WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

LinkedIn Corporation v. Daphne Reynolds

Case No. D2015-1679

1. The Parties

The Complainant is LinkedIn Corporation of Mountain View, California, United States of America ("United States"), represented by The GigaLaw, Douglas M. Isenberg, Attorney at Law, LLC, United States.

The Respondent is Daphne Reynolds of New Delhi, India.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <linkedlnjobs.com> (the "Domain Name") is registered with BigRock Solutions Pvt Ltd. (the "Registrar").

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on September 22, 2015. On September 22, 2015, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On September 23, 2015, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the Respondent's 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 and 4, the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on October 2, 2015. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was October 22, 2015. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on October 26, 2015.

The Center appointed Geert Glas as the sole panelist in this matter on November 2, 2015. 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

Based on the Complainant's assertions, supported by the documents enclosed as annexes to the Complaint, and undisputed by the Respondent because of its default, the Panel finds the following:

The Complainant is LinkedIn Corporation, a company founded in 2003 and existing under the laws of the state of Delaware, and the world's largest professional network on the Internet with more than 347 million members worldwide. The Complainant is the registrant of numerous domain names, including <linkedin.com>, which it registered on November 2, 2002, and which it uses in connection with its primary website. According to Alexa (which operates a website ranking system that tracks over 30 million websites worldwide), the Complainant's website at "www.linkedin.com" is the 14th most popular website in the world.

The Complainant is the owner of an extensive number of trademark registrations worldwide that consist of or include the mark LINKEDIN, including several in the United States. The oldest of these trademark registrations are registered for "online business networking services". Others are registered for, among other things, "providing online career networking services and information in the fields of employment, recruitment, job resources and job listings". The Complainant's first trademark registrations in the United States for the LINKEDIN trademark were issued on March 28, 2006.

According to the registrar's WHOIS database, the Respondent has registered the Domain Name on November 14, 2014. The Domain Name contains the LINKEDIN trademark in its entirety, with a single typographical variation (substitution of the letter "l" for the second letter "i"), and the addition of the word "jobs". From the Panel's own research it is apparent that the website associated with the Domain Name simply redirects to the Complainant's own website "www.linkedin.com".

According to the Complainant, the Respondent uses the Domain Name as part of an employment/phishing scam, in which the Respondent, impersonating the Complainant, sends fraudulent offers of employment via email using the Domain Name as the return address. In these emails, recipients are asked to submit "Interview Security Fees" prior to a job interview.

5. Parties' Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant requests that the Domain Name be transferred to it on the following grounds:

(i) The Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights

The Complainant contends that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to the LINKEDIN trademarks. The Complainant contends in this respect that the second-level portion of the Domain Name contains the LINKEDIN trademark in its entirety, with a single typographical variation. Both the substitution of the letter "l" in the Domain Name for the second letter "i", especially considering the similar visual appearance between these two letters, and the addition of the word "jobs" in the Domain Name do nothing to alleviate any confusing similarity, and in fact may increase confusing similarity. Indeed, the use of the descriptive term "jobs" in the Domain Name increases the likelihood of confusion to consumers as the term "jobs" is descriptive of the services advertised by the Complainant and promoted by the Respondent using the Domain Name.

(ii) The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interest in respect of the Domain Name

The Complainant contends that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name, since the Complainant has never assigned, granted, licensed, sold, transferred or in any way authorized the Respondent to register or use the LINKEDIN trademark in any manner.

The Complainant further contends that (i) the Respondent has failed to create a bona fide offering of goods or services by using the Domain Name in connection with an employment/phishing scam; (ii) the Respondent has never been commonly known by the Domain Name and has never acquired any trademark or service mark rights in the Domain Name; and that (iii) the Respondent's actions are clearly commercial by using the Domain Name in connection with an employment/phishing scam, and therefore the Respondent can neither demonstrate nor establish rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name.

In addition, the Complainant contends that, given the Complainant's use of the LINKEDIN trademark for 12 years and its numerous registrations worldwide, it is unlikely that the Respondent is commonly known by this trademark.

(iii) The Domain Name was registered and used in bad faith

The Complainant contends that the Domain Name should be considered as having been registered and used in bad faith by the Respondent, since the Respondent is using the Domain Name in connection with an employment/phishing scam. According to the Complainant, the Respondent's motive in registering and using the site seems to be to disrupt the Complainant's relationship with its (potential) customers or to attempt to attract Internet users for potential gain. Given the Complainant's established rights in its trademarks, its use of these trademarks for 12 years, its significant international presence and brand recognition and the fact that the Domain Name is so obviously connected with the Complainant, the Complainant contends that the Respondent's use of the Domain Name suggests "opportunistic" bad faith.

