World Intellectual Property Organization

WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Penguin Books Limited, Penguin Group (USA) Inc. v. PrivacyProtect.org/ SMVS CONSULTANCY PRIVATE LIMITED

Case No. D2010-1560

1. The Parties

The Complainants are Penguin Books Limited of London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (“UK”), and Penguin Group (USA) Inc. of New York, United States of America (“USA”), represented by Von Maltitz, Derenberg, Kunin, Janssen & Giordano of New York, United States of America (together the “Complainants”, except where expressly indicated).

The Respondent is PrivacyProtect.org of Moergestel, Netherlands / SMVS Consultancy Private Limited of Fort Mumbai, India (together “the Respondent”, except where expressly indicated).

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <uspenguingroup.com> is registered with Directi Internet Solutions Pvt. Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com.

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on September 15, 2010. On September 16, 2010, the Center transmitted by email to Directi Internet Solutions Pvt. Ltd. a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On September 23, 2010, Directi Internet Solutions Pvt. Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com 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 September 30, 2010 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 Amended Complaint on September 30, 2010.

The Center verified that the Complaint together with the Amended 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 October 5, 2010. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for the Response was October 25, 2010. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on October 26, 2010.

The Center appointed Anne-Virginie La Spada-Gaide as the sole panelist in this matter on November 2, 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.

The language of the registration agreement applicable to the disputed domain name is English. Therefore, according to the Rules, paragraph 11(a), the language of the proceedings is English.

4. Factual Background

The Complainant Penguin Books Limited is a book publishing company. It is the owner of various trademark registrations consisting of the word PENGUIN or of a design representing a penguin. The PENGUIN brand is well-known in the field of book publishing in many countries.

The Complainant Penguin Group (USA) Inc. is an affiliate company licensed by Penguin Books Limited to use the PENGUIN word and design mark in the United States and elsewhere. The Complainant Penguin Group (USA) Inc. operates a web site under the domain name <us.penguingroup.com>.

The Complainants and their affiliates are present in several countries throughout the world, including in India.

The Complainant Penguin Books Limited owns in particular the following trademark registrations in the UK and in the USA:

- UK: word mark PENGUIN no. 608514 (filed on August 3, 1939) in class 16

- UK: word mark PENGUIN no. 1173616 (filed on April 20, 1982) in class 16

- USA: word mark PENGUIN no. 561636 (filed on September 27, 1951) in class 16

- USA: word mark PENGUIN no. 2656258 (filed on November 2, 2001) in classes 35, 38, 41 and 42.

The disputed domain name was registered on April 18, 2007.

At the time of filing of the Complaint, the disputed domain name was resolving to a web site featuring sponsored links. The content of such links was related to book publishing. The disputed domain name was moreover listed for sale.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

In summary, the Complainants contend as follows:

The disputed domain name <uspenguingroup.com> is confusingly similar to the mark PENGUIN. The generic term “group” and the geographically descriptive abbreviation “us” do not distinguish the Respondent from the Complainants, since the latter are widely known as the Penguin Group and the Complainant Penguin Group (USA) Inc. uses the domain name <us.penguingroup.com>.

The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Respondent is not named or known under a name corresponding to the domain name. Nor have Complainants authorized the Respondent to register or use the disputed domain name. The use of a domain name in connection with a web site featuring sponsored links does not constitute a legitimate interest.

The domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith. Registration and use for the purpose of deriving revenue from paid links on a domain name confusingly similar to another’s trademark is evidence of bad faith, especially when the sponsored links advertise competitors.

The Respondent has registered the domain name for the purpose of selling it or otherwise transferring it to Complainants for a consideration in excess of the out-of-pocket costs directly related to the disputed domain name. The Complainant Penguin Group (USA) Inc. has sought to purchase the disputed domain name through an agent. In response to an offer of USD 1.000, the Respondent offered to sell the domain name for USD 13,000 and terminated the negotiations after the USD 1,000 offer was not increased.

Finally, within the past twelve months, the Respondent has been found by four different UDRP panels to have registered and used in bad faith domain names confusingly similar to well-known marks of others, exhibiting a pattern of conduct.

B. Respondent

The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

According to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, a complainant must assert and prove each of the following:

(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 registered by the respondent has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Complainant Penguin Books Limited owns several registrations, currently in force, for the word mark PENGUIN.

The disputed domain name <uspengingroup.com> is a combination of the term “us”, the term “penguin” and the term “group”. The term “penguin” is the most distinctive element of the domain name. While arguably this term is the dictionary name of a bird, it is far less common than the term “group”, which may be found in commercial names, trademarks and domain names in various fields of trade. Likewise, the term “penguin” is more striking than the short element “us”, which is likely to be perceived as a reference to the USA or perhaps as a form of the pronoun “we”. In this Panel’s view, for an average Internet user, the disputed domain name would most probably be understood as referring to “Penguin Group in the USA”, or “We of the Penguin Group”.

