World Intellectual Property Organization

WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Barclays Bank PLC v. Barclaysatpworldtourfinal.com, Privacy-Protect.org / Rampe Purda

Case No. D2010-2152

1. The Parties

Complainant is Barclays Bank PLC of London, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, represented by Pinsent Masons LLP, United Kingdom.

The First Respondent is Barclaysatpworldtourfinal.com, Privacy-Protect.org, of Shanghai, the People’s Republic of China; the Second Respondent is Rampe Purda of Hailuoto, Finland.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <barclaysatpworldtourfinal.com> is registered with Hebei Guoji Maoyi (Shanghai) LTD aka HEBEI INTERNATIONAL TRADING (SHANGHAI) CO., LTD dba HebeiDomains.com. (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on December 13, 2010. On December 14, 2010, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On December 14, 2010, the Registrar 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 Complainant on December 17, 2010 providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. Complainant filed an amended Complaint on December 20, 2010. On December 17, 2010, the Center also transmitted an email to the parties in both the Finnish and English language regarding the language of proceedings. On the same day, Complainant confirmed its request that English be the language of proceeding. Respondents did not comment on the language of the proceeding by the specified due date.

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 Respondents of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on December 23, 2010. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was January 12, 2011. Respondents did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on January 13, 2011.

The Center appointed Jeffrey M. Samuels as the sole panelist in this matter on January 19, 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

Complainant Barclays Bank PLC is a major global financial services provider engaged in retail banking, credit cards, corporate and investment banking, wealth management and investment management services. Complainant currently operates in over 50 countries and moves, lends, invests, and protects money for more than 48 million customers and clients worldwide.

Complainant owns a number of United Kingdom and European Union registrations that incorporate, in whole or in part, the mark BARCLAYS for use in a range of classes, including financial services. See Complaint, Annex 3. The BARCLAYS mark has been used by Complainant for the last 114 years. Complainant also owns a number of domain name registrations, including <barclaysatpworldtourfinals.com>, <barclays.co.uk>, and <barclays.com>. See Complaint, Annex 4.

Complainant is the official title sponsor of the ATP World Tour Tennis Finals, and has been so since 2009. The ATP World Tour showcases the finest male tennis players throughout the world in a circuit of 61 tournaments held in 30 countries. See Complaint, Annex 6.

The disputed domain name, <barclaysatpworldtourfinal.com>, was registered on November 30, 2009. See Complaint, Annex 5. As stated in the Complaint, the disputed domain name is being used as a holding page containing a number of finance-related pay per click sponsored links which relate to products and services offered by competitors of Complainant.1

Complainant’s counsel sent a cease and desist letter to the original disputed domain name registrant, Ho Him, on August 10, 2010, and follow-up letters on September 29 and October 26, 2010, seeking transfer of the disputed domain name. See Complaint, Annexes 7 and 8. No response to any of these letters was received.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

Complainant asserts that the disputed domain name contains a word that is identical and, therefore, confusingly similar to the BARCLAYS mark, in which Complainant has common law rights and for which Complainant has registered trademarks.

Complainant further contends that Respondents have no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name. As explained by Complainant:

“[t]he Domain Name is being used to redirect internet traffic intended for the Complainant away from the Complainant and to competitor products and services, with the intention to generate income for the First or Second Respondent. The First Respondent registered the Domain Name knowing that it is likely to attract interest from internet users who are searching for the Complainant. The content on the website at the Domain Name is tailored to match the Complainant's core goods and services. This means that when internet users view the content displayed at the Domain Name and clicks one of the sponsored links on the website the First or Second Respondent generates revenue directly from the initial interest arising from the use of the name BARCLAYS in the Domain Name.”

Complainant asserts that such activity “does not qualify as non commercial or fair use.”

Complainant also maintains that Respondents have never asked for, or been given, permission by Complainant to register or use any domain name incorporating Complainant’s BARCLAYS mark. It also contends that Respondents are not known by the domain name.

