WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc v. Secret Registration Customer ID 232883 / Lauren Terrado
Case No. D2012-2093
The Complainant is The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc of Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, represented by Melbourne IT Digital Brand Services, Sweden.
The Respondent is Secret Registration Customer ID 232883 / Lauren Terrado of Manchester, New Hampshire, United States of America and Mission Viejo, California, United States of America, respectively.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <rbn-sonlineukshore.com> is registered with Dynamic Network Services, Inc. (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on October 22, 2012. On October 22, 2012, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. The Registrar initially responded on October 23, 2012, that the Registrant’s account had “been terminated for violation of our Acceptable Use Policy”. On November 8, 2012 the Registrar clarified that, “Because we believe that the domain name in question has been used for fraudulent purposes, we have blocked the account”. On November 9, 2012, 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 November 12, 2012, 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 amendment to the Complaint on November 12, 2012.
The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amendment to 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 November 13, 2012. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was December 3, 2012. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on December 7, 2012.
The Center appointed Michael J. Spence as the sole panelist in this matter on December 18, 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 one of the oldest banks in the United Kingdom and operates under the trade mark RBS throughout the world. The Respondent has used the disputed domain name from time to time to operate a website identical to that of the Complainant for the purpose of “phishing” for financial information in an attempt to defraud the Complainant’s customers.
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 it 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 disputed domain name contains all three letters of the Complainant’s trade mark, albeit the second and third letters are separated by the characters “n-” . The additional material “onlineukshore” or “online”, “UK” and “shore” can be disregarded as essentially descriptive. However, as the Complainant contends, the addition of the geographical term “UK” may be taken to suggest a connection with the Complainant as it is a U.K. based company.
The essential question, therefore, is whether “rbn-s” is identical or confusingly similar to the trade mark RBS, especially in light of the strength of the Complainant’s reputation in the trade mark. Given that the Respondent has been using the disputed domain name for a “phishing” website, that is for the purpose of obtaining information from Internet users believing themselves to be dealing with the Complainant, it must be the case that even the Respondent itself regards the disputed domain name as confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trade marks. While the content of the website is not strictly relevant to an assessment of confusing similarity, an effective “phishing” site must, of necessity, entail consumer confusion and so lend weight to a finding of confusing similarity.
The Panel therefore finds that the Complainant has established the first element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy in relation to the disputed domain name.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
It is for the Complainant to establish, at least a prima facie case, that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names (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 Respondent has apparently not traded under any name corresponding to the disputed domain name and has only used the disputed domain name to operate a “phishing” website.
The Panel therefore finds that the Complainant has established the second element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy in relation to the disputed domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Use of a disputed domain name for the purpose of defrauding Internet users by the operation of a “phishing” website is perhaps the clearest evidence of registration and use of a domain name in bad faith. The fact that the website is currently inactive does not negate such a finding. This is further supported, in the absence of any Response, by the Registrar’s termination of the Respondent’s account on the basis of violation of its terms and service and suspected fraud.
The Panel therefore finds that the Complainant has established the third element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy in relation to the disputed domain name.
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 <rbn-sonlineukshore.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Michael J. Spence
Dated: December 19, 2012