Moreover, given the global reach and popularity of the Complainant's services under the LINKEDIN trademark, the Complainant contends that it is inconceivable that the Respondent chose the contested Domain Name without knowledge of the Complainant's activities and the name and trademark under which the Complainant is doing business. Given that the Complainant's first trademark registrations in the United States for the LINKEDIN trademark were issued 8 years before the Respondent registered the Domain Name, the Complainant contends that the Respondent had constructive notice of the LINKEDIN trademark and accordingly has registered the Domain Name in bad faith.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy requires that the Complainant prove each and all of the following three elements in order to be successful in these proceedings:

(i) the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights;

(ii) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interest in respect of the Domain Name; and

(iii) the Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Complainant has demonstrated that it is the owner of numerous registered trademarks for the name "LINKEDIN" in the United States.

Firstly, the Domain Name incorporates the Complainant's LINKEDIN trademark in its entirety and differs from the LINKEDIN trademark only in that the suffix "jobs" has been added and in that a single minor typographical variation, which consists of substitution of the letter "l" for the second letter "i", was used.

In addition, it is well-established that adding a generic or descriptive term to a registered trademark does not prevent the domain name from being confusingly similar to that registered trademark (see, e.g., Microsoft Corporation v. J. Holiday Co, WIPO Case No. D2000-1493; Quixtar Investments, Inc. v. Dennis Hoffman, WIPO Case No. D2000-0253and Lilly ICOS LLC v. John Hopking/Neo net Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2005-0694). The word "jobs" is a non-distinctive term that is commonly used in the commercial context (see Delta Air Lines, Inc. v. Private Registrations Aktien Gesellschaft, WIPO Case No. D2012-2158). The presence of the descriptive word "jobs" in the Domain Name even increases the likelihood of confusion to consumers because the word "jobs" is descriptive of the services offered by the Complainant (see Randstad Holding nv v. Pinaki Kar, WIPO Case No. D2013-1796).

Moreover, previous UDRP panels have held that minor alterations cannot prevent a finding of confusing similarity between the trademark and the domain name (see, e.g., Red Bull GmbH v. Grey Design, WIPO Case No. D2001-1035; Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and Dow Jones, L.P. v. Powerclick, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2000-1259). Substitution of a single letter is insignificant for purposes of confusing similarity (see, e.g., Hunter Douglas Industries, BV, and Hunter Douglas Window Fashions, Inc. v. Erik Little, WIPO Case No. D2005-0460). In light of the above, the Panel finds that the substitution of the letter "l" for the second letter "i" in the LINKEDIN trademark does not in the circumstances of this case sufficiently distinguish the resulting Domain Name from the Complainant's trademark, all the more given the similar visual appearance between both letters and the fact that in the corporate and trade name of the Complainant, the second "i" is also capitalised.

Furthermore, the addition of the generic Top-Level domain ("gTLD") ".com" is not an element of distinctiveness that is generally taken into consideration when evaluating the identity and similarity of the Complainant trademark and the Domain Name, because gTLDs are a required element of every domain name (see, e.g., Magnum Piering, Inc. v. The Mudjackers and Garwood S. Wilson, Sr., WIPO Case No. D2000-1525; Rollerblade, Inc. v. Chris McCrady, WIPO Case No. D2000-0429; and Qantas Airways Limited v. Minh Huynh, WIPO Case No. D2008-1382).

Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Complainant's above mentioned trademarks. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Complainant has established the first element under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

Although the complainant bears the ultimate burden of establishing all three elements of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the consensus view is that, once the complainant has made a prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests, the burden of production shifts to the respondent to come forward with appropriate allegations or evidence demonstrating rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. If the respondent fails to come forward with such appropriate allegations or evidence, a complainant is generally deemed to have satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy (see, e.g., Document Technologies, Inc. v. International Electronic Communications Inc., WIPO Case No. D2000-0270; Dow Jones & Company, Inc., (First Complainant) and Dow Jones LP (Second Complainant) v. The Hephzibah Intro-Net Project Limited (Respondent), WIPO Case No. D2000-0704 and the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Second Edition ("WIPO Overview 2.0"), paragraph 2.1).

The Panel finds that the Complainant has established a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name.

Indeed, based on the evidence submitted by the Complainant, the Panel finds that there is no evidence that the Respondent has been commonly known by the Domain Name, has made a legitimate noncommercial use of the Domain Name or has used the Domain Name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services.

