The Complainant is GoCompare.com Limited, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, represented by Bevan Brittan LLP, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The Respondent is PLUTO DOMAIN SERVICES PRIVATE LIMITED, of India.
The disputed domain name <gocomapre.com> is registered with Lead Networks Domains Pvt. Ltd.
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on November 5, 2008. On November 6, 2008, the Center transmitted by email to Lead Networks Domains Pvt. Ltd. a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On November 11, 2008, Lead Networks Domains Pvt. Ltd. transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the disputed domain name which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on November 18, 2008 providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting the Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. The Complainant filed an amended Complaint on November 19, 2008, adding the disclosed registrant of the disputed domain name as a party to the proceedings (the Panel finds, for its part, that the disclosed registrant PLUTO DOMAIN SERVICES PRIVATE LIMITED is the proper Respondent in this case). 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” or “UDRP”), 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 November 25, 2008. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was December 15, 2008. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on December 16, 2008.
The Center appointed Christiane Féral-Schuhl as the sole panelist in this matter on December 29, 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.
The Complainant owns and operates an insurance, financial services, business and consumer utilities aggregation and comparison website at “www.gocompare.com”, which consists of advertising of the goods or services of other vendors, enabling customers to conveniently view and compare the goods or services of those vendors.
The Complainant was incorporated in April 2006 and began trading under the name “Gocompare” in November 2006. The Complainant began advertising its services online in January 2007 and in March 2007 it commenced a high profile advertising campaign.
The Complainant is also the proprietor of several trade marks including:
- United Kingdom (“UK”) trade mark number 2455723C, filed on May 16, 2007 for the mark GOCOMPARE.CO.UK for services in classes 35 and 36;
- UK trade mark number 2455723D, filed on May 16, 2007 for the mark GOCOMPARE, for services in classes 35 and 36;
- UK trade mark number 2455723B, filed on May 16, 2007, for the mark GO COMPARE, for services in classes 35 and 36;
- UK trade mark number 2435021, filed on October 10, 2006, for the mark GOCOMPARE.COM, for services in classes 35 and 36;
- Community Trade Mark number 005368402, filed on October 9, 2006, for the mark GOCOMPARE.COM, for services in classes 35 and 36.
According to the WhoIs database of the registrar, the disputed domain name was registered on May 7, 2007.
The disputed domain name currently resolves to a website featuring pay-per-click links offering, amongst other things, insurance services. The links include links to a website owned and operated by a competitor of the Complainant.
Despite various correspondences, the Respondent has failed to reply to any of the Complainant's solicitor's invitations to transfer the disputed domain name.
The Complainant first asserts that further to its high profile television advertising campaign, the word mark GOCOMPARE has gained notoriety and become a renowned trademark in the field of business and consumer aggregation and comparison services, insurance services and financial services.
The Complainant contends that:
1. For the disputed domain name <gocomapre.com>, the Complainant contends that the Respondent had intentionally used a spelling variation of the word mark GOCOMPARE, engaging in the rising practise of typosquatting, with the objective to take advantage of internet users mistyping the Complainant's mark GOCOMPARE when trying to access the Complainant's official websites, in order to attract them to its own website.
2. The Respondent has failed to respond to the Complaint and therefore did not submit any evidence demonstrating a legitimate use of the disputed domain name.
3. Registering a domain name with a spelling variation as it is the case with the disputed domain name is known as typosquatting and indicates the Respondent's bad faith so as to attract confused Internet users ignoring the correct spelling of the Complainant's mark to its unrelated commercial websites.
4. The Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name, nor is he making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of it. The Complainant has not licensed, nor is it any way associated with, the Respondent.
In accordance with paragraph 4(b)(i) of the Policy, the Complainant requests the Panel appointed in this administrative proceeding to issue a decision that the disputed domain name be transferred to the Complainant.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's contentions.
In order to obtain a transfer of the disputed domain name, a complainant must demonstrate, in accordance with the Policy, paragraph 4(a), that:
(i) The registered domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights;
(ii) The respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name; and
(iii) The respondent has registered and used the domain name in bad faith.
