WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Verizon Trademark Services LLC v. Zx Domains c/o Sezar Sak
Case No. D2011-0419
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Verizon Trademark Services LLC of Virginia, United States of America, represented internally.
The Respondent is Zx Domains c/o Sezar Sak of Istanbul, Turkey.
2. The Domain Names and Registrar
The Domain Names <cerizonwireless.com>; <veriazonwireless.com>; <verizonvisaonline.com>; <verizonwoireless.com>; <verizonworeless.com>; <verizpnwireless.com>; <verizxon.com> and <veruizonwireless.com> ("the Domain Names") are registered with eNom.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on March 3, 2011. On March 4, 2011, the Center transmitted by email to eNom. a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Names. On March 4, 2011, eNom transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details.
The Center verified that the 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 15, 2011. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was April 4, 2011. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on April 5, 2011.
The Center appointed Dawn Osborne as the sole panelist in this matter on April 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 the owner of registered trade marks in many countries including Turkey and the United States for VERIZON for communications and entertainment products and services and has used this mark in relation to the same since 2000. It has registered VERIZON WIRELESS as a trade mark in the United States and has also used the same since 2000.
The Respondent is based in Turkey and the Domain Names were registered in 2006 and 2008.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The submissions of the Complainant can be summarised as follows:
The Verizon Communications group of companies are among the world's leading providers of communications, entertainment, IT and security solutions to residential, business, wholesale and government wireline and wireless customers. Verizon Communications generated consolidated operating revenues of more than USD106 billion in 2010. Verizon Wireless owns and operates the United States's largest wireless carrier serving 101.1 million voice and data customers. The Verizon companies have offered and provided a full array of communications and entertainment products and services under the trade mark and trade name VERIZON since 2000 in the United States and across the world. The main web sites of the Verizon Companies have been accessible at “www.verizon.com” since June 2000, at “www.verizonwireless.com” since April 2000 and at “www.verizonbusiness.com” since January 2006. The Verizon companies also offer Internet customers a portal web site entitled "Verizon Central" accessible via “www.verizon.net”. Verizon affiliates have spent many billions of dollars since 2000 advertising and promoting Verizon products throughout the world.
The VERIZON trade mark is an inherently distinctive, famous and commercially strong mark entitled to an extremely broad scope of protection. As well as registered rights in VERIZON in many countries including Turkey and the United States, the Verizon companies also have a registration for VERIZON WIRELESS in the United States and have also established common law rights acquired through the substantial and continuous use and promotion of the VERIZON and VERIZON WIRELESS marks by the Verizon companies since April 2000. The Complainant owns a family of VERIZON marks including VERIZON AVENUE, VERIZON BUSINESS, VERIZON FIOS and VERIZON FREEDOM which are uniquely associated with the Verizon Companies.
The Respondent registered the Domain Name after Verizon affiliates started using the VERIZON mark, after the registrations of the mark became effective and after it became famous.
The Domain Names are confusingly similar to the Complainant's VERIZON marks. The Domain Names are either misspellings of VERIZON or VERIZON WIRELESS or, in one case simply add the trade marked term “visa” and the generic term "online" to VERIZON.
The Respondent has intentionally attempted to divert, for commercial gain, Internet users to its web sites, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the VERIZON marks as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation and endorsement of its web sites.
<cerizonwireless.com> and <verizpnwireless.com> are inactive.
<veriazonwireless.com>, <verizonworeless.com> and <verizonwoireless.com> redirect to <wirelesstophone.com> offering links to third party websites.
<verizonvisaonline.com> redirects to <mycapitalonrcard.com> offering links to third party websites.
<verixzon.com> redirects to the official website “www.verizon.com”.
The Panelist also notes that Veruizonwireless.com also appears to be inactive although the use for it is not mentioned in the Complainant's submissions.
Verizon has obtained permission from the owner of the VISA trade mark to obtain transfer of <verizonvisaonline.com> if transferred in this proceeding.
