WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
World Future Society v. S.F.P. Koopmans, BCG eBrpojects B.V.
Case No. D2016-2347
1. The Parties
The Complainant is World Future Society of Chicago, Illinois, United States of America (“United States”), represented by Peacock, Myers PC, United States.
The Respondent is S.F.P. Koopmans, BCG eBrpojects B.V. of Bemmel, the Netherlands.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <worldfuturesociety.com> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with The Registrar Company B.V. (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on November 17, 2016. On November 18, 2016, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On November 24, 2016 and December 2, 2016, 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 Respondent sent an email to the Center on December 5, 2016. The Complainant filed an amended Complaint on December 6, 2016.
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 and 4, the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceeding commenced on December 7, 2016. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was December 27, 2016. The Respondent did not submit any formal response. Accordingly, on December 28, 2016, the Center notified the Parties of the commencement of the Panel appointment process.
The Center appointed Nicholas Smith as the sole panelist in this matter on January 6, 2017. 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 a non-profit corporation incorporated in Washington DC. It is a community of future-minded citizens with a mission to harness the spirit of discovery, the power of imagination, and the energy of collective action to create a brighter future. The Complainant operates a website at “www.wfs.org”.
The Complainant is the owner of a United States trade mark registration for WORLD FUTURE SOCIETY (the “WFS Mark”) for “arranging and conducting educational conferences regarding the future of society; educational services, namely, conducting classes, workshops, and conferences regarding the future of society; publication of books and periodicals; association services, namely, promoting the interests of people concerned about the future of society”. The WFS Mark was registered in 1998 and has been used since 1966.
The Domain Name <worldfuturesociety.com> was created on October 29, 2003. The Domain Name redirects to a website (the “Respondent’s Website”) that appears to be a blog maintained by the Respondent, a Dutch national, which discusses a number of the Respondent’s personal interests, including the Respondent’s libertarian political views and the way that a society can be organized.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant makes the following contentions:
(i) that the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to the Complainant’s WFS Mark;
(ii) that the Respondent has no rights nor any legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name; and
(iii) that the Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Complainant is the owner of the WFS Mark. It owns a trade mark registration for the WFS Mark in the United States. The Domain Name consists of the WFS Mark in its entirety with the addition of the Top-Level Domain (“TLD”) “.com”. The Domain Name is thus identical or confusingly similar to the WFS Mark.
The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name. The Respondent is not commonly known by the Domain Name. The Respondent is not a licensee of the WFS Mark. The Respondent is making commercial use of the Domain Name in an attempt to mirror the Complainant’s website at “www.wfs.org” and such use is not a bona fide use. The Respondent’s unauthorized use of the Domain Name for a website constitutes “phishing”.
The Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith. The WFS Mark is a well-protected and long established mark that is well-known in the United States has been popularly and extensively used in the past few decades. The Respondent must have had actual and constructive knowledge about the Complainant’s WFS Mark when acquiring the Domain Name.
The Domain Name is used in bad faith. The Respondent has intentionally attempted to create an illusion of commercial relationship with, or endorsement from, the Complainant, thus enabling earning of the revenues by attracting users to its website or even to collect private and/or other information on the Complainant’s customers. The Respondent’s Website is an attempt to mirror the Complainant’s genuine website and seeks to trade on the Complainant’s goodwill.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
To prove this element, the Complainant must have trade or service mark rights, and the Domain Name must be identical or confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trade or service mark.
The Complainant is the owner of the WFS Mark, having registrations the WFS Mark as a trade mark in United States.
The Domain Name consists of the WFS Mark and the TLD “.com”. As the addition of the “.com” TLD may be discounted in the comparison between the WFS Mark and the Domain Name, the Domain Name is identical to the WFS Mark. Consequently, the requirement of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy is satisfied.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests, Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Under the circumstances, the Panel finds it convenient to deal with the second and third requirements of the Policy together.
While the Panel finds that the Complaint is not one in which “the complainant in fact knew or clearly should have known at the time that it filed the complaint that it could not prove one of the essential elements required by the UDRP” (WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Second Edition (“WIPO Overview 2.0”), paragraph 4.17), the Complainant makes accusations which the Panel finds are without support or explanation and which cannot be credited on the available record, including:
At  “The Respondent’s intent has always been to misleadingly divert consumers looking for Complainant to Respondent’s website”.
At  “Similarly, the Respondent’s use of the domain name has always been commercial”.
At  “The Respondent’s unauthorized use of the disputed domain name for a website constitutes “phishing”. This term is commonly defined as an attempt to obtain sensitive financial or other confidential information from Internet users as while trying to appear as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication”.
At  “It is obvious that the Respondent intentionally attempted to create an illusion of commercial relationship with, or endorsement from, the Complainant, thus enabling earning of the revenues by attracting users to its website or even to collect private and/or other information on the Complainant’[s] customers”.
The Panel finds from the Respondent’s Website and the available record that since the registration of the Domain Name over 13 years ago the Domain Name has been used to operate a website for the Respondent to occasionally blog about matters of personal interest, including the Respondent’s own politics. The Respondent’s Website does not contain advertising (other than a single referral link), does not seek the private financial information of visitors, and does not refer to or suggest that it is in any way connected to the Complainant. In particular, and contrary to the Complainant’s assertions, the Respondent’s Website does not seek to “mirror the Complainant’s website” or “operate as a phishing website”. Indeed the title of the website is “Pallieter Koopmans”. The Complainant provides no evidence (as opposed to unsupported assertion) to suggest otherwise.
In light of the above, the Panel concludes that the Complainant has not demonstrated that the Respondent intended to target the Complainant’s WFS Mark and/or is using the Domain Name to misleadingly divert consumers or to intentionally create a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s WFS Mark. Rather, given the fact that the Domain Name consists of three ordinary English words and has been used for a noncommercial blog that discusses topics including the better organisation of society, it is not implausible that there was another purpose in the registration of the Domain Name.
In the present case, by reason of the limited evidence provided by the Parties, the Panel finds that the Complainant has not satisfied its burden of showing that circumstances that bring the case within the provisions of paragraph 4(b) of the Policy exist, or other facts showing that Respondent registered the Domain Name in bad faith.
For the foregoing reasons, the Complaint is denied.
Date: January 13, 2017