The Complainant is the owner of the mark GOCOMPARE, which has been used by the Complainant since November 2006. The Complainant has provided various evidence of an extensive advertising campaign.
Having noted the notoriety status of the GOCOMPARE mark, the Panel finds that the only difference between the disputed domain name <gocomapre.com> and the Complainant's trademark GOCOMPARE is that the sixth and seventh letters are inversed. Therefore, the disputed domain name is not identical to the Complainant's trademark GOCOMPARE.
However, given the similar visual impression of “gocompare” and “gocomapre”, the Panel finds that such alteration in the domain name's spelling (switching letters) is not sufficient to set aside the similarity between the domain name <gocomapre.com> and Complainant's trademark GOCOMPARE, and cannot therefore significantly differentiate it from the Complainant's trademark GOCOMPARE, which remains very close visually to the disputed domain name <gocomapre.com>.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the domain name <gocomapre.com> is indeed confusingly similar to the Complainant's word mark GOCOMPARE in accordance with paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
The Respondent has failed to respond to the Complaint, and therefore did not submit any evidence demonstrating a legitimate use of the disputed domain name.
Based on the submissions made by the Complainant, the Panel notes that the Respondent is not related to the Complainant's business and holds neither title nor any sort of permission or authorization from the Complainant to use a visually and phonetically similar domain name. The Panel notes also that the Respondent is using the disputed domain name to provide links to the products or services of the Complainant's competitors.
In view of the above findings, it appears that the Respondent's only reason in registering and using the disputed domain name is to benefit from the reputation of the renowned trademark GOCOMPARE and illegitimately trade on its fame for commercial gain and profit.
In light of the above, the Panel considers that none of the circumstances required under paragraph 4(c) of the Policy exist, and concludes that the Respondent had no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
Based on the evidence submitted in this case, the Panel is of the opinion that the Respondent has registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith.
The Respondent was aware, at the time of registration of the disputed domain name, of the rights held by the Complainant on the GOCOMPARE trademark. Indeed, at the time of the registration of the disputed name, the name GOCOMPARE was well known in the UK and elsewhere, including to those in the wider English speaking world with access to the internet, by virtue of the Complainant's extensive online advertising campaigns.
The only possible reason for the Respondent's registration of the domain name <gocomapre.com> is to benefit from the reputation and goodwill in the GOCOMPARE name and to divert Internet traffic to its own website that would otherwise be directed to the Complainant's website.
The Panel further finds that the Respondent has intentionally misspelled the Complainant's trademark in order to attract the flow of Internet users who have mistyped the Complainant's URL address, enabling the Respondent to increase the traffic to its website at “www.gocomapre.com” and derive more revenues as a result. Such practice, known as typosquatting, has been clearly condemned in various UDRP decisions. See Nasdaq Stock Market, Inc. v. Nsdaq.com, Nasdq.com and Nasaq.com, WIPO Case No. D2001-1492, where the only difference in each of the disputed domain names was the lack of one letter. See also VeriSign, Inc. v.Onlinemalls, WIPO Case No. D2000-1446, which stated “Respondent appears to have employed minor misspellings of complainant's mark to take bad faith advantage of spelling errors made by Internet users while attempting to enter complainant's Internet address on their web browsers. […] The Panel determines that the disputed domain names <verysign.com> and <verasign.com> are confusingly similar to ‘VERISIGN' in the sense of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy”. Last, see Volvo Trademark Holding AB v. Unasi, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2005-0556; wherein the respondent appeared to have employed minor misspellings of the complainant's mark to take bad faith advantage of spelling errors made by Internet users while attempting to enter the complainant's Internet address on their web browsers. The panel determined that the disputed domain names <vlovo.com>, <volvoautomobile.com>, <volvogroup.com> and <volvomasters.com> were confusingly similar to VOLVO in the sense of paragraphs 4 of the Policy and 15 of the Rules.
These circumstances justify the conclusion that both the registration and the use of the disputed domain name have been made in bad faith.
The Panel, therefore, concludes that there is sufficient evidence that Respondent's registration and use of the domain name have been made in bad faith, fulfilling the requirements set out by paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.
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 <gocomapre.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Dated: January 12, 2009