World Intellectual Property Organization

WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Skipton Building Society v. skiptonassetmanagement.com, Private Registration

Case No. D2011-0222

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Skipton Building Society of North Yorkshire, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, represented by Pinsent Masons LLP, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The Respondent is skiptonassetmanagement.com, Private Registration of Hong Kong, SAR of the People’s Republic of China.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <skiptonassetmanagement.com> is registered with Web Commerce Communications Limited dba WebNic.cc. (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on February 2, 2011. On February 3, 2011, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On February 3, 2011, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details. In response to a request by the Center, the Complainant filed an amended Complaint on February 4, 2011.

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 February 9, 2011. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was March 1, 2011. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on March 2, 2011

The Center appointed Michael J. Spence as the sole panelist in this matter on March 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 one of the largest building society in the United Kingdom and, since 1853, has been trading under names including the word “Skipton”. The reputation of the Complainant’s mark is enhanced by extensive trading, community and sponsorship activities. According to the unrefuted allegations of the Complainant, the Respondent has been operating a web site under the disputed domain name, which it uses to advertise investment management services. The Respondent is not an authorized provider of such services.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant argues: that the disputed domain name is identical, or confusingly similar to, its trade marks; that as an unauthorized provider of investment services the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the use of the disputed domain name, particularly given the strong likelihood of confusion between the Respondent and the Complainant created by both the disputed domain name and the nature of the services offered on the Respondent’s web site; and that the disputed domain name was registered with the intent to profit from such confusion and that therefore its registration and continued use is in bad faith.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The disputed domain name contains the Complainant’s trade mark in its entirety and is only distinguished by the addition of the words “assetmanagement”, words with strong associations to the Complainant’s core business. The disputed domain name is therefore clearly identical or confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trade mark.

The Panel therefore finds that the Complainant has established the first element of paragraph 4(a) of the UDRP Policy.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

It is for the Complainant to establish, at least prima facie, that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name (Croatia Airlines d.d. v. Modern Empire Internet Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2003-0455; Belupo d.d. v. WACHEM d.o.o., WIPO Case No. D2004-0110). In this case, the Complainant alleges that the web site operating under the disputed domain name closely matches the scope of the Complainant’s core goods and services. In the Panel’s view, the fact that the Respondent is unauthorized to offer those goods and services to the public establishes at least prima facie the absence of any such rights or legitimate interests. The Respondent has tended no evidence to rebut this prima facie position.

The Panel therefore finds that the Complainant has established the second element of paragraph 4(a) of the UDRP Policy.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The strength of the likelihood of confusion in this case and the fact that the Respondent is not authorized to offer goods and services of the type that the Complainant claims that the Respondent has offered on its web site, together indicate prima facie that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith. The absence of a response means that these indications of bad faith have not been otherwise explained or rebutted.

The Panel therefore finds that the Complainant has established the third element of paragraph 4(a) of the UDRP 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 <skiptonassetmanagement.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Michael J. Spence
Sole Panelist
Dated: March 26, 2011

 

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