Moreover, the Respondent has failed to respond to the Complaint and has therefore failed to provide any evidence of its rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name (see, e.g., The Great Eastern Life Assurance Company Limited v. Unasi Inc, WIPO Case No. D2005-1218; Stanworth Development Limited v. Mike Morgan (290436), WIPO Case No. D2006-0230).

Finally, pursuant to paragraph 10(a) of the Rules, the Panel considers itself competent to independently visit the Internet in order to obtain additional information in a default proceeding (see InfoSpace.com, Inc. v. Hari Prakash, WIPO Case No. D2000-0076 and Cortefiel, S.A. v. Javier García Quintas, WIPO Case No. D2000-0141). On November 9, 2015, the Panel visited the website associated with the Domain Name in order to investigate whether any evidence could be found as to the Respondent's rights or legitimate interests of the Respondent in the Domain Name. The Panel did not find any such evidence. To the contrary, from the Panel's own research it is apparent that the website associated with the Domain Name now simply redirects to the Complainant's own website "www.linkedin.com".

In view of the above, the Panel finds that such use cannot be considered to be a "legitimate and non-commercial or fair use of the domain name" in accordance with paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.

Based on the evidence provided by the Complainant, the Panel finds that the second element under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy has been established.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The Panel turns to the question of whether the Respondent's Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith. Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy describes some circumstances which, if found to exist, will be evidence of the registration and use of the domain name in bad faith. They are presented in the alternative and consist of a non-exhaustive list of indicia of bad faith:

(i) circumstances indicating that the respondent has registered or acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of the respondent's documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or

(ii) the respondent has registered the domain name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that the respondent has engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or

(iii) the respondent has registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or

(iv) by using the domain name, the respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to the respondent's website or other online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant's mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the respondent's website or location or of a product or service on your website or location.

Given that the LINKEDIN trademarks are well-known and widely used, the Panel is of the view that it is highly unlikely that the Respondent did not know of the Complainant trademarks at the time the Domain Name was registered. Indeed, according to the Registrar's WhoIs database, the Respondent registered the Domain Name <linkedlnjobs.com> on November 14, 2014, almost 11 years after the Complainant first use in commerce of the LINKEDIN trademark and 8 years after the Complainant's first LINKEDIN trademark registration.

Prior UDRP panels have ruled that bad faith is established where a complainant's trademark has been shown to be well-known or in wide use at the time of registering a domain name (see, e.g., The Gap, Inc. v. Deng Youqian, WIPO Case No. D2009-0113; Caesar World, Inc. v. Forum LLC, WIPO Case No. D2005-0517; and Pepsico, Inc. v. Domain Admin, WIPO Case No. D2006-0435).

Moreover, it is well-settled case law that the practice of typosquatting may in itself be evidence of a bad faith registration of a domain name (see, e.g., Longs Drug Stores California, Inc. v. Shep Dog, WIPO Case No. D2004-1069; Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Longo, WIPO Case No. D2014-0816). The fact that the Respondent substituted the letter "l" for the second letter "i" in the Complainant's mark to look as though the "l" were a capitalized "i", as is the case in the corporate and trade name of the Complainant, constitutes further evidence of this bad faith.

Consequently, the Panel finds that the Respondent registered the Domain Name in bad faith.

It clearly appears from the evidence provided by the Complainant that the Respondent, impersonating the Complainant, has sent fraudulent offers of employment via email using the Domain Name as the return address. In these emails, recipients are asked to submit "Interview Security Fees" prior to a job interview. This use of the Domain Name clearly constitutes a use in bad faith as the Respondent intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant's mark.

The fact that the Respondent has recently modified its use of the Domain Name which now redirects to the Complainant's own website "www.linkedin.com" (as witnessed by the Panel on November 9, 2015) does not alter this finding and amounts to further evidence of bad faith attempt to impersonate the Complainant.

Moreover, the Respondent's failure to respond to the Complainant's contentions and, as a result, to provide any evidence whatsoever of any good faith use of the Domain Name is an additional indication of bad faith (News Group Newspapers Limited and News Network Limited v. Momm Amed la, WIPO Case No. D2000-1623; Nike, Inc. v. Azumano Travel, WIPO Case No. D2000-1598; America Online, Inc. v. Antonio R. Diaz, WIPO Case No. D2000-1460).

In light of the above, the Panel concludes that the Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith.

Accordingly, the Panel finds that the third element under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy has been established.

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 <linkedlnjobs.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Geert Glas
Sole Panelist
Date: November 16, 2015