WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Allstate Insurance Company v. Web Master Internet Services Private Limited
Case No. D2011-0308
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Allstate Insurance Company of Northbrook, Illinois, United States of America, represented by Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky & Popeo, P.C., United States of America.
The Respondent is Web Master Internet Services Private Limited of Maharashtra, India.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name, <allstateautoclub.com> (the “Domain Name”), is registered with Tirupati Domains and Hosting Pvt Ltd. (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on February 14, 2011 with regard to the domain names <allstatecar.com>, <allstaqte.com>, <encompassinsrance.com> and the Domain Name. It was one of a number of complaints filed by the Complainant in February 2011, all directed against PrivacyProtect.org, which was then the entity recorded on the relevant registrars’ databases as being the registrant of the domain names the subject of those complaints. On February 16, 2011, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain names. On February 21 and 25, 2011, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the disputed domain names which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on February 22, 2011 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 February 23, 2011. In the amended Complaint, the Complainant indicated its wish to withdraw the domain names <allstatecar.com>, <allstaqte.com>, and <encompassinsrance.com> from this proceeding and to consolidate those domain names in other ongoing proceedings.
The Center verified that 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 March 2, 2011. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was March 22, 2011. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on March 23, 2011.
The Center appointed Tony Willoughby as the sole panelist in this matter on March 31, 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.
While PrivacyProtect.org was properly identified as the Respondent in respect of the Domain Name in the original Complaint, it seems clear that it was a privacy service employed by the Respondent and that the Respondent has been the underlying registrant throughout. In these circumstances, for the purpose of this proceeding, the Panel treats the Respondent as having been the sole registrant of the Domain Name.
4. Factual Background
The unchallenged evidence of the Complainant is that it is a very well-known insurance company, which has operated throughout the United States of America under the name Allstate since its founding in 1931.
The Complainant is the registered proprietor of numerous United States trade mark registrations of or including ALLSTATE, one of which is United States registration number 717,683 dated June 27, 1961 with a claimed first use in 1957, ALLSTATE in class 36 for various underwriting services.
The Domain Name was registered on February 14, 2007. The Domain Name is connected to a pay-per-click parking page featuring advertising links mainly to insurance service providers and their products.
On December 10, 2010 the Complainant wrote to the Respondent’s privacy service, which was then identified as the registrant. The Complainant drew attention to its rights and inter alia demanded transfer of the Domain Name. Neither the privacy service nor the Respondent replied.
The Respondent has been the subject of several previous complaints under the Policy and has been found to have registered and used domain names in bad faith.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to trade marks in which the Complainant has rights, that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name and that the Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
According to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, for this Complaint to succeed in relation to the Domain Name, the Complainant must prove each of the following, namely that:
(i) The Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trade mark 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 was registered and is being used in bad faith.
It will be noted that this decision and the decisions in Allstate Insurance Company v. Rakshita Mercantile Private Limited, WIPO Case No. D2011-0280 and Allstate Insurance Company v. Bolama Technologies Limited, Mr Bolama, WIPO Case No. D2011-0307 are in similar form to the decision in Allstate Insurance Company v. Cyber Domain Services Pvt. Ltd, WIPO Case No. D2011-0258. As will be seen from the Procedural Background (Section 3 above), these cases arise in very similar circumstances and the complaints are in very similar form.
B. Identical or Confusingly Similar
In assessing identity and confusing similarity for the purposes of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy it is permissible for the Panel to ignore the generic domain suffix. Absent the domain suffix the Domain Name comprises the Complainant’s ALLSTATE trade mark with the addition of the words “auto” and “club”. The additional words do nothing to affect the distinctiveness of the Complainant’s trade mark. There is no reason to suppose that the Complainant might not have an auto club or indeed be promoting a car insurance product under that name.
The Panel finds that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to a trade mark in which the Complainant has rights.
C. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant’s primary contention is that the Respondent intentionally selected the Domain Name for one reason only, namely the fact that it so closely replicates the Complainant’s well-known trade mark and with a view to attracting Internet users to the Respondent’s website for the commercial gain offered by the pay-per-click advertising links to be found there.
The Complainant recites the examples of what shall constitute rights or legitimate interests for this purpose as set out in paragraph 4(c) of the Policy and contends that none of them is applicable. The Complainant asserts that it has never given the Respondent any permission to use its trade marks or any variants thereof.
In the view of the Panel the Complainant has made out a strong prima facie case. The Complainant has produced persuasive evidence to establish that its ALLSTATE trade mark is well-known in the United States and none of that evidence has been challenged. Moreover it is evident from the content of the website to which the Domain Name is connected that whoever is responsible for the pay-per-click links to be found there must be well aware of the fame of the Complainant in the insurance industry. At the very least, the Respondent has a case to answer.
In the absence of any response the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name.
D. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
By the same reasoning and in the absence of any explanation from the Respondent the Panel finds that the Respondent selected the Domain Name with a view to earning pay-per-click revenue from visitors to its website, those visitors having been attracted to the Respondent’s website by the potential for deception inherent in the Domain Name, namely its confusing similarity with the Complainant’s primary trade mark.
On the evidence before it, none of which has been challenged by the Respondent, the Panel finds that the Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith within the meaning of paragraph 4(b)(iv) 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 Domain Name, <allstateautoclub.com>, be transferred to the Complainant.
Dated: April 1, 2011