World Intellectual Property Organization

WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Government Employees Insurance Company v. PrivacyProtect.org / Purple Bucquet

Case No. D2010-1746

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Government Employees Insurance Company of Chevy Chase, Maryland, United States of America, represented by Burns & Levinson LLP, United States of America.

The Respondent is PrivacyProtect.org / Purple Bucquet of Moergestel, the Netherlands and Panama, Panama, respectively.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The Disputed Domain Name <gecio.com> is registered with Power Brand Center LLC.

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on October 14, 2010. On October 14, 2010, the Center transmitted by email to Power Brand Center LLC a request for registrar verification in connection with the Disputed Domain Name. On October 15 and 19, 2010, Power Brand Center LLC 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 October 22, 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 October 28, 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 28, 2010. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was November 17, 2010. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on November 18, 2010.

The Center appointed Dawn Osborne as the sole panelist in this matter on November 30, 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.

4. Factual Background

The Complainant is the owner of United States of America registered trade marks for GEICO for insurance services and has used this mark since 1936. The Disputed Domain Name was registered in June 2000 and the Respondent has used it for a third party website comparing insurance services and links to third party insurance services competing with the services of the Complainant.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant’s submissions can be summarized as follows:

Geico is a well known insurance company that has provided insurance services since 1936. It has United States of America registered trade marks for GEICO the registration date of the first being 1964. It has over 9 million customers and insures more than 16 million vehicles. It has a website at “www.geico.com”.

The Disputed Domain Name is a typosquatting registration designed to catch customers who mistype “gecio” for “geico” when looking for the Complainant’s services. It is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s GEICO mark.

The Respondent has no connection with the Complainant and has no consent from the Complainant to use the Disputed Domain Name. It has never been known by the name and the only use it has made is to point the Disputed Domain Name to a website that compares insurance services or lists links to third party insurance services not connected with the Complainant. Such use demonstrates neither a bona fide offering of goods and services or a legitimate interest. The Disputed Domain Name is not a name the Respondent would randomly choose to sell insurance services without reference to the Complainant.

As well as having constructive notice of the Complainant’s rights the Respondent clearly had actual knowledge or it would not have pointed the Disputed Domain Name to links with insurance services.

Typosquatting is bad faith in itself. The Respondent has had a number of findings of bad faith against it under UDRP and so is a serial cybersquatter. The use to point to third party services for commercial gain is also bad faith.

The Respondent used a privacy service to hide its identity and did not reply to a demand letter.

As such the Respondent registered and used the Disputed Domain Name in bad faith.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

According to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainant must prove that:

- The Disputed Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trade mark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and

- The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Disputed Domain Name; and

- The Disputed Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

Ignoring the “.com” top level part of the Disputed Domain Name which is not considered for the purposes of the Policy, the Disputed Domain Name <gecio.com> is very similar to the Complainant’s registered trade mark GEICO with the “i” and “c” transposed. As such the Disputed Domain Name is confusingly similar to a trade mark in which the Complainant has rights for the purpose of the Policy.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Respondent has not filed a Response, does not appear to have any trade marks associated with “gecio”, or be commonly known by this name. The Complainant has not given the Respondent any consent to use a similar mark to GEICO for insurance services. Having used a confusingly similar domain name to the Complainant’s GEICO mark for links to insurance services not associated with the Complainant the Respondent does not appear to have used the Disputed Domain Name for any bona fide offering of services. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

Paragraph 4(b) of the Rules sets out non-exclusive criteria which shall be evidence of the registration and use of a domain name in bad faith including circumstances where, by using the domain name, the respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its 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 its website or location or of a product or service on its website or location. It does appear that the Respondent has by the means of typosquatting attempted to attract and cause confusion amongst Internet users between the Complainant’s mark and services and the insurance services offered on the Respondent’s website or via links on that website which is attached to the Disputed Domain Name for commercial gain. Further, although use of a privacy service is not by itself to be considered to be bad faith, once the Complainant discovered the identity of the Respondent it was able to show that the Respondent had been found to have registered and used several domain names previously in bad faith in reported decisions under the Policy.

Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Domain Name has been registered and used in bad faith.

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 <gecio.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Dawn Osborne
Sole Panelist
Dated: December 7, 2010

 

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