World Intellectual Property Organization

WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Learning Tree International, Inc. v. Corporate Cars USA

Case No. DCO2011-0063

1. The Parties

Complainant is Learning Tree International, Inc. of Reston, Virginia, United States, represented by Gowling Lafleur Henderson, LLP, Canada.

Respondent is Corporate Cars USA of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States.

2. The Domain Name And Registrar

The disputed domain name <learningtree.co> is registered with GoDaddy.com, Inc.

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on November 30, 2011. On December 1, 2011, the Center transmitted by email to GoDaddy.com, Inc. a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On December 1, 2011, GoDaddy.com, Inc. transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on December 12, 2011. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was January 1, 2012. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on January 4, 2012.

On January 6, 2012, after the Response due date, the Center received an email communication from Respondent asking for an extension to file the Response. On January 6, 2012, the Center forwarded Respondent’s communication to the attention of Complainant and requested comments on it by January 9, 2012. On January 10, 2012, Complainant responded and did not consider appropriate to grant the requested extension due to the fact that Respondent did not request it before the Response expiration date. On January 11, 2012, the Center notified the Parties about its decision not to grant the extension requested by Respondent.

The Center appointed Timothy D. Casey as the sole panelist in this matter on January 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

Complainant provides hands-on training for information technology (IT) professionals. Complainant has offered educational and training course since 1974. Complainant has education centers located in Washington, New York, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Ottawa, Toronto, London, Paris, Stockholm, Tokyo and Hong Kong.

Complainant is a publicly traded company (NASDAQ: LTRE), generating revenue in excess of USD750 million dollars between 2006 and 2010.

Complainant owns over 160 trademark registrations worldwide that are comprised of or contain the element LEARNING TREE (“the LEARNING TREE marks”). In the United States, where Respondent is located, the LEARNING TREE marks include LEARNING TREE, THE LEARNING TREE, LEARNING TREE INTERNATIONAL, LEARNING TREE INTERNATIONAL & Design, WWW.LEARNINGTREE.COM, LEARNING TREE UNIVERSITY, LEARNING TREE ANYWARE, LEARNING TREE ANYWARE Be There With AnyWare & Design, LEARNING TREE ANYWARE ENTERPRISE and LEARNING TREE ANYWARE BE THERE WITH ANYWARE & Design.

Complainant also owns a website located at “www.learningtree.com”. The <learningtree.com> domain name was first registered by Complainant in 1995.

The disputed domain name was registered with GoDaddy.com, Inc. by Respondent on July 27, 2010. The disputed domain name resolves to a website parked with GoDaddy.com that includes advertisements to a variety of online and distance learning providers, including those providing training services for IT professionals, including at least one that states that it competes with Complainant.

On March 31, 2011, Complaint’s counsel emailed a cease and desist letter to Respondent related to Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name. The case file includes no response to such letter by Respondent or any other communication from Respondent aside from Respondent’s belated request for an extension of time to respond to the Complaint.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

Complainant contends that it owns and has rights in the LEARNING TREE marks, that the disputed domain name is identical to the LEARNING TREE marks, and that the addition of the generic top level domain name <.co> suffix is without legal significance in determining the issue of similarity.

Complainant contends there is no evidence to suggest that Respondent has ever used or demonstrated preparations to use the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services.

Complainant contends that there has never been any relationship between Complainant and Respondent and Respondent has not been authorized in any way to use the disputed domain name.

Complainant contends that Respondent registered the disputed domain name for the purpose of selling the disputed domain name to Complainant for an amount in excess of Respondent’s out-of-pocket expenses incurred in registering the disputed domain name, that Respondent admitted to having no other plans for the disputed domain name at the time it was registered, and that Respondent subsequently offered to sell the disputed domain name to Complainant for USD25,000.

Complainant contends that Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name and is not making and does not intend to make a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name.

Complainant contends that Respondent registered the disputed domain name for the purpose of disrupting the business of Complainant and that, by pointing the disputed domain name to a pay-per-click website that displays links to competitors of Complainant, Respondent also qualifies as a competitor of Complainant. Complainant also contends that use of the disputed domain name in the stated fashion misdirects potential consumer to Respondent’s website and is disruptive to Complainant’s business as potential consumers of Complainant’s service are confused into believing that Respondent’s website is affiliate with, or sponsored by, Complainant.

Complainant contends that Respondent had actual or constructive knowledge of Complainant’s rights in the disputed domain name at the time of registration by virtue of the notoriety of the LEARNING TREE marks.