The term “penguin” is identical to the Complainant’s mark PENGUIN. As “penguin” is the most dominant element of the disputed domain name, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the trademark PENGUIN in which the Complainants have rights.

The Complainants have thus satisfied the condition set forth in paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Respondent is not a licensee of the Complainants, nor have the Complainants granted to the Respondent an authorization to use the disputed domain name. Moreover, there is no indication that the disputed domain name corresponds to the Respondent’s name.

The Complainants have provided evidence showing that the Respondent has used the domain name in connection with a website featuring sponsored links. A number of panels have found that use of a domain name corresponding to the trademark of another for the purpose of offering sponsored links is not evidence of any rights or legitimate interests (see Woolworths Limited v. DomainAdminkPrivacyProtect.org/Smvs Consultancy Privacy Limited, WIPO Case No. D2010-1046, Aspen Holdings Inc. v. Rick Natsch, Potrero Media Corporation, WIPO Case No. D2009-0776, Mayflower Transit LLC v. Domains by Proxy Inc./Yariv Moshe, WIPO Case No. D2007-1695).

Furthermore, the Respondent did not file a Response to the Complaint. The Panel may draw from the lack of a Response the inferences that it considers appropriate, according to the Rules, paragraph 14(b). It is the Panel’s inference that the Respondent’s silence corroborates Complainants’ assertion that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Respondent as no rights or legitimate interest in the disputed domain name, and that the Complainants have satisfied the condition set out in paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

It is likely in the Panel’s opinion that the Respondent was aware of the Complainants’ mark PENGUIN at the time of registration of the disputed domain name. The Complainants have submitted evidence indicating that the PENGUIN brand is widely recognized in the market, that they have a presence in India, where the Respondent is located, and that Penguin Group (USA) Inc. operates a web site under a domain name which is basically identical to the disputed domain name, i.e. <us.penguingroup.com>. The Panel finds that the disputed domain name was thus certainly not registered by mere coincidence.

The Respondent has used the disputed domain name in connection with a website consisting essentially of sponsored links that relate to the Complainants’ activity of book publishing and that advertise competitors of the Complainants. This shows, in the Panel’s opinion, an intention on the part of Respondent to exploit and profit from Complainants’ mark.

Such conduct constitutes bad faith registration and use of the disputed domain name within the meaning of paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy (see F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG v. James Lee, WIPO Case No. D2009-1199, Scania CV AB v. Michael Montrief, WIPO Case No. D2009-1149, Aspen Holdings Inc. v. Rick Natsch, Potrero Media Corporation, WIPO Case No. D2009-0776, AllianceBernstein LP v. Texas International Property Associates, WIPO Case No. D2008-1230).

The Complainants have also demonstrated that the Respondent has been found, within the last twelve months, to have registered and used in bad faith domain names confusingly similar to the marks of others (Woolworths Limited v. DomainAdminkPrivacyProtect.org/Smvs Consultancy Privacy Limited, WIPO Case No. D2010-1046, LEGO Juris A/S v. PrivacyProtect.org v. SMVS Consultancy Private Limited, WIPO Case No. D2009-1094, UnitedHealth Group Incorporated v. SMVS Consultancy Privacy Services, NAF Claim No. 1275517, Frederick’s of Hollywood Group Inc. v. WEB MASTER INTERNET SERVICES PRIVATE LIMITED and SMVS CONSULTANCY PRIVATE LIMITED and Venkateshwara Distributor Private Limited, NAF Claim No. 1301298). Such behavior constitutes a pattern of registering the trademarks of third parties, thus preventing them from reflecting their marks in corresponding domain names, within the meaning of the paragraph 4(b)(ii) of the Policy.

For the reasons set out above, the Panel finds that the Respondent has registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith, and that the Complainants have satisfied the condition set forth in paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.

The Complainants also contend that they have offered to buy the disputed domain name from the Respondent for USD 1,000, but that the Respondent asked for USD 13,000 and subsequently terminated the negotiations after the Complainants’ offer was not increased. The exhibit submitted by the Complainants as evidence of the negotiations is however not conclusive in the Panel’s view, as it does not include any mention of the disputed domain name. The Panel has no reason to doubt the Complainants’ assertion in this respect, but as the Respondent’s bad faith is established on other grounds, the Panel need not decide whether the Respondent also registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling it to the Complainants for a consideration in excess of the out-of-pocket expenses directly related to the domain name, within the meaning of paragraph 4(b)(i) of the Policy.

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 name <uspenguingroup.com> be transferred to the Complainant Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

Anne-Virginie La Spada-Gaide
Sole Panelist
Dated: November 16, 2010

 

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