With respect to the issue of “bad faith” registration and use, Complainant first contends, based on the contact details provided by the Center, that “[i]t is reasonably anticipated that Ho Him and the First and Second Respondent are the same individual” and that Ho Him used the Privacy Protect Service in order to circumvent the complaint made in correspondence by Complainant.

Complainant also points out that the Second Respondent, Rampe Purda, has been the named respondent in eight reported UDRP proceedings, all of which resulted in a transfer order. “This is highly suggestive that [Purda] is a professional domainer.”

Complainant contends that, given the widespread use, reputation, and notoriety of the BARCLAYS mark and of the ATP World Tennis competition, Respondents must have been aware that, in registering the disputed domain name, they were misappropriating the valuable intellectual property of the owner of the BARCLAYS mark.

Complainant asserts that Respondents have intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to the disputed website by creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainant’s BARCLAYS mark, in violation of paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.

B. Respondent

Respondents did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Panel finds that the disputed domain name, <barclaysatpworldtourfinal.com>, is confusingly similar to the BARLCAYS mark. The addition of the descriptive term “atpworldtourfinal” and of the generic top-level domain “.com” does not avoid a determination of confusing similarity. The term “Barclays” clearly is the most distinctive component of the disputed domain name, and such term is identical to the BARCLAYS mark.

The evidence also establishes that Complainant has rights in the BARCLAYS mark. The evidence indicates that Complainant owns a number of registrations for the BARCLAYS mark and has used such mark for over 100 years.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Panel concludes that Complainant has met its burden of proof in establishing that Respondents have no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The use of the domain name in connection with a pay per click site does not constitute bona fide use of a domain name. Nor does it constitute either noncommercial or fair use of the domain name. It is well-established that operating a link farm parking page using a service mark in a domain name, and providing connection to services competitive with the service mark owner, does not establish rights or legitimate interests. See, e.g., Easy Gardener Products, Inc. v. Whois Privacy Protection Service, Inc. / Demand Domains, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2010-1185; VIVO S.A. and PORTELCOM PARTICIPAÇÕES S.A. v. Domains By Proxy - NA Proxy Account Niche Domain Proxy Manager, WIPO Case No. D2010-0925; Overstock.com, Inc. v. Metro Media, WIPO Case No. DME2009-0001; Fifth Third Bancorp v. Texas International Property Associates, WIPO Case No. D2007-0537; MasterCard International Incorporated v. Paul Barbell, WIPO Case No. D2007-1139; Shaw Industries Group, Inc., and Columbia Insurance Company v. Parth Shah, WIPO Case No. D2007-1368; and Alfa Laval AB and Alfa Laval Corporate AB v. Alfalava.com, WIPO Case No. D2007-1881.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The Panel holds that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith. The evidence establishes that Respondents are using the disputed domain name in an intentional attempt to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to their website by creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainant’s BARCLAYS mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of such site or of the products or services on such site, within the meaning of paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy. As noted and found above, Respondents are using the <barclaysatpworldtourfinal.com> domain name in connection with a pay per click site that provides sponsored links to financial and other services offered by Complainant’s competitors and others and the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the BARLCAYS mark. As such, Internet users are likely to believe that Respondents’ site and/or at least some of the services offered at such site are owned and/or sponsored by Complainant.

Further evidence of the requisite bad faith is found in the fact that Complainant’s counsel’s letters were never answered and the history relating to earlier UDRP decisions relating to Respondent Rampe Purda.

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 <barclaysatpworldtourfinal.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Jeffrey M. Samuels
Sole Panelist
Dated: January 26, 2011


1 The Panel notes that certain materials included with the Complaint appear to indicate that the disputed domain name is being used in connection with a pay per click site featuring links to sites relating to tennis, Swiss private banking and dating, Russian brides, and ATP binding proteins.

 

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