The Complainant is Betsson Malta Limited of Malta, represented by WH Law, Malta.
The Respondent is Panfilo Greghini of Italy.
The disputed domain name <casinoeurobonus.com> is registered with GoDaddy.com, Inc.
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on February 19, 2009. On February 20, 2009, the Center transmitted by email to GoDaddy.com, Inc. a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On February 21, 2009, GoDaddy.com, Inc. 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 February 27, 2009, 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 amendment to the Complaint on February 27, 2009. 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” 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 March 5, 2009. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was March 25, 2009. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on March 26, 2009.
The Center appointed Dennis A. Foster as the sole panelist in this matter on April 2, 2009. 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 is a European company that has operated under the trade name, “Casinoeuro,” for more than a decade. It has a valid Community Trade Mark registration for the mark, CASINOEURO (i.e., CTM 004149993 in classifications regarding computer software, telecommunication services, entertainment services, etc.).
The disputed domain name is owned by the Respondent, and the record of registration was created on August 1, 2007. The Respondent uses the name for a web site that offers services that compete directly with those offered by the Complainant.
- The Complainant has used the trade name “Casinoeuro” since at least 1997 and obtained a European Union trademark registration for the mark, CASINOEURO, in 2004.
- The disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant's trademark, as the Respondent is attempting to mislead persons looking for information regarding the Complainant's activities.
- The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Respondent has no connection with the Complainant, and has not been granted any rights to use the Complainant's trademark. The Respondent has not been known as the disputed domain name. The Respondent has been using the domain name in question to offer Internet users services that are in competition with services offered by the Complainant.
- The disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith. The Respondent registered the name without having any rights in the mark, CASINOEURO. Such registration was done with the intent to prevent the Complainant from reflecting its mark in a corresponding domain name. Also, the Respondent intended to disrupt the Complainant's business. Finally, the Respondent intentionally attempted to attract for commercial gain Internet users to Respondent's web site by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant's services.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's contentions.
Paragraphs 4(a)(i) (iii) of the Policy direct the Panel to find for the Complainant in these proceedings and order a transfer of the disputed domain name, <casinoeurobonus.com>, if the Complainant can prove that:
- the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and
- the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and
- the disputed domain name is registered and being used by the Respondent in bad faith.
As the Respondent has failed to submit a response, the Panel shall accept as true the contentions submitted by the Complainant that are not contradicted otherwise in the record or clearly contrary to the Panel's prior experience. See DESOTEC N.V. v. JACOBI CARBONS AB, WIPO Case No. D2000-1398 (“Respondent has not reacted to the Complaint within the time period set by the WIPO Center and consequently is in default. Under these circumstances, all allegations contained in the Complaint are deemed to be correct to the extent not contradicted by any evidence or documents on file.”); and David G. Cook v. This Domain is For Sale, NAF Case No. FA94957 (“The Respondent's failure to dispute the allegations of the Complainant permits the inference that the Complainant's allegations are true.”).
Given the Complainant's presentation of uncontested evidence of its valid European Union trademark registration for the mark, CASINOEURO, the Panel concludes that the Complainant has rights in that mark sufficient to meet the requirements of Policy paragraph 4(a)(i). See Tomy Company, Ltd. v. Oleg Makov, NAF Case No. FA739413 (“Complainant has established rights in the MICROIDS mark through registration of the mark with the European Union trademark authority.”); and Janus International Holding Co. v. Rademacher, WIPO Case No. D2002-0201.
The disputed domain name, <casinoeurobonus.com>, incorporates the Complainant's full mark and adds to it the common English language word “bonus” along with an obligatory gTLD. Numerous prior UDRP panels have ruled that the mere addition of a common or generic word to a trademark does not eliminate the confusing similarity between the domain name in dispute and that trademark. This proposition is particularly true if the additional word relates directly to the subject matter of the trademark. Since a “bonus” is precisely the kind of descriptive word one would expect in conjunction with operating a casino, the addition of that word to the Complainant's mark only reinforces the confusion inherent in this case. Consequently, the Panel decides that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant's trademark. See, for example, The Gillette Company v. RFK Associates, NAF Case No. FA492867 (“Respondent's <duracellbatteries.com> is confusingly similar to Complainant's DURACELL mark pursuant to the Policy, Paragraph 4(a)(i), as the additions of the term “batteries,” which describes Complainant's products, and the generic top-level domain “.com” are insufficient to distinguish Respondent's domain name from Complainant's mark.”); and Sony Kabushiki Kaisha (also trading as Sony Corporation) v. Inja, Kil, WIPO Case No. D2000-1409.
