Complainant is Allstate Insurance Company of Northbrook, Illinois, United States of America, represented by Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo, PC, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.
Respondent is This Domain For Sale - Jermain Ray Crabull of Spring Mount, Pennsylvania, United States.
The disputed domain name <alltsate.com> (“the Domain Name”) is registered with Dynadot, LLC.
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on December 14, 2009. On December 15, 2009, the Center transmitted by email to Dynadot, LLC. a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. That same day Dynadot, LLC. transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on December 22, 2009. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was January 11, 2010. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent's default on January 12, 2010.
The Center appointed Harrie R. Samaras as the sole panelist in this matter on January 21, 2010. 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.
Complainant was founded in 1931. Since that time it has become a well-established and well-known insurance company providing insurance services all over the United States. Complainant uses the ALLSTATE Mark to identify products, services, activities and events related to it. For example, Complainant owns the following U.S. registrations for the ALLSTATE Mark: Reg. No. 0717683, issued in 1961; Reg. No. 0761091, issued in 1963; and Reg. No. 0840187, issued in 1967. Complainant has continuously used the ALLSTATE Mark since 1931 and has generated billions of dollars in sales of products and/or services under it in the United States.
Complainant has devoted hundreds of millions of dollars to advertise and promote its services in the United States under the ALLSTATE Mark. In addition to its own advertising and promotional efforts, Complainant and its services have been the subject of numerous articles in the media, including national and international print, radio and television. As part of its communications and marketing program, Complainant has registered over one hundred ALLSTATE-based domain names worldwide. Complainant's domain names include: <allstate.com>, registered in May 1995; <allstate.org>, registered in July 1998; and <allstate.net>, registered in July 1997.
Respondent registered the Domain Name <alltsate.com> on November 5, 2009, approximately seventy-nine (79) years after Complainant adopted the ALLSTATE Mark, approximately forty-nine (49) years after Complainant's registration of the ALLSTATE Mark and approximately fifteen (15) years after Complainant registered the <allstate.com> domain name.
Respondent operates a pay-per-click advertising site at the Domain Name. The webpages corresponding to Respondent's Domain Name feature a variety of advertising links concerning the field of insurance including, for example, the links “Auto Insurance,” “Free Auto Insurance Quote,” “Free Car Insurance Quotes,” “Car Insurance” and “Affordable Auto Insurance.” These services are the same as or are closely related to the insurance services offered by Complainant under the ALLSTATE Mark. Several of Respondent's links take users to third party websites where they can purchase products and/or services from Complainant's direct competitors. For example, if a visitor to Respondent's site clicks on the link “Auto Insurance,” they would be directed to a second page with click through advertising for several of Allstate's direct competitors in the auto insurance market, including GEICO, Liberty Mutual and Amica Insurance.
The Whois listing for the Domain Name reveals that the Registrant's name is “This Domain For Sale.” The Domain Name is listed for sale by the Registrant on the “www.sedo.com” website for $500.
Complainant has previously advised Respondent by letter that it is violating Complainant's rights by using the Domain Name. The letter sent to Registrant by registered mail to the address provided by the Registrant to the Registrar was returned as undeliverable, revealing that the Registrant either provided false contact information to the Registrar or failed to keep his contact information up-to-date as required by the Registrar's Service. Respondent has not responded to Complainant's letter and continues to operate the site as described above.
Complainant contends that the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to its ALLSTATE Mark; Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name; and Respondent registered and is using the Domain Name in bad faith.
Respondent did not reply to Complainant's contentions.
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy requires that a complainant prove each of the following three elements to obtain an order that a domain name should be cancelled or transferred:
(i) the domain name registered by the respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights; and
(ii) the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
(iii) the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
There is no dispute over Complainant's trademark rights in the ALLSTATE Mark. It is registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and, therefore, is entitled to a presumption of validity. See Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions (“WIPO Decision Overview”), at paragraph 1.1 (“If the complainant owns a registered trademark then it satisfies the threshold requirement of having trademark rights.”).
