

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”), 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 March 2, 2006. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was March 22, 2006. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on March 24, 2006.

The Center appointed Mr. Daniel Peña as the Sole Panelist in this matter on April 7, 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, paragraph 7.


4. Factual Background

The Complainant is a hotel and leisure company. Through some of its affiliates, the Complainant owns the trademarks Sheraton, Westin, St Regis and Four Points. These marks are registered and used to distinguish hotels and leisure related goods and services.

The Complainant invests large sums of money to promote and develop its marks through television, print media and the Internet. An awards program for its guests, for example, includes over 22 million consumer members. With 145,000 employees and a property portfolio of 850 properties in more than 95 countries, the Complainant claims to be among the leading and most successful hotel and resort operators.

The Complainant has registered and currently uses several domain names. Each of these websites enable computer users to access information regarding its hotels and leisure related services.

The domain names were registered between December 2004 and May 2005.

The Respondent’s web pages advertise links to hotel and leisure services which compete with the Complainant’s locations.


5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) has granted federal trademark registrations to the Complainant and its affiliates as follows:


International Class



Registration Date




May 19, 1959




July 27, 1993

SHERATON (design)



July 15, 1986

SHERATON (design)



July 15, 1986




March 6, 1973




March 15, 1995




February 12, 1985




February 10, 1987




September 29, 1992




June 29, 1999




September 24, 1996



Serial No 78/600,167

Status: Published




June 6, 1995




October 12, 2004




September 6, 2005

The Complainant considers the disputed domain names are confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademarks, as listed above. In addition to incorporating the Complainant’s trademarks into the disputed domain names, the Respondent also registered as domain names misspellings of these trademarks.

The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names. The Respondent has no connection or affiliation with the Complainant.

The Complainant contends that the Respondent is a serial cybersquatter – specifically a typosquatter– who has registered over one thousand domain names, including a number of domain names incorporating third parties’ trademarks.

B. Respondent

Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.


6. Discussion and Findings

This Panel is satisfied that the Center took all steps necessary to notify Respondent of the filing of the Complaint and initiation of these proceedings, and that the failure of the Respondent to furnish a Response to the Complaint is not due to any omission by the Center.

According to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy the Complainant must prove each of the following:

(i) That the domain name registered by the Respondent is identical or confusingly similar to the trademarks or service marks in which the Complainant has rights; and

(ii) That the Respondent has no rights or no legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and

(iii) That the domain name has been registered and is used in bad faith.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Complainant contends that the domain names currently used by the Respondent are confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademarks.

The Panel finds that the Complainant has provided proof of its rights to the trademarks listed above under section 5A.

The Panel notes that many of the domain names registered by Respondent simply add a city name or a generic word to Complainant’s famous trademarks. The additional names of cities in the domain names are not enough to avoid the likelihood of confusion.

In this case, the geographical descriptors added to the domain names do not simply fail to avoid a likehood of confusion but they actually increase it, because they relate directly to places where the Complainant has developed or might develop its core business through hotels and other leisure services.

Some of the disputed domain names are nearly identical to Complainant’s trademarks but a letter has been changed, added or deleted in an effort to mislead consumers who have made a typographical error in their browser while typing the domain name which they think will lead to the Complainant’s website. The omission , addition, inversion or substitution of a letter is commonly known as typosquatting. The latter reinforces similarity between the disputed domain names and the trademarks of the Complainant pursuant to Policy, paragraph 4(a)(i).

The Panel finds that the Complainant has established the first element of the Policy.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Complainant has also established that the Respondent lacks any rights or legitimate interests in the domain names. Respondent has no connection or affiliation with the Complainant and has not received any license or consent, express or implied, to use the Complainant’s marks in a domain name or in any other manner. Taking into account the Respondent’s use of the confusingly similar domain names in diverting Internet users from Complainant’s services to the Respondent’s websites for its own financial gain, the Respondent’s prior involvement in UDRP proceedings as a respondent as explained below, and in the presence of no evidence to the contrary, the Panel concludes that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests to the domain names.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The Complainant has emphasized that it is inconceivable that the Respondent was unaware of the Complainant’s rights in the trademarks when the Respondent registered over thirty domain names that incorporate confusingly similar versions of the Complainant’s trademarks. Due to the good will and considerable investment in advertising related to the Complainant’s trademarks, this Panel agrees with the foregoing argument.

As demonstrated, the Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, and indeed has attracted for commercial gain, Internet users to its websites by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s marks as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of Respondent’s website or location or of a product or service on Respondent’s website or location, by taking advantage of misspellings or typing errors of Internet users while they search for a web page.

Moreover, the Complainant has established that the Respondent is a serial cybersquatter which has registered a number of domain names including domain names incorporating third parties’ trademarks for use in connection with websites that advertise goods competing with the goods and services of such trademark owners. These circumstances further indicate that Respondent has registered the disputed domain names in bad faith within the meaning of Paragraph 4(b)(ii) of the Policy.

The Complainant has established that the disputed domain names have been registered and are being used in bad faith. The third requirement of the Policy has therefore been fulfilled.


7. Decision

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 names, <atlantasheraton.com>, <bangkoksheraton.com>, <bernsheraton.com>, <buenosairessheraton.com>, <calgarysheraton.com>, <chicagosheraton.com>, <edinburghsheraton.com>, <fourpointssheratonhotels.com>, <hotelessheraton.com>, <manhattansheraton.com>, <neworleanssheraton.com>, <sheratoh.com>, <sheratojn.com>, <sheratonflorence.com>, <sheratonhotes.com>, <sheratonhotesl.com> <sheratonhotls.com>, <sheratonj.com>, <sheratonreservations.com> <sheratonsantiago.com>, <sheratonsydney.com>, <sheratonzurich.com> <sheraton4point.com>, <westinhouston.com>, <westinsavana.com>, <westinsuites.com>, <wwwfourpoints.com>, <wwwstregis.com>,be transferred to the Complainant.

Daniel Peña
Sole Panelist

Dated: April 17, 2006