WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Hotwire, Inc. v. Webatopia Marketing Limited
Case No. D2012-1985
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Hotwire, Inc. of San Francisco, California, United States of America (“U.S.”) represented by Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP, U.S.
The Respondent is Webatopia Marketing Limited of Isle of Man, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (“U.K.”).
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <houtwire.com> is registered with GoDaddy.com, LLC (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the ”Center”) on October 9, 2012. On October 9, 2012, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On October 10, 2012, the Registrar 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 October 11, 2012. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was October 31, 2012. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on November 1, 2012.
The Center appointed Michael Spence as the sole panelist in this matter on November 9, 2012. 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 an operating company of Expedia, Inc, "the largest online travel company in the world." It has been operating since 2000 and offers websites directed at consumers all over the globe. It has made extensive use of its trade marks associated with the word “hotwire”. The Respondent has: operated a website under the disputed domain name that includes sponsored links to websites of third parties; used the disputed domain to lead users to a Google search for the disputed domain name; and used the disputed domain name to direct Internet users to the Complainant's site. The use of the disputed domain name by the Respondent has never been authorised by the Complainant.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to its trade marks; that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name; and that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Respondent has apparently been involved in a number of panel decisions involving so-called “typosquatting”, disputed domain names that vary from a well known trade mark by minor lexicographical variations. In this case the disputed domain name and the Complainant's trade marks differ only by the addition of one letter, and that single letter has insignificant phonetic effect. In this case there can be no doubt that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the Complainant's trade marks.
For this reason the Panel finds that the Complainant has established the first element of Paragraph 4(a) of the UDRP Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
It is for the Complainant to establish, at least prima facie, that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name (Croatia Airlines d.d. v. Modern Empire Internet Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2003-0455; Belupod.d. v. WACHEM d.o.o., WIPO Case No. D2004-0110).
In this case the use of the disputed domain name by the Respondent cannot constitute bona fide use for the purposes of the Policy. The disputed domain name has been used: to direct Internet users to a site containing sponsored links with no obvious association with the disputed domain name; to direct users to a Google search for the disputed domain name; and to direct them to the Complainant's website and suggests that the Respondent was aware of the possibility for confusion between the disputed domain name and the Complainant's trade marks. None of these uses can create rights or legitimate interests.
For this reason the Panel finds that the Complainant has established the second element of Paragraph 4(a) of the UDRP Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The combination in this case of use for apparent commercial gain in the promotion of sponsored links, and evident awareness by the Respondent of the possibility for confusion, constitute a clear case of bad faith. This is a classic case of “typosquatting”.
For this reason the Panel finds that the Complainant has established the third element of Paragraph 4(a) of the UDRP Policy.
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 <houtwire.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Michael J. Spence
Dated: November 23, 2012