As a result, the Panel finds that the Complainant has succeeded in proving that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark in which the Complainant has rights.
Having asserted credibly that the Respondent is neither affiliated with it nor otherwise authorized to use its trademark, the Complainant has sustained a prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Under the Policy, as interpreted by countless prior panels, the Respondent is thus tasked with coming forward with compelling evidence that it does enjoy such rights or legitimate interests. See Hanna-Barbera Productions, Inc. v. Entertainment Commentaries, NAF Case No. FA741828 (“Before shifting the burden to Respondent, Complainant must first make a prima facie case that Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name under Policy [paragraph] 4(a)(ii).”); and Clerical Medical Investment Group Limited v. Clericalmedical.com (Clerical & Medical Services Agency), WIPO Case No. D2000-1228.
Consulting paragraph 4(c) of the Policy for a rationale to support the Respondent on this issue in the absence of a formal Response in these proceedings the Panel finds none applicable to rebut said prima facie case. The Respondent's name, Panfilo Greghini, bears no resemblance whatsoever to <casinoeurobonus.com>, so the Panel discounts easily the applicability of paragraph 4(c)(ii), which requires that the Respondent be commonly known as the disputed domain name. Because the Panel is bound to accept the Complainant's contention that the Respondent is using the disputed domain name to offer services that compete directly with those offered by the Complainant (i.e., use for commercial gain instead of “noncommercial or fair use”), the Panel must also reject application of paragraph 4(c)(iii) as a basis for the Respondent's rights or legitimate interests. Finally, the Panel finds itself in complete agreement with innumerable prior Policy panels that have held similar use of disputed domain names to be less than the “bona fide offering of goods or services” necessary for applicability of paragraph 4(c)(i). See The Coryn Group, Inc., and AM Resorts, LLC v. Media Insight, NAF Case No. FA198959 (“Respondent uses the names to divert Internet users to its website that offers competing services. Thus, Respondent is not providing a bona fide offering of goods or services, or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use, within the meaning of Policy [paragraphs] 4(c)(i) & (iii).”); and Gardens Alive, Inc. v. D&S Linx, NAF Case No. FA203126.
As reasoned above, the Panel rules that the Complainant has established that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
Among its various contentions that the Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith, the Complainant cites the applicability of paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy to the Respondent's actions. That paragraph requires a finding by the Panel of bad faith if it determines that “by using the domain name, [the Respondent has] intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to [its] web site 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 [the Respondent's] web site or location or of a product or service on [its] web site or location.”
As contended by the Complainant and accepted by the Panel, the Respondent is using the disputed domain name for a website designed to sell services competing with those of the Complainant. The Panel must conclude that the Respondent is doing so with the full knowledge and intent that Internet users will likely confuse that domain name with the Complainant's trademark and assume incorrectly that some sort of affiliation or endorsement exists between the two. Thus, the Panel finds that the Respondent's actions and intentions with respect to the disputed domain name fit squarely within the purview of paragraph 4(b)(iv). See H-D Michigan, Inc. v. TT&R Inc. a/k/a L. Turner a/k/a Len Turner a/k/a Leonard John Turner, NAF Case No. FA126650 (“In redirecting its <harleydavidsonsrus.com> domain name to its motorcycle sales website at <motorcycles-r-us.com>, Respondent used Complainant's mark to attract motorcycle buyers to its own website and created a strong likelihood of confusion as to whether Respondent had any affiliation with Complainant. These actions violate Policy [paragraph] 4(b)(iv).”); and Abbott Laboratories v. United Worldwide Express Co., Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2004-0088.
Therefore, the Panel determines that the Complainant has shown that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
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, <casinoeurobonus.com>, be transferred to the Complainant.
Dennis A. Foster
Dated: April 16, 2009