WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Interval International, Inc. v. PrivacyProtect.org/Purple Bucquet
Case No. D2010-2113
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Interval International, Inc. of Miami, Florida, United States of America, represented by Kenyon & Kenyon, United States of America.
The Respondent is PrivacyProtect.org/Purple Bucquet of Moergestel, Netherlands and Ciudad de Panama, Panamá, respectively.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <intervalword.com> is registered with Power Brand Center Corp.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on December 8, 2010. On December 8, 2010, the Center transmitted by email to Power Brand Center Corp. a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On December 14, 2010, Power Brand Center Corp. 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 December 15, 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 December 15, 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 December 16, 2010. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was January 5, 2011. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on January 6, 2011.
The Center appointed Charters Macdonald-Brown as the sole panelist in this matter on January 11, 2011. 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 an operating segment of Interval Leisure Group, Inc., a global provider of membership and leisure services to the holiday industry. A core part of the Complainant’s business is a membership based time-share exchange, i.e., where members who are time-share owners make their properties available to other members. Based in Miami, Florida, the Complainant has been in this business for almost 35 years and has an exchange network of more than 2,500 resorts in over 75 countries. The Complainant has offices in 14 countries and has approximately two million members enrolled.
The Complainant contends that it is the owner of many trade marks for or incorporating INTERVAL, which are registered in many countries. However, the documentary evidence does not entirely support this assertion: only two of the 11 United States of America registration certificates submitted, indicate the Complainant as the owner. No explanation is provided as to the basis upon which the Complainant is entitled to rely on the other marks which are said to be relevant. However, by conducting limited further investigations which the Panel is entitled to undertake (Hesco Bastion Limited v. The Trading Force Limited WIPO Case No. D2002-1038), the Panel is satisfied that at least the majority of the United States marks asserted by the Complainant are owned by the Complainant or related companies (i.e., other companies within the same group), including the trade mark for INTERVAL WORLD (Reg. No. 2,440,153). For the purposes of the UDRP, companies within the same group are considered to have rights in each others’ marks (Grupo Televisa, S.A., Televisa, S.A. de C.V., Estrategia Televisa, S.A. de C.V., Videoserpel, Ltd. v. Party Night Inc., a/k/a Peter Carrington WIPO Case No. D2003-0796).
The Complainant uses the domain name <intervalworld.com> for its main website.
The Complainant has been operating under the INTERVAL brand since 1976 and using it on its website since 1998. Both dates are before the Respondent’s registration of <intervalword.com> (the Disputed Domain Name).
5. Parties’ Contentions
Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant contends that the Disputed Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to its trade marks for, or incorporating INTERVAL in that it incorporates entirely the word “interval”. Further, the Complainant asserts that the Disputed Domain Name is confusingly similar to its INTERVAL WORLD trade mark, being just one letter different. It is also said that this is a classic case of typosquatting.
Rights or Legitimate Interest
The Complainant submits that the Respondent is not using the Disputed Domain Name to offer bona fide goods or services and is not making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the Disputed Domain Name. In support of this, the Complainant relies on the following facts:
i) the Respondent was aware of the Complainant’s website using the domain name <intervalworld.com>, and the Complainant’s rights in the INTERVAL brand before it registered the Disputed Domain Name;
ii) the Complainant has not consented to the Respondent’s use of the INTERVAL brand in connection with the Disputed Domain Name; and
iii) the Respondent is not commonly known by the Disputed Domain Name.
Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Complainant contends that the Disputed Domain Name was registered, and is being used in bad faith on the basis that:
i) the Disputed Domain Name consists of the well-known marks of the Complainant;
ii) the Disputed Domain Name is being used to generate revenue for the Respondent by riding off the goodwill in the Complainant’s trade marks;
iii) the registration of a typosquatting domain name is itself evidence of bad faith; and
iv) the Respondent has a history of typosquatting.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has rights in trade marks registered for INTERVAL and INTERVAL WORLD and substantial goodwill in the domain name <intervalworld.com>.
The Disputed Domain Name incorporates the INTERVAL mark in its entirety with the addition of the word “word”. The addition of such a relatively indistinctive element is not sufficient to clearly distinguish the Disputed Domain Name from the INTERVAL mark and avoid confusion.
In comparing the INTERVAL WORLD mark and the <intervalworld.com> domain name on the one hand and the Disputed Domain Name on the other, the only difference to be found is that the letter “l” is missing. The high degree of similarity between these is likely to lead to confusion on the part of consumers. This is a clear case of typosquatting.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Complainant has satisfied the first element under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Respondent’s use of the Disputed Domain Name is clearly commercial, the intention being to generate revenue through pop-up advertising and pay-per-click revenue. No products are being offered through the Disputed Domain Name and the only service is to redirect visitors to other websites which purportedly relate to holidays, and in particular time-shares, but which do not include the Complainant’s. Such a service cannot be considered to be bona fide.
The Complainant has put forward unchallenged evidence that the Respondent’s use of the Disputed Domain Name has not been authorized by the Complainant and that the Respondent is not commonly known by the Disputed Domain Name. Such evidence is sufficient to establish a prima facie case, that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name which is sufficient for the purposes of the UDRP. Respondent has not rebutted this prima facie case.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Complainant has satisfied the second element under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The website operated at the Disputed Domain Name contains content that relates to holidays and in particular time-shares, i.e., the core business of the Complainant. It is highly implausible that two websites having overlapping content would choose to operate from near identical domain names (which are not in themselves descriptive of their content) without bad faith, in the sense of Paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.
In light of the fact that the Complainant began operating its website from <intervalworld.com> before the Disputed Domain Name was registered by the Respondent, the Panel infers that the Respondent is the party who is in the wrong because the Respondent was most likely aware of the Complainant’s website and chose a similar name based on that knowledge. In addition, such an inference is supported by the fact that the Respondent has a history of typosquatting.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Complainant has shown that the Respondent registered and has used the Disputed Domain Name in bad faith. Therefore, the Panel finds that the Complainant has satisfied the third element under paragraph 4(a) 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 Disputed Domain Name, <intervalword.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Dated: January 21, 2011