WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
The British Broadcasting Corporation v. NA
Case No. D2008-0264
1. The Parties
The Complainant is The British Broadcasting Corporation, London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, represented internally.
The Respondent has been identified by the relevant registrar as “NA”, with a first name of “The” and a last name of “data in Bulkregister’s .com’s WHOIS database is p” with an address line 1 of “Bulkregister.com for information –purposes only, that is, to” and line 2 of “obtaining information about or related to a domain name regi” in the city of “does not guarantee its ac”, in the country of “ou”. Obviously, the identity of the actual registrant has been concealed, but the registrant has, by contrast, provided comprehensible administrative and technical contact details with an address of Post Box 97, Moscow, 111538 in the Russian Federation, which is for the purposes of these proceedings taken to be the registrant’s address.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <bbcworldnews.com> is registered with eNom, Inc.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on February 21, 2008. On February 22, 2008, the Center transmitted by email to eNom a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain name at issue. On February 22, 2008, eNom transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondent as described above is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details also referred to above. In response to a notification by the Center that the Complaint was administratively deficient, the Complainant filed an amended Complaint on February 28, 2008. The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amended 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 5, 2008. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was March 25, 2008. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on March 26, 2008.
The Center appointed William P. Knight as the sole panelist in this matter on April 11, 2008. 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 British public broadcaster with a worldwide newsgathering and distribution business, which first commenced operations in the 1920s. In addition to its numerous other news distribution offerings under its “BBC” name in various countries, the Complainant’s “BBC World Service” is a weekly broadcast received in almost every corner of the world where a television or a radio may be found or the Internet accessed, whether English-speaking or not. The Complainant has numerous registered trademarks in many countries which include the letters “BBC”.
The subject domain name was registered on May 1, 2001 in circumstances in which the registrant’s real identity was either concealed or simply not provided. The disputed domain name is presently used solely to redirect Internet users to another URL, being presented en route with a pop-up box offering a bogus benefit, selecting either option on which redirects the user to pages listing other websites with no connection to the Complainant.
5. Parties’ Contentions
In accordance with paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainant asserts, inter alia, as follows:
(i) that the subject domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s name, the names it uses for its services such as the “BBC World Service” and its registered trademarks; and
(ii) that whoever it was that registered the subject domain name has neither conceivable rights nor any legitimate interests in respect of it; and
(iii) that the subject domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Complainant’s assertions in respect of (i) and (ii) are supported, in short, by the obvious similarity between the dominant element in the subject domain name “BBC”, with addition of “world service”, noting that the Complainant has offered and continues to offer many services around the world combining the letters “BBC” with the words “world” and “news”, in particular one of its most famous worldwide services, the “BBC World Service”. The Complainant asserts that it has given no permission to whomever it was that registered the subject domain name to register or use it. The only apparent purpose and use of the subject domain name is to redirect Internet users to unrelated suppliers of various products and services. The Complainant provides evidence that the subject domain name is being used to provide links to other websites, using the particularly odious device of a false popup.
In support of (iii), the Complainant asserts that registration and use in bad faith is evidenced by the fact that the subject domain name was registered well after the Complainant had acquired its worldwide reputation and that the registrant has since made no legitimate use of the subject domain name.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
The subject domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights.
It is clear that the subject domain name is identical to the “BBC World Service” name belonging to the Complainant, as well as being substantially identical or confusingly similar to the name and principal trademarks of the Complainant.
The respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the subject domain name.
The Complainant’s name and its “BBC World Service” are well known throughout the world. Whoever controls the subject domain name was entitled, and had every opportunity, to demonstrate some right or legitimate interest with respect to the subject domain name. No such explanation has been provided.
No apparent effort has been made to use the subject domain name for any legitimate purpose. The subject domain name is used simply to attract those who might be interested in the Complainant’s “BBC World Service”, for one reason or another, in order to divert them to other products and suppliers which, it may be assumed, have pay-per-click arrangements by which whomever it is that controls the subject domain name will derive income.
The Panel, therefore, has no hesitation in concluding that whomever it was that registered the subject domain name does not have, and never had, any rights or legitimate interests in respect of the subject domain name.
The subject domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
This is a case in which:
(a) the subject domain name was registered in circumstances where the registrant must have been perfectly aware of the pre-existing rights of the Complainant; and
(b) there is virtually no commercial use which could be made of the subject domain name which would not infringe the legal rights of the Complainant and be misleading and deceptive upon the public; and
(c) if there is or was any intention to make some legitimate use of the subject domain name, whoever controls it has had ample opportunity either to do so or otherwise to explain its, his or her conduct, but has done neither; and
(d) the abusive nature of the current use of the subject domain name is plain from the evidence presented, referred to above.
The Panel concludes that the subject domain name was registered and is being used on bad faith.
Both conclusions under this requirement are further supported also by the manner of registration of the subject domain name, by which the registrant’s name was deliberately concealed.
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 name, <bbcworldnews.com>, be transferred to the Complainant.
It is also noted that the registration of the subject domain name expires and is subject to renewal on May 1, 2008. It is noted that, pursuant to paragraph 126.96.36.199 of the ICANN Expired Domain Name Policy, the registrar of the subject domain name must maintain the subject domain name and permit the Complainant in this instance the option to renew or restore the subject domain name under the same commercial terms as the present registrant.
The Panel takes this opportunity to further comment that, whilst a registrar cannot itself be blamed for allowing a registration in circumstances where a privacy or hosting service may be in use to conceal the identity of the registrant, there is no excuse for such a service to facilitate, whether intentionally or by virtue of a lack of care, such an abusive registration as this, that so obviously fails to disclose the identity of the beneficial or underlying registrant.
William P. Knight
Dated: April 30, 2008