The Complainants are Teletext Holdings Limited and Teletext Limited of London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, represented by Wedlake Bell, United Kingdom.
The Respondent is a singh / c2 New Rajindernagar of Jalandhar, Punjab, India.
The disputed domain names <teletextfinance.com>, <teletextholidays.net>, and <teletextravel.com> are registered with GoDaddy.com, Inc.
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on November 5, 2009. On November 9, 2009, the Center transmitted by email to GoDaddy.com, Inc. a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain names. On November 9, 2009, GoDaddy.com, 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 November 11, 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 November 12, 2009. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was December 2, 2009. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on December 3, 2009.
The Center appointed Richard Hill as the sole panelist in this matter on December 9, 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 owns numerous trademarks for the brand TELETEXT and markets various products and services at web sites incorporating that name.
The Respondent does not have any license or other authorization to use the Complainant's mark or to sell its products.
The registration of the disputed domain names by the current Registrant and the Respondent in this proceeding occurred following legal actions in the United Kingdom (“UK”) by the Complainant.
The prior registrant used two of those domain names to point to web sites containing links to products and services offered by competitors of the Complainant.
The Complainant alleges that it owns several registered trademarks for the name TELETEXT and also that is has acquired common law rights in that mark, in particular through registration and use of numerous domain names containing the mark. The mark, and the related web sites, are used to provide a variety of products and services, including holidays, financial services, and travel services.
According to the Complainant, it has been in business since at least 1992. During that period, it has spent substantial sums (running into millions of pounds) on marketing and promotion of its businesses. The Complainant and its marks are well-known, especially in the UK.
The Complainant states that, on February 11, 2009, it initiated legal proceedings in the UK against the then-registrant of the disputed domain names. About two weeks later, the disputed domain names were transferred to the Respondent, who is not based in the UK. The previous registrant provided a statement to the UK court. She wrote that, in 2005, she was an administrative assistant to the Respondent, but no longer worked for him. She added that the contact details displayed for the disputed domain names were incorrect, but that this had now been corrected.
According to the Complainant, the disputed domain names all contain its mark TELETEXT and are confusingly similar to that mark.
The Complainant states that the Respondent (and the prior registrant) have no connection with the Complainant and have not received any authorization to use the Complainant's marks or to market its products and services.
Further, says the Complainant, the Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain names and is not using them to provide any bona fide offering of goods or services, nor is he making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain names.
The Complainant alleges that the transfer of the disputed domain names from the previous registrant to the Respondent immediately after the beginning of court proceedings in the UK is indicative of bad faith behavior. According to the Complainant, the previous registrant owns various domain names which indicate that she engages in cyberquatting. Further, says the Complainant, the previous registrant has links with an individual who is also linked to the Respondent who had been trying to elicit payment from the Complainant for the disputed domain names.
The Respondent alleges that the transfer of the disputed domain names to an individual residing outside the UK is, under the circumstances, indicative of bad faith use of the disputed domain names.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's contentions.
It is clear that the disputed domain names are confusingly similar (in the sense of the Policy) to the Complainant's mark, because they contain the mark and merely add the common words “finance”, “travel”, and “holidays” to form the respective disputed domain names. See PACCAR, Inc. v. Enyart Associates and Truckalley.com, LLC, WIPO Case No. D2000-0289 (May 26, 2000); see also Quixtar Investments, Inc. v. Dennis Hoffman, WIPO Case No. D2000-0253 (May 29, 2000).
The Panel holds that the Complainant has satisfied this first element of the Policy.
The Respondent does not have any license or other authorization to use the Complainant's mark or to sell its products. From the Wayback Machine (at “www.archive.org”) it can be seen that the prior registrant used two of the disputed domain names to point to web sites containing links to products and services offered by competitors of the Complainant.
As the Complainant correctly points out, its name appears to be very well-known, and it is difficult to conceive in these particular circumstances of any use by the Respondent of the disputed domain names that would not be illegitimate, in particular in light of the fact that the prior registrant transferred the disputed domain names to the Respondent immediately after the Complainant initiated legal action. The Panel notes that the prior registrant stated that this transfer was made in order to correct the contact details. However, considering all the facts of the case, the Panel does not accept this explanation; the prior registrant could have taken less evasive actions to address the Complainant's claims.
Where a party has registered and used a domain name in bad faith (see the discussion below), that party cannot be found to have made a bona fide offering of goods and services, see The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. and PNC Bank, N.A. v. Azra Khan, WIPO Case No. D2002-0701 (September 6, 2002); see also AltaVista Company v. Saeid Yomtobian, WIPO Case No. D2000-0937 (October 13, 2000). Thus, it cannot be said that the Respondent has rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
The Panel holds that the Complainant has satisfied its burden of proof under this element of the Policy.
The Respondent (who did not reply) has not presented any plausible explanation for its use of the Complainant's mark in the disputed domain names. In accordance with paragraph 14(b) of the Rules, the Panel shall draw such inferences from the Respondent's failure to reply as it considers appropriate. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Respondent did not have a good faith use in mind when he acquired the disputed domain names from the prior registrant.
Indeed the prior registrant's actual use of the disputed domain names (as noted above) is clearly not bona fide, because she used two of the disputed domain names to point to web sites that offered links to products and services offered by competitors of the Complainant. This indicates that the prior registrant registered and used the disputed domain names to take advantage of the confusing similarity between the disputed domain names and the Complainant's mark in order to profit from the goodwill associated with the mark in bad faith under paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy. See EBAY, Inc. v. MEOdesigns and Matt Oettinger, WIPO Case No. D2000-1368 (December 15, 2000); see also Staples, Inc., Staples The Office Superstore, Inc., Staples Contract and & Commercial, Inc. v. John Morgan, WIPO Case No. D2004-0537 (September 20, 2004). Under the circumstances of this case, in particular the changes in ownership following court proceedings, the Panel finds that the Respondent was aware of this situation and also intended to profit from it.
Thus the Panel holds that the Complainant has satisfied its burden of proof under this element 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 names <teletextfinance.com>, <teletextholidays.net>, and <teletextravel.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Dated: December 16, 2009