The Complainant is Gocompare.com Limited of Newport, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, represented by Bevan Brittan LLP, United Kingdom.
The Respondent is Company Require, Jim Yoon of New York, New York, United States of America.
The disputed domain name <gocomapre.com> (the “Disputed Domain Name”) is registered with Lead Networks Domains Pvt. Ltd.
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on August 21, 2009. On August 24, 2009, the Center transmitted by email to Lead Networks Domains Pvt. Ltd. a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On August 26, 2009, Lead Networks Domains Pvt. Ltd. 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” 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 August 27, 2009. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was September 16, 2009. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on September 17, 2009.
The Center appointed Philip N. Argy as the sole panelist in this matter on September 23, 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.
All other procedural requirements appear to have been met.
The following facts, taken from the Complaint, are uncontested:
The Complainant was incorporated in April 2006 and began trading under the name “Gocompare” in November 2006. The Complainant owns and operates an insurance, financial services, business and consumer utilities aggregation and comparison website at “www.gocompare.com” and “www.gocompare.co.uk”, amongst other addresses. It began advertising its services online in January 2007 and in March 2007 it commenced a high profile television advertising campaign. Since January 2007, the Complainant has spent in excess of £20 million per year on marketing and promoting its brand and advertising its services. Approximately 60% of this amount relates to online marketing and promotion. Between January 1, 2009 and July 31, 2009 over 22 million customers visited the Complainant's website at “www.gocompare.co.uk” which is mirrored at “www.gocompare.com”.
The Complainant is the proprietor of several United Kingdom and European registered trademarks including GOCOMPARE and GOCOMPARE.COM as well as numerous variants which embody the “gocompare” character string. The earliest registration filing was May 2007.
The Disputed Domain Name was formerly owned by the Complainant and came to be registered in the name of the Respondent on or about June 16, 2009, apparently within an hour of its expiry. Since at least June 23, 2009 it has resolved to a website featuring pay-per-click and sponsored links offering insurance comparison services. The links include a link to the Complainant's website at “www.gocompare.com” and to competitors of the Complainant such as “moneysupermarket.com”.
The Respondent has not replied to any communications from the Complainant.
The Complainant submits that, in addition to its more than 30 trademark registrations, it has extensive reputation in GOCOMPARE in English speaking countries.
It submits that each of the grounds set out in paragraph 4(a) of the Policy have been made out, and that the Respondent is engaged in classic typosquatting.
It also refers to a number of irregularities in its attempts to transfer the Disputed Domain Name to another registrar at a time when it was the registrant. It intimates that the Panel should draw inferences adverse to the Respondent as a result of these matters.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's contentions either formally or informally.
The Complainant bears the onus of proving each of the grounds set out in paragraph 4(a) of the Policy. Mere assertion to that effect is inadequate.
The Disputed Domain Name is identical to the Complainant's registered trademark GOCOMPARE.COM save for the transposition of the letters “a” and “p”. The Panel easily concludes that they are confusingly similar.
The Complainant has not authorized or licensed the Respondent to use its trademarks. There is no evidence in the record to indicate that the Respondent is commonly known by the Disputed Domain Name. The characters “gocomapre” do not comprise any word in the English language. The Respondent is not using the Disputed Domain Name in a bona fide manner as it resolves to a pay-per-click website showing links relating to the Complainant's trademark. The Respondent has ignored all communications from the Complainant and the Center.
The Panel is satisfied that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Disputed Domain Name.
The Disputed Domain Name was formerly owned by the Complainant and came to be registered in the name of the Respondent in circumstances which - based on the available record - suggest that the registrar has not complied with its obligations to ICANN under its accreditation agreement. Whilst the Panel is not prepared to draw adverse inferences against the Respondent from the apparently improper and irregular conduct of the registrar of the Disputed Domain Name, it does draw adverse inferences against the Respondent from the following combination of elements: from the speed with which the Disputed Domain Name was registered following the expiry of its registration to the Complainant, from the fact that the subject matter of the site to which it resolves is the same as that of the Complainant's sites, from the Respondent's failure to participate in this proceeding by filing any Response, from the Respondent's failure to respond to any communications sent on the Complainant's behalf, and from the typographical transposition by which the Disputed Domain Name is constructed when compared to the Complainant's trademarks, trading and business names, and domain name.
The Panel comfortably concludes that the Disputed Domain Name was both registered and is being used in bad faith and that the Respondent is engaged in classic typosquatting.
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.
The Panel also recommends to the Complainant that it may use email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org (see also the ICANN Expired Domain Deletion Policy at http://www.icann.org/en/registrars/eddp.htm) to advise ICANN of any adverse experiences with an ICANN-accredited registrar. By this means the Complainant may assist in maintaining the integrity of the domain name system.
Philip N. Argy
Dated: October 1, 2009