The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Names. It has no connection with the Verizon Companies, has no consent to use the VERIZON marks and does not have trade mark rights in the same. The Respondent has registered the variations of the VERIZON marks to capitalise on the consumer recognition of the famous VERIZON marks and to draw Internet users to its own sites. The use is not fair use.
The Domain Names were registered and are being used in bad faith. They are obviously indicative of the VERIZON marks that by registering them with knowledge of Verizon's rights the Respondent registered them in bad faith.
The Respondent is a known cybersquatter with three reported UDRP decisions confirming the Respondent's cybersquatting activities. The Respondent's multiple registrations of VERIZON marks further demonstrates bad faith registration and use. The Respondent has also registered many other domain names that infringe upon the rights of famous brands including American Express, Citibank and Capital One just to give a few examples.
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 Domain Names are 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 Domain Names; and
- The Domain Names have been registered and are being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has registered rights for VERIZON in Turkey and many countries around the world. It has registered VERIZON WIRELESS as a trade mark in the United States for telecommunications services. The Verizon companies have used VERIZON and VERIZON WIRELESS in many countries worldwide since 2000.
<verizonvisaonline.com> consists of the Complainant’' s VERIZON registered mark and additional words "visa" and "online", which do not serve to distinguish <verizonvisaonline.com> from the Complainant's trade mark (the generic “.com” top level domain being ignored for the purposes of the Policy).
<cerizonwireless.com>, <veruizonwireless.com>, <verizpnwireless.com>, <veriazonwireless.com>, <verizonworeless.com> and <verizonwoireless.com> are all misspellings of the Complainant's registered mark VERIZON WIRELESS. <cerizonwireless.com>, <veruizonwireless.com>, <verizpnwireless.com> and <veriazonwireless.com> are also all misspellings of the Complainant's registered mark VERIZON coupled with "wireless" which is generic for the communications industry. Verizxon.com is a misspelling of the Complainant's registered trade mark VERIZON.
As such all of the Domain Names are confusingly similar to a trade mark or trade marks 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 "Verizon" or to be commonly known by this name and does not have any consent from the Complainant to use the Verizon name. The Panel is satisfied that the Complainant has made a prima facie case that the Respondent does not have any rights and legitimate interests. This prima facie case was not rebutted by the Respondent. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Names.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
At the time the Complaint was filed <cerizonwireless.com> and <verizpnwireless.com> were inactive.
<veriazonwireless.com>, <verizonworeless.com> and <verizonwoireless.com> redirected to wirelesstophone.com offering links to third party websites.
<verizonvisaonline.com> redirected to <mycapitalonrcard.com> offering links to third party websites.
<verixzon.com> redirected to the official website “www.verizon.com”.
The Panel also notes that Veruizonwireless.com also appears to be inactive although the use for it is not mentioned in the Complainant's submissions.
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 web site 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 web site or location or of a product or service on its web site or location.
It does appear that in the case of the <veriazonwireless.com>, <verizonworeless.com>, <verizonwoireless.com> and <verizonvisaonline.com> the Respondent has attempted to attract and cause confusion amongst Internet users between the Complainant’s marks and the Respondent's web sites attached to those domain names and the goods and services offered via the third party links on the sites attached to those domain names for commercial gain.
It also appears that the Respondent has been found to have registered and used in bad faith several other domain names containing the trade marks of third parties under the UDRP and owns many more containing either the famous trademarks or misspellings of the famous trade marks of third parties. There are, of course, in this case alone eight examples of misspellings of the Complainant's trade marks. Typosquatting has been accepted to be bad faith under the Policy, just as well as classic cybersquatting or the registration of domain names consisting of or containing correct spellings of famous trade marks of third parties. In this Panel’s view there appears to be no doubt that the Respondent is a serial cybersquatter and typosquatter and he has taken no steps to refute these allegations having submitted no Response in these proceedings.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Domain Names have been registered and used in bad faith.
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 names <cerizonwireless.com>; <veriazonwireless.com>; <verizonvisaonline.com>; <verizonwoireless.com>; <verizonworeless.com>; <verizpnwireless.com>; <verizxon.com> and <veruizonwireless.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: April 25, 2011