World Intellectual Property Organization

WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

The American Automobile Association, Inc. v. Huang Li Technology Corp c/o Dynadot Privacy

Case No. D2011-1755

1. The Parties

Complainant is The American Automobile Association, Inc. of Heathrow, Florida, United States of America, represented by Covington & Burling, United States.

Respondent is Huang Li Technology Corp c/o Dynadot Privacy of San Mateo, California, United States.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <aaaforinsurance.com> is registered with Dynadot, LLC.

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on October 14, 2011. On October 14, 2011, the Center transmitted by email to Dynadot, LLC a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On October 15, 2011, Dynadot, LLC transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on November 1, 2011. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was November 21, 2011. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on November 22, 2011.

The Center appointed Sandra A. Sellers as the sole panelist in this matter on December 5, 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 American Automobile Association, Inc (“AAA”) has used the mark AAA in commerce since at least 1902 for its insurance services, including automobile, home, life and travel insurance, and placing insurance with underwriters. It has federally registered marks for such insurance services, issued as early as May 1967. AAA also holds international trademarks in various countries and Community trademarks.

Complainant also registered and uses <aaa.com> and related domain names to promote its products and services, including insurance. The domain name <aaa.com> was registered August 3, 1990.

According to the public WhoIs database, the disputed domain name was created on August 27, 2009.

In June 2011, Complainant learned of Respondent’s disputed domain name and on June 14, 2011. Complainant sent Respondent a cease and desist letter. Respondent failed to respond. On July 11, 2011, Complainant sent a second cease and desist letter to Respondent, which again received no response. The Complaint for this UDRP administrative proceeding was filed on October 14, 2011.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

Complainant alleges that its mark is valuable and famous, based on extensive history of selling insurance products and services, and the advertising, promotion, and sales of these products and services. Complainant alleges that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark because it consists of Complainant’s mark AAA its entirety, combined with the generic words “for” and “insurance.” Complainant further alleges that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, and that it registered and uses the disputed domain name in bad faith.

B. Respondent

Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy provides that in order to divest a respondent of a disputed domain name, a complainant must demonstrate each of the following:

(i) the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which complainant has rights; and

(ii) the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and

(iii) the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

As set forth above, Complainant has used the mark AAA in commerce since at least 1902 for its insurance products and services, including automobile, home, life and travel insurance, and placing insurance with underwriters. It has federally registered marks for such insurance products and services, issued as early as May 1967. Complainant also holds international trademarks in various countries and Community trademarks. Consequently, the Panel finds that Complainant has rights in the marks alleged to be contained in the disputed domain name.

Complainant also registered and uses <aaa.com> and related domain names to promote its products and services, including insurance. The domain name <aaa.com> was registered August 3, 1990.

The disputed domain name <aaaforinsurance.com> was created on August 27, 2009. The disputed domain name incorporates Complainant’s mark in its entirety, with the addition of the generic words “for” and “insurance.” Many panels have held that the addition of a generic term does not sufficiently distinguish a disputed domain name from a complainant’s mark as to avoid confusing similarity with a complainant’s mark. Respondent’s website contains links to various other websites that sell insurance products and services, including some of Complainant’s competitors, which accentuates the confusing similarity.

In particular, this dispute is strikingly similar to three previous WIPO UDRP decisions in which the disputed domain names incorporated the AAA mark and the generic word “insurance.” See The American Automobile Association, Inc. v Rami Smair, WIPO Case No. D2009-0294 (<insurance-aaa.com>); The American Automobile Association Inc. v. Insurance Express.com Inc., Gene Graceffo, WIPO Case No. D2010-0196 (<aaaautoinsurance.com>); and The American Automobile Association Inc. v Wanjun Li, WIPO Case No. D2010-1481 (<aaaautoinsurance.net>). In these three decisions and seven other WIPO decisions involving the AAA mark (but for non-insurance products), the panels found that the AAA mark was well-known and the domain names were confusingly similar to the AAA mark. Several federal courts cited by Complainant also have found that the AAA mark is well-known.

Accordingly, the Panel finds that Complainant has rights in the mark and that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark. Complainant has established the first element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy that it must prove.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

Because it is generally difficult for a complainant to prove the fact that a respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in a disputed domain name, previous UDRP decisions have found it sufficient for a complainant to make a prima facie showing of its assertion.

Respondent is not affiliated with or related to Complainant, nor is Respondent licensed or authorized to use the AAA marks. On the evidence before the Panel, Respondent does not appear to make any legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name. The Panel is satisfied that Complainant has made a prima facie showing of Respondent’s lack of rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

Respondent is in default, and has not provided any evidence in its own favor.

The Panel finds that the evidence is sufficient to establish that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, and thus Complainant meets the second criterion of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

It can be inferred that Respondent had actual or constructive knowledge of Complainant’s mark when it registered the disputed domain name, due to the wide-spread recognition of the AAA mark and extensive sales and promotion of its insurance services. Consistent with the previously cited WIPO UDRP decisions involving the AAA mark, this Panel therefore finds that the disputed domain name was registered in bad faith.

Under paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy, the Panel may find that a respondent has used a disputed domain name in bad faith if “[respondent] has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to [respondent’s] website or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of [respondent’s] web site or location or of a product or service on [respondent’s] web site or location”. It is now a well-known practice to display on a web page or search engine various links to other commercial websites under a pay-per-click commission scheme: every link activated by an Internet user enables the host to collect financial remuneration proportional to the number of connections. See, e.g., Deutsche Telekom AG v. WWW Enterprise, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2004-1078. Here, the disputed domain name resolves to a website that contains links for

insurance services, including Complainant’s competitors, all for the commercial benefit of Respondent. Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name clearly is an attempt to create confusion to attract Internet users to Respondent’s website for commercial gain from click-through revenue. See also The American Automobile Association, Inc. v. Above.com Domain Privacy / Transure Enterprise Ltd, WIPO Case No. D2010-0565 (“[T]he use of a confusingly similar domain name to lure Internet users to a site hosting links to providers of competing products or services is prima facie evidence of bad faith.”)

This Panel finds that Respondent has registered and uses the disputed domain name in bad faith, within the meaning of paragraph 4(b)(ii) and 4(b)(iv) of the Policy and that Complainant meets the third criterion of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.

7. Decision

For the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the disputed domain name <aaaforinsurance.com> be transferred to Complainant.

Sandra A. Sellers
Sole Panelist
Dated: December 16, 2011

 

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