The Panel finds Respondent has engaged in typosquatting by registering the Domain Name <alltsate.com>, a practice by which “a registrant deliberately introduces slight deviations into famous marks” for commercial gain. Marriott Int'l, Inc. v. Seocho, NAF Case No. 149187 (April 28, 2003) (finding <marriottt.com> confusingly similar to MARRIOTT.COM). The Domain Name is virtually identical to Complainant's ALLSTATE Mark and its ALLSTATE.COM mark (U.S. Reg. No. 3,164, 784) - differing only by switching the order of “st” to “ts”. Because Respondent has committed typosquatting, the Domain Name at issue is, by definition, confusingly similar to Complainant's ALLSTATE Mark. Edmunds.com, Inc v. Triple E Holdings Limited, WIPO Case No. D2006-1095.
In addition, the Domain Name is both visually and phonetically similar to the ALLSTATE Mark, further heightening the likelihood of confusion. See, Expedia, Inc. v. Alvaro Collazo, WIPO Case No. D2003-0716 (finding the domain <expediua.com> confusingly similar to <expedia.com> and noting the visual and phonetic similarity of the two).
For the foregoing reasons, the Panel finds that paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy has been satisfied.
Complainant asserts that Respondent cannot have any legitimate interest or rights in the Domain Name because: (1) Respondent has not been commonly known by the Domain Name; (2) Respondent is not making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the Domain Name without intent for commercial gain because the Domain Name is being used on a site that contains hyperlinks to third-party sites, many offering competitive insurance services, from which the Respondent derives click-through revenue; and (3) Respondent's use of the Domain Name has not been in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services, rather with an infringing one.
Complainant's facts, without contrary evidence from Respondent, are sufficient to permit a finding in Complainants' favor on this issue. Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. v. Lauren Raymond, WIPO Case No. D2000-0007.
For the foregoing reasons, the Panel finds that paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy has been satisfied.
By failing to submit a Response, Respondent has failed to invoke any of the circumstances that could demonstrate it did not register and use the Domain Name in bad faith.
Respondent registered the Domain Name <alltsate.com> on November 5, 2009, approximately seventy-nine (79) years after Complainant adopted the ALLSTATE Mark, approximately forty-nine (49) years after Complainant's registration of the ALLSTATE Mark and approximately fifteen (15) years after Complainant registered the <allstate.com> domain name. Given Complainant's widespread and long-term use of the ALLSTATE Mark, as well as the U.S. trademark registrations for it, the Panel finds it is highly unlikely Respondent was unaware of the ALLSTATE Mark when it registered the Domain Name. Respondent's bad faith registration is also evidenced by the fact that the Domain Name <alltsate.com> was formed by a common typographical misspelling of Complainant's well-known ALLSTATE Mark, it is confusingly similar to Complainant's well-known ALLSTATE Mark, and Respondent has not shown any legitimate use for it. See, e.g., ESPN, Inc. v. XC2, WIPO Case No. D2005-0444.
With regard to bad faith use, Respondent is using a domain name that is confusingly similar to Complainant's mark to host a site having sponsored links to insurance-related services offered by unrelated third-party competitors (e.g., GEICO, AMICA). The Panel concludes that by using the Domain Name in this manner, Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website by creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainant's ALLSTATE Mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of such site or the products or services advertised on such site, within the meaning of paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy. Advance Magazine Publishers Inc. v. Red Wagon Films, WIPO Case No. D2006-0893. Even if the users who access Respondent's website may conclude that it is not what they were originally looking for, Respondent has already succeeded in its purpose of using Complainant's mark to attract users for commercial gain. See Red Bull GmbH v. Unasi Management Inc., WIPO Case No. D2005-0304.
Further evidence of Respondent's bad faith is that Respondent has engaged in a pattern of conduct in registering domain names that are confusingly similar to third party trademarks. Respondent conducts business under the name “This Domain Is For Sale” otherwise known as Jermain Ray Crabull. Respondent is the registered owner of the following domain names, as reflected in the Whois database as of December 2, 2009, all of which contain common typographical misspellings of well-known trademarks: <blocbusteronline.com>; <princesscruisies.com>; <saabfinacial.com>; <sunkistonline.com>; <symanteac.com>; <wwwuniversityofphoenix.com>; and <ebaymaotors.com>. Where a registrant has a history of typosquatting, such evidence strengthens the inference of bad faith registration. See MouseSavers, Inc. v. Mr. Henry Tsung d/b/a www.wwwmousesavers.com, WIPO Case No. D2004-1034.
For the foregoing reasons, the Panel finds that paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy has been satisfied.
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 <alltsate.com> be transferred to Complainant.
Harrie R. Samaras
Dated: February 4, 2010