WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
BARCLAYS BANK PLC v. PrivacyProtect.org, Sanjay Jha
Case No. D2011-1014
1. The Parties
The Complainant is BARCLAYS BANK PLC of London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, represented by Pinsent Masons LLP, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The Respondent is PrivacyProtect.org of Queensland, Australia and Sanjay Jha of Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <barclays-bank-credit-cards.com> is registered with Directi Internet Solutions Pvt. Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on June 15, 2011. On June 16, 2011, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On June 17, 2011, 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 the Complainant on June 23, 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 June 28, 2011.
On June 27, the Center sent an email to the parties regarding the expiry of the disputed domain. The disputed domain name expires on September 21, 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 June 30, 2011. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was July 20, 2011. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on July 22, 2011.
The Center appointed Thomas Hoeren as the sole panelist in this matter on July 27, 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 Barclays Bank PLC, a major global financial services provider engaged in retail banking, credit cards, corporate banking, investment banking, wealth management and investment management services with an international presence in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia. The Complainant's business comprises four wholly owned Business Units: UK Retail Banking, Barclaycard, Barclays Africa and Western Europe Retail Banking. Barclaycard is a multi-brand credit card and consumer lending business that also processes card payments for retailers and merchants, and issues credit and charge cards to corporate customers and the United Kingdom (“U.K.“) government.
The Complainant is the registered proprietor of a variety of U.K. registered and Community registered trade marks BARCLAYS in a range of classes including in relation to financial services. The Complainant is the registrant of a portfolio of domain names including <barclays.co.uk>, which was registered prior to August 1996, and <barclays.com>, which was registered on November 23, 1993.
The disputed domain name was registered on September 21, 2009.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that:
1. The disputed domain name is substantially similar to the Complainant’s trademark BARCLAYS.
2. The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.
3. The disputed domain name resolves to a website seeded with “junk” banking-related text and contains finance related sponsored links that relate to competing products and services to those offered by the Complainant. The disputed domain name is being used to redirect Internet traffic intended for the Complainant away from the Complainant and to competitors’ products and services, with the intention to generate income for the Respondent. The Respondents registered the disputed 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 disputed 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 disputed domain name and click one of the sponsored links on the website the Respondents generate revenue directly from the initial interest arising from the use of the name BARCLAYS in the disputed domain name.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 15(a) of the Rules instructs the Panel as to the principles to use in determining the dispute: “A Panel shall decide a complaint on the basis of the statements and documents submitted in accordance with the Policy, these Rules and any rules and principles of law that it seems applicable.”
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy states that, for the Complaint to be granted, the Complainant must prove each of the following:
(i) that the disputed domain name registered by the Respondent is identical or confusingly similar to the trademarks or service marks in which the Complainant has rights; and
(ii) that the Respondent has no rights or no legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and
(iii) that the disputed domain name has been registered and is used in bad faith
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant's trademarks since it fully incorporates Complainant's trademarks adding only the necessary generic top level domain of “.com” and the generic terms “credit” and “cards”, which do not add the required level of distinctiveness in regards to this element. The addition of the generic word “bank” does not avoid confusion or distinguish the disputed domain name from the mark BARCLAYS. In fact, since the word “bank” describes the Complainant’s core services, the addition of this word is more likely to increase confusion (see Barclays Bank PLC v. Arthur Kulik / Whois Privacy Protection Service, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2010-1992, regarding the domain name <barclayskbank.com>). The Panel therefore finds that the Complainant has satisfied Paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Respondent has not filed any Response to the Complaint. Consequently, the Respondent has not alleged any facts or elements to providing a showing of prior rights or legitimate interests of the disputed domain name. As such, the Respondent has failed to rebut the Complainant's prima facie showing of the Respondent's lack of rights or legitimate interests, including, inter alia, that the Complainant does not appear to have authorized the Respondent to use its trademarks and in particular to register a domain name composed of the Complainant's trademarks. The Panel finds that the Complainant has satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy sets out that certain circumstances that may, “in particular but without limitation”, be evidence of bad faith. It had to be taken into consideration that the Respondent incorporated the entire trade marks BARCLAYS or BARCLAYS BANK in the disputed domain name. According to the uncontested allegations of the Complainant, the Respondent has, at the relevant time, used the webpage at the disputed domain name to provide sponsored links to other websites, which include those of the Complainant’s competitors. These facts lead to a strong presumption that the Respondent had registered the disputed domain name for the specific intention of attracting, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the Respondent’s website. The Panel has reviewed the website at the disputed domain name in question. It contains the following text:
“Welcome to barclays-bank-credit-cards.com, where you would get all the important info about Barclay creditcard, Barclay bank credit cards, Barclays bank card and Barclays credit cards. By reading this useful info on Barclays credit cards and Barclay creditcard, you can easily get Barclays credit card and would not face any hassles.”
Thus, the Respondent obviously continues to use the disputed domain name in question to mislead possible customers of the Complainant. There is a very high likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s mark as to the source of the website. Thereby, the Panel finds that the Respondent intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to his website and the Complainant has satisfied paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.
For the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the domain name <barclays-bank-credit-cards.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Dated: July 30, 2011