WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company v. Domain Administration Limited, c/o David Halstead
Case No. D2006-1490
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, Columbus, Ohio, United States of America, represented by Frost Brown Todd LLC United States of America.
The Respondent is Domain Administration Limited, c/o David Halstead, Auckland, New Zealand.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <nationwid.com> is registered with eNom.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on November 21, 2006. On November 23, 2006, the Center transmitted by email to eNom a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain name at issue. On November 28, 2006, eNom 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 December 13, 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 December 20, 2006. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was January 9, 2007. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on January 10, 2007.
The Center appointed Dawn Osborne as the sole panelist in this matter on January 24, 2007. 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 mutual insurance company with its principal place of business in Ohio with federally registered US trademarks for NATIONWIDE for insurance and financial services. It has an official website at “www.nationwide.com”. Recently the Complainant became aware that the Respondent had registered the Domain Name. The Domain Name is being pointed to a directory site for financial and insurance services.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant’s contentions can be summarized as follows:
The Complainant has offered financial and insurance services throughout the United States for 50 years and owns federally registered US trademarks for the mark NATIONWIDE. Since 1998 the Complainant has spent over $240 million on advertising its services under the NATIONWIDE mark. Since 1994 the Complainant has owned and used “www.nationwide.com” and customers can manage their accounts through the site as well as get information about the Complainant.
Recently the Complainant became aware that the Respondent had registered the Domain Name. The Complainant sent a letter before action and follow up letter to the Respondent but received no response.
The website connected to the Domain Name contains links related to financial and insurance services competitive to the Complainant’s services. The registrant makes money every time a lost Internet user follows one of those links. “Nationwid” is not a word and it makes no sense to register a domain devoted to financial and insurance services with this typographical error unless the intention is to benefit from misdirected traffic intended for the Complainant.
The Respondent offers lost browsers a search engine. Browsers who enter “Nationwide Mutual insurance Company” into that engine, however, must first sift through links to three other competing insurance companies before seeing a link to the Complainant.
The content of the website connected to the Domain name resides on a server located at “www.fastpark.net” which resides on “www.namedrive.com”. The NameDrive service customizes web pages to include special sponsored advertising links to products relevant to the domain and to competing products and services on sites the owners of which are willing to pay for additional traffic. This business model is bad faith registration and use. This is using a domain name to intentionally attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to a website by creating confusion with a Complainant’s mark and therefore bad faith under Paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.
The Respondent clearly registered the Domain Name to typosquat upon the Nationwide marks and “www.nationwide.com” to catch users leaving off the “e” from NATIONWIDE.
The Respondent has no legitimate interest in the Domain Name. The Respondent is not licensed by the Complainant, its name does not include “nationwide” and it has no connection with financial and insurance products other than to profit from misdirecting those looking for information on the Complainant. This is not use of the Domain Name in connection with a bona fide offering of services. The Domain was registered and is being used in bad faith with a clear intent to profit from confusion. That the Respondent tailored the content of its website to relate to the Complainant’s business and directed all browsers to competitors of the Complainant demonstrates Respondent’s awareness of the Complainant’s prior rights.
The Respondent has been found to have acted in bad faith in three prior cases of domain name proceedings under the Policy. (see Sports Holdings Inc. v. Domain Administration Limited c/o David halsteadd, WIPO Case No. D2006-1147; American Diabetes Association v. Domain Adminstration Limited, WIPO Case No. D2006-0921; and Bunn-O-MaticCorporation v. Domain Adminstration Limited c/o David Halstead, NAF Case No. 785539).
The Respondent has not submitted a formal response and is in default.
6. Discussion and Findings
According to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainant must prove that:
(i) The Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and
(ii) The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
(iii) The Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or confusing similarity
The Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s NATIONWIDE trademark consisting of a misspelling of the mark such that the last “e” is missing such as might happen if an Internet user mistyped the Complainant’s Internet address.
B. Rights or legitimate interest of the Respondent
The Panelist accepts the Complainant’s contentions on legitimate interest. The Respondent appears to have no right or legitimate interest in the Domain Name and is in default.
C. Bad faith
Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy sets out four non exclusive criteria which shall be evidence of the registration and use of a domain name in bad faith including:
(i) by using the domain name, the Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of its website or location or of a product or service on its website or location.
The Respondent appears to have deliberately chosen a misspelling of the Complainant’s domain name so that people misspelling the Complainant’s website address will be called to the Respondent’s website and may click on one of the links to competing insurance and financial services under the impression they would be connected to the Complainant. The Panel notes that several of the links are headed “Nationwide Insurance” or “Nationwide Auto Insurance” and users clicking quickly to get to the Complainant may click on these, but then be taken to sites unconnected with the Complainant. Accordingly, it is clear that the Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract for commercial gain Internet users to its website or other on-line location, by creating confusion as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of its products or services. The Panel, therefore, finds that bad faith has been demonstrated under Paragraphs 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.
In light of the foregoing the Panel decides that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark NATIONWIDE, the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name, and the Domain Name was registered and used in bad faith.
Accordingly, it is ordered that the Domain Name <nationwid.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Dated: February 7, 2007