World Intellectual Property Organization

WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Comerica Incorporated v. ITWEB Domain Protection

Case No. D2012-1677

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Comerica Incorporated of Detroit, Michigan, United States of America (“USA”), represented by Bodman PLC, USA.

The Respondent is ITWEB Domain Protection of Panama City, Panama.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <conerica.com> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with SBSNames, Incorporated (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on August 21, 2012.

The Center transmitted its request for registrar verification to the Registrar on August 22, 2012. The Registrar replied the same day confirming that the Domain Name had been placed under a locked status and that the registration agreement was in English and included a submission to the jurisdiction of the courts in Kings County, Washington. The Registrar also provided the data held on its WhoIs database in respect of the Domain Name.

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 paragraphs 2(a) and 4(a) of the Rules, the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on August 29, 2012. In accordance with paragraph 5(a) of the Rules, the due date for Response was September 18, 2012. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on September 20, 2012.

The Center appointed Jonathan Turner as the sole panelist in this matter on September 27, 2012. The Panel has submitted the Statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality and Independence, as required by the Center to ensure compliance with paragraph 7 of the Rules. Having reviewed the case file, the Panel is satisfied that the Complaint complied with applicable formal requirements, was duly notified to the Respondent and has been submitted to a properly constituted Panel in accordance with the UDRP, the Rules and Supplemental Rules.

4. Factual Background

The Complainant is a financial services company with headquarters in Dallas, Texas. It provides banking services from premises in Texas, Arizona, California, Florida and Michigan, and operates businesses in several other states of the USA, Canada and Mexico. It supplies and promotes its services under the mark COMERICA which it has registered as a service mark on the USPTO Principal Register since September 20, 1983. It has its website at “www.comerica.com”.

The Domain Name was previously directed to a web page that displayed links to the Complainant’s website and various other websites. It currently resolves to varying websites that do not have any particular connection with the Complainant.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant contends that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to its mark COMERICA from which it differs only in the substitution of the letter “n” for the letter “m”. According to the Complainant, consumers seeking the Complainant’s website might type the Domain Name through typographical errors.

The Complainant submits that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name. The Complainant states that the Respondent has not used the Domain Name in connection with any bona fide offering of goods or services, that it is not commonly known by the Domain Name, that it is not making legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the Domain Name and that it has not been licensed by the Complainant to use the Domain Name.

Finally, the Complainant alleges that the Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith. The Complainant points out that it has used its COMERICA mark for 30 years and that it was well known before the Respondent registered the Domain Name. The Complainant contends that the Respondent is using the Domain Name intentionally to attract Internet users to its web page by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of this web page for commercial gain in the form of click-through commissions on sponsored links. The Complainant also alleges that the Respondent registered and is using the Domain Name in order to disrupt the Complainant’s business and misappropriate its goodwill.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

In accordance with paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, in order to succeed in this proceeding, the Complainant must prove (i) that the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a mark in which it has rights; (ii) that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name; and (iii) that the Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith. It is appropriate to consider each of these requirements in turn.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Panel finds on the evidence that the Complainant has registered and unregistered rights in the mark COMERICA.

The Panel further finds that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to this mark. As the Complainant points out, apart from the addition of the generic top level domain suffix, the Domain Name differs from the Complainant’s mark only in the substitution of the letter “n” for the letter “m” which could result from typographical error.

The Panel finds that the first requirement of the UDRP is satisfied.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Panel finds that the Respondent has not used or made preparations to use the Domain Name for any bona fide offering of goods or services. The Respondent’s only use of the Domain Name has been for a web page containing sponsored links to other websites or resolving to websites of unconnected third parties. The Panel does not regard this as a bona fide offering of goods or services.

The Panel also finds that the Respondent is not commonly known by the Domain Name and that it is not making any legitimate noncommercial or fair use of it. The Panel further accepts the unchallenged statement of the Complainant that it has not consented to the Respondent’s registration or use of the Domain Name.

On the evidence before the Panel, there is no other basis on which the Respondent could claim any right or legitimate interest in respect of the Domain Name. The Panel concludes that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name and that the second requirement of the UDRP is satisfied.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The Panel finds on the undisputed evidence that, by its use of the Domain Name, the Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract Internet users to its web page or other online locations for commercial gain by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s trademark as to their source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement.

In accordance with paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the UDRP, this constitutes evidence of registration and use of the Domain Name in bad faith.

There is no material in the file which displaces this presumption. Accordingly the Panel finds that the Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith. The third requirement of the UDRP is satisfied.

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 Domain Name, <conerica.com>, be transferred to the Complainant.

Jonathan Turner
Sole Panelist
Dated: October 10, 2012

 

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