WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Lonely Planet Publications Pty Ltd. v. Telecom Tech Corp., Administrator Administrator
Case No. D2008-1016
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Lonely Planet Publications Pty Ltd., Footscray, Victoria, Australia, represented by Jürgen Bebber, Australia.
The Respondent is Telecom Tech Corp., Administrator Administrator, Panama City, Panama.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <hotelslonelyplanet.com> is registered with Name.net LLC.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on July 4, 2008. On July 7, 2008, the Center transmitted by email to Name.net LLC a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain name at issue. On July 7, 2008, Name.net LLC transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details. The Center verified that 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 July 18, 2008. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was August 7, 2008. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on August 8, 2008.
The Center appointed Hoda T. Barakat as the sole panelist in this matter on August 20, 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 has registered its trade mark in a number of countries in various classes including but not limited to services covering travel advisory and accommodation. The Complainant has registered at least 60 domain names including the words “Lonely Planet” in various countries with various ccTLDs.
The Complainant operates a hotels and hostels booking service at “http://hotels.lonelyplanet.com/”.
The Respondent’s site contains links to the Complainant’s sites as sponsored links without the Complainant’s permission or approval.
The Respondent has failed to respond to the Complainant’s communication of March 11, 2008 and to WIPO’s July 18, 2008 notification of this UDRP Complaint.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant has alleged that the “Lonely Planet” name and logo was first used by the Complainant in 1973 in connection with their first travel related publication and now has approximately 444 titles including the mark LONELY PLANET. The Complainant has a number of websites in various languages and at least 60 domain names including the words “Lonely Planet” with various ccTLDs.
This is all in addition to the many trade mark registrations worldwide in several classes of goods and services including but not limited to travel and housing services.
The Complainant contends that the mark LONELY PLANET is well known around the globe for any travel related information and services.
The Complainant further contends that the link to its site on the website at issue is not authorized or approved.
As regards the three UDRP criteria to be met for this complaint, the Complainant has alleged that the following three criteria are all met:
- The domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trade mark and the fact that it incorporates the entire trade mark of the Complainant with a descriptive word “hotel” does not make the domain name distinctive.
- The Complainant contends that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interest in the domain name as the Respondent’s name Telecom Tech Corp is in no way connected to the domain name nor has the Respondent ever been known by the disputed domain name and it is not making a legitimate non-commercial or fair use of the domain but instead is deriving commercial benefit from diverting users from the Complainant’s site claiming that this is a sponsored site.
- The Complainant contends that bad faith can be inferred from the use of the use of a descriptive element with the Complainant’s well known trade mark in addition to the fact that the Respondent has unauthorized links to its site creating confusion. Also, the Complainant claims that the fact that there are two previous findings against the Respondent in similar WIPO UDRP proceedings and that they have not responded to attempts to amicably settle this dispute lead to further proof of bad faith.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The disputed domain name is found to be confusingly similar to the registered trade marks of the Complainant in that the addition of the generic word “hotel” for hotel or travel related services does not sufficiently distinguish the domain name from the Complainant’s marks. This is sufficiently acknowledged in previous WIPO UDRP decisions and in established trade mark concepts of confusing similarity. This is further to the fact that the Complainant already runs a page “hotels.lonelyplanet.com” which is near identical to the domain name at issue.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
In the absence of any input or reply from the Respondent and with information to hand (the site itself, the name of the Respondent, etc.), it is difficult to find any right or legitimate interest of the Respondent to the domain name. The Respondent’s name does not have any apparent connection to the name of the domain name and there is nothing to suggest any legitimate link thereto. The fact that the site seems to be a linking site claiming or suggesting sponsorship (particularly to the Complainant’s site) reinforces this Panelist’s belief that the Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the domain name.
Further, that the lack of response by the Respondent suggests no real interest in this domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Having reviewed previous UDRP decisions including those referred to by the Complainant; namely:
- Zwack Unicum Rt. v. Erica J. Duna, WIPO Case No. D2000-0037,
- Debevoise & Plimpton LLP v. Marketing Total S.A., WIPO Case No. D2007-0451,
- RRI Financial, Inc., v. Ray Chen, WIPO Case No. D2001-1242.
This Panelist finds that the Respondent did likely register and use this domain name in bad faith as:
- The Complainant’s mark is well known and the Respondent’s use of a descriptive word with a well known mark is a poor attempt at usurping its rights.
- The Respondent does apparently attempt to deceive users that there is a connection or at least an implicit authorization from the Complainant to use their link by using the Complainant’s link on the disputed domain name.
- The Respondent has failed to dispel Complainant’s case that this mode of behavior of registration of third party marks is common practice to it.
- Failure to respond to the Complainant’s communication and to WIPO’s notification lead this Panelist to believe that the Respondent is hoping to avoid any recourse and that it likely has no bona fide interest in the domain name at issue.
For all of the above reasons, the Panel finds that Complainant has established the third element of the Policy.
For all the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Sole Panelist orders that the domain name <hotelslonelyplanet.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Hoda T. Barakat
Dated: August 31, 2008