WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center


Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., The Sheraton LLC, Sheraton International, Inc. v. Sean Gerrity

Case No. D2009-0277

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., The Sheraton LLC, Sheraton International, Inc of New York, United States of America, represented by Fross Zelnick Lehrman & Zissu, PC of United States of America.

The Respondent is Sean Gerrity of Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

2. The Domain Names and Registrars

The disputed domain names <sheratondeirahotelandtowers.com> and <sheratonjumeirahbeachresort.com> (“Domain Names in dispute”) are registered with Tucows Inc.

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on March 2, 2009. On March 3, 2009, the Center transmitted by email to Tucows Inc. a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain names. On March 3, 2009, Tucows Inc. transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details. In response to a notification by the Center that the Complaint was administratively deficient, the Complainant filed an amendment to the Complaint on March 9, 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 12, 2009. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was April 1, 2009. The Respondent did not submit formal Response by the due date. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on April 2, 2009.

The Center appointed John Terry as the sole panelist in this matter on April 14, 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.

4. Factual Background

Complainant relies on an uncontroverted statement that it is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world and owns, manages or franchises almost 900 properties in approximately 100 countries. Complainant is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels and resorts with inter alia the following internationally renowned brands: SHERATON, FOUR POINTS BY SHERATON. Furthermore, Complainant owns the SHERATON trademark, among many others, which it has used in connection with its goods and services in the hotel and leisure industry for nearly eighty (80) years. Today, there are almost four hundred (400) SHERATON hotels worldwide.

Complainant has obtained numerous registrations for the SHERATON Mark throughout the world in connection with its hotel services and related goods and services. For example, Complainant owns the following registrations issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”):



Registration No.

Registration Date




May 19, 1959




March 6, 1973




July 27, 1993




March 14, 1995


41, 43, 44


November 29, 2005

Complainant also owns registrations for its SHERATON mark in many countries including United Arab Emirates Registration 85376 dated December 7, 2005. The domain names in dispute were registered March 26, 2008.

Complainant also has developed a prominent Internet presence for Complainant's SHERATON mark, including in connection with its websites located at “www.sheraton.com” and “www.sheratonhotels.com”, both of which are also accessible through other Complainant-owned domain names. The above-mentioned websites enable computer users to make reservations at Complainant's Sheraton hotels and to access information regarding Complainant and its various Sheration hotels and related services.

Complainant's hotels in United Arab Emirates include the “Sheraton Deira Hotel” in Dubai and the “Sheraton Jumeirah Beach Resort & Towers.”

5. Parties' Contentions

A. Complainant

Complainant contends that the Domain Names in dispute incorporate Complainant's trademark SHERATON and use of the disputed domain names by the Respondent leads Internet users to a website not affiliated with Complainant and which directly competes with Complainant.

The websites at each of the Domain Names in dispute are posted by Beach.es and Associate Hotel Groups. The website for Beach.es can be found at http://beach.es/, a domain owned by Beach Holidays Ltd., with the Respondent, Sean William Patrick Gerrity, listed as the Administrative and Technical contact. The Beach.es website is a travel booking portal that allows users to book hotel reservations at a number of hotels around the world including many of Complainant's properties and competitor's properties.

The Domain Names in dispute are confusingly similar to Complainant's trademark SHERATON because they consist of the Complainant's mark combined with variations of the official names for each of the hotels, the “Sheraton Deira Hotel” and the “Sheraton Jumeirah Beach Resort & Towers.” The addition of such a geographic locators and non-distinctive words such as “beach”, “hotel” and “towers” to Complainant's mark adds to rather than diminishes the likelihood of confusion.

Respondent cannot demonstrate or establish any right to use or legitimate interest in the Domain Names in dispute. Respondent has no connection or affiliation with Complainant and has not received any license or consent, express or implied, to use Complainant's mark in a domain name or in any other manner.

Respondent's only use of the Domain Name in dispute is in connection with misdirecting Internet users looking for Complainant's website to Respondent's own websites, which advertise also hotels owned by Complainant's competitors.

Upon seeing Respondent's websites consumers will reasonably but mistakenly believe that they are either the Complainant's websites or are somehow related to or approved by Complainant, when that is not the case. Such use demonstrates neither a bona fide offering of goods or services nor a legitimate interest.

Complainant's mark is one of the most famous trademarks in the world and enjoys international recognition. It is therefore inconceivable that Respondent was unaware of Complainant's Mark when it registered the infringing Domain Names. The mere fact that Respondent registered the confusingly similar infringing Domain Names without authorization is, in and of itself, evidence of its bad faith registration.

B. Respondent

Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Panel finds the trademark of Complainant to be the dominant characterising feature of the Domain Names in dispute.

The Panel is satisfied that Complainant has established that they have rights in the registered trademark SHERATON and the Domain Names in dispute are all characterised by this Trade Mark with a non-distinctive suffix. Accordingly the Domain Names in dispute are all identical or confusingly similar to the trademark in which the Complainant has rights.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

Under paragraph 4(c) the Respondent has the opportunity to establish rights or legitimate interests and they may do so generally or by evidence which is within one or more of the non-limiting examples set out in paragraph 4(c). In this case the Complainant has made a prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests. The website related to the Domain Names in dispute are shown in the Complaint to include promotion of competing hotel services to that of the Complainant. There has been no response. The Panel finds the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Names.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The third element to be established by the Complainant is that the Domain Names have been registered and are being used in bad faith.

Paragraph 4(b) sets out four non-limiting circumstances which if established are evidence of registration and use of the Domain Names in bad faith.

Subparagraph (iv) is particularly relevant, namely the conduct in both registering and using the Domain Names in dispute is such that Respondent has “intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to your website or other online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant's mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of your website or location or the product or service on your website or location.”

The Panel is satisfied that because Complainant has become well known internationally in relation to the trademark SHERATON relating to the hotel industry, Respondent must have been fully aware of that reputation and his motives in applying for the present Domain Names in dispute and their usage amounts to a clear example of bad faith within the meaning of the Policy and the Panel finds this third element is established.

7. Decision

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 names <sheratondeirahotelandtowers.com> and <sheratonjumeirahbeachresort.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

John Terry
Sole Panelist

Dated: April 16, 2009