World Intellectual Property Organization

WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Beijing Qunar Information Technology Co., Ltd. v. Premium Registration Service / Zheng ZhongXing

Case No. D2013-0281

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Beijing Qunar Information Technology Co., Ltd. of Beijing, China, represented by O'Melveny & Myers, LLP, United States of America.

The Respondent is Premium Registration Service / Zheng ZhongXing, of Singapore and Fuzhou Fujian, China, respectively.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <quner.com> is registered with IP Mirror Pte Ltd (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on February 8, 2013. On February 11, 2013, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On February 19, 2013, 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 February 19, 2013, 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 February 21, 2013.

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 February 22, 2013. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was March 14, 2013. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on March 15, 2013.

The Center appointed Dr. Hong Xue, Christopher J. Pibus and Yong Li as panelists in this matter on April 10, 2013. The Panel finds that it was properly constituted. Each member of 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 provides online travel services via its website “www.qunar.com”. Its mark QUNAR.COM has been used since 2005. The Complainant has acquired eight Chinese trademark registrations for QUNAR.COM (and device) since 2009. The Complainant carries on business as a leading provider of on-line travel services in China.

The disputed domain name <quner.com> was registered on September 1, 2005.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name <quner.com> is confusingly similar to the trademark QUNAR.COM, the registration and use of which by the Complainant precede the registration of the disputed domain name.

The Complainant contends that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.

The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.

The Complainant requests that the disputed domain name be transferred to it.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

Pursuant to the Policy, paragraph 4(a)(i), a complainant must prove that the domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights. In line with such requirement, a complainant must prove its trademark rights and the similarity between the domain name and its trademark.

The Panel notes that the Complainant registered eight QUNAR.COM (and device) trademarks with the Chinese Trademark Office in 2009. The Complainant therefore has rights in the registered figurative trademark QUNAR.COM. Since the characters “Qunar.Com” are both distinctive and clearly recognizable from the design mark, the Panel finds that the Complainant is entitled to claim trademark rights in the words “Qunar.Com”. The Complainant’s trademark registrations therefore satisfy the threshold requirement of having trademark rights under the Policy, paragraph 4(a)(i).

The disputed domain name is <quner.com>, which is hardly distinguishable as a whole from the Complainant’s trademark QUNAR.COM, irrespective of the one letter difference from “a” to “e” in the view of the Panel. The visual and phonetic similarity between the two are obvious.

The Panel therefore finds that the disputed domain name <quner.com> is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark QUNAR.COM. Accordingly, the Complainant has proven the first element required by paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Complainant asserts that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name <quner.com> and, as stated above, the Respondent did not provide any information or evidence to the Panel to assert or explain the basis for any rights or legitimate interests it may have in the disputed domain name.

It is apparent from the Complaint that there is no connection between the Respondent and the Complainant or its business. Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy lists a number of circumstances which can be taken to demonstrate a respondent’s rights or legitimate interests in a domain name. However, there is no evidence before the Panel that any of the situations described in paragraph 4(c) of the Policy apply here. To the contrary, the lack of a Response leads the Panel to draw a negative inference.

Therefore, and also in light of the Panel’s findings below, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name <quner.com>. Accordingly, the Complainant has proven the second element required by paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The Complainant contends that the Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith. The Respondent did not respond.

Through examining the evidence submitted, the Panel notes that the disputed domain name is being used to redirect to the website at “www.ctrip.com”, which is the primary competitor to the Complainant in the Chinese online travel service market.

The use of a disputed domain name that is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s mark to attract consumers to a website that is offering services identical with, or similar to, the Complainant’s is highly likely to cause confusion as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of that website. This is a significant hallmark of bad faith use.

The Panel, for the following reasons, finds also the Respondent’s bad faith in registration of the disputed domain name:

(a) The Panel notes that the Complainant registered the domain name <qunar.com> on May 9, 2005, and commenced providing online travel services through “www.qunar.com” from September 2005, while the disputed domain name was registered on September 1, 2005.

(b) Although the Complainant did not activate its website “www.qunar.com” until September 2005, QUNAR.COM had been publicized and advertised as both the Complainant’s domain name and brand name before the disputed domain name was registered on September 1, 2005. Given that the disputed domain name was actually used to redirect to the Complainant’s competitor’s website, it can hardly be a coincidence for the Respondent to choose to register a domain name that is so confusingly similar to the Complainant’s pre-announced brand name.

(c) The fact that the Respondent is providing exactly the same type of on-line travel services as the Complainant provides in the Chinese market. The Panel notes that the parties are located in China, therefore it seems that the Respondent was aware of the Complainant’s business when it registered the disputed domain name.

(d) Although use of a privacy or proxy registration service is not in and of itself an indication of bad faith, the manner in which such service is used can in certain circumstances constitute a factor indicating bad faith. In these circumstances, the fact that the disputed domain name was registered anonymously and protected by Premium Registration Service is consistent with bad faith in this Panel’s view.

In the absence of any evidence from the Respondent, the Panel finds that these circumstances are adequate to conclude that the Respondent has registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith under the Policy, paragraph 4(b)(iv). Therefore, the Complainant has successfully proven the third element required by paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.

7. Decision

For all 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 <quner.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Dr. Hong Xue
Presiding Panelist

Christopher J. Pibus
Panelist

Yong Li
Panelist

Date: April 24, 2013

 

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