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

B. Respondent

Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

Complainant owns and has rights in the LEARNING TREE marks throughout the world. The disputed domain name used by Respondent fully and completely incorporates the LEARNING TREE mark. The addition of the generic top level domain name “.co” suffix is without legal consequence with respect to the identical or confusingly similar nature of the disputed domain name in comparison to the LEARNING TREE marks.

The Panel finds the disputed domain name to be identical to the LEARNING TREE marks and that this element of the Policy has been met by Complainant.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

i) Rights

Complainant contends that there has never been any relationship between Complainant and Respondent and Respondent has not been authorized in any way to use the disputed domain name. Respondent is in default and did not challenge this contention. The Panel accepts these contentions as true.

ii) Legitimate Interests

Complainant contends there is no evidence to suggest that Respondent has ever used or demonstrated preparations to use the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. Respondent is in default and did not challenge this contention. The Panel accepts these contentions as true.

Complainant contends that Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name and is not making and does not intend to make a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name. Respondent is in default and did not challenge this contention. Moreover, Respondent appears to be known by the business name of “Corporate Cars USA”, which bears no resemblance or connection to the disputed domain name. The Panel accepts these contentions as true.

According to Complainant, Respondent has admitted that “he ‘didn’t have anything in mind’ for the Domain Name, that he ‘purchased a bunch of domain names’ that number ‘300 to 400’”. There is no evidence, aside from Complainant’s contentions to support this assertion, and the Complaint appears to include an incomplete accounting of Complainant’s discussion with Respondent (see below), but Respondent is in default and has not challenged these assertions, so the Panel will accept these assertions as being true.

Complainant also contends that: (1) Respondent registered the disputed domain name for the purpose of disrupting the business of Complainant; (2) by pointing the disputed domain name to a pay-per-click website that displays links to competitors of Complainant, Respondent also qualifies as a competitor of Complainant; (3) Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name misdirects potential consumers to Respondent’s website; and (4) potential consumers of Complainant’s services are confused into believing that Respondent’s website is affiliate with, or sponsored by, Complainant. Respondent is in default and did not challenge these contentions. Moreover, the Panel finds these contentions to be supported by the record.

The Panel finds that Respondent’s website appears to exist for the primary purpose of diverting legitimate consumers of Complainant to Respondent’s website, which presents consumers with links to websites of direct competitors of Complainant, from which someone other than Complainant likely profits. The Panel does not find Respondent’s use or, if any, preparations to include a bona fide offering of goods or services to be a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name.

The Panel finds that Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name and that this element of the Policy has been met by Complainant.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

i) Registered in bad faith

Complainant has registered and has been using the LEARNING TREE marks for close to 35 years prior to Respondent’s registration of the disputed domain name. The Panel agrees with Complainant that Respondent was likely aware of the existence of the LEARNING TREE marks and Complaint’s prior registration of <learningtree.com> prior to Respondent’s registration of the disputed domain name. The use of links to competitive education and training companies on Respondent’s websites provides further evidence of Respondent’s likely advanced knowledge of the LEARNING TREE marks and the nature of Complainant’s business, which is why Respondent probably selected the disputed domain name in the first place.

As noted above, Complainant contends that Respondent admitted to having nothing in mind for the disputed domain name and that he “purchased a bunch of domain names”, in the range of 300 to 400, apparently at or near to the same time. The Panel finds it unlikely that Respondent randomly selected this large number of domain names and likely did have something in mind at the time that so many names were purchased, especially given the overall cost of so many registrations. People do not generally spend large sums of money with “nothing in mind”.

The record of Complainant’s contentions, however, is somewhat defective. In the section of the Complaint entitled “The Complainant Contacts the Respondent”, Complaint begins to describe an apparent series of telephone discussions between Complainant or Complainant’s counsel and Respondent, but the description is prematurely truncated at the bottom of the page as follows:

“25. A follow-up letter was issued by the Complainant on April 21, 2011.

26. On April 29, 2011, the Respondent left the Complainant a telephone message simply indicating his name, his telephone number and inviting the Complainant to contact him.

27. That same day the Complainant spoke with the Respondent, who indicated that “something could be worked out” and that he would contact the Complainant by “mid-week next week”.

28. No response was received. Following several unsuccessful attempts, the Complainant spoke with the Respondent by telephone on June 2, 2011. The”

The next page of the Complaint starts with the Legal Grounds set forth by Complainant, there are no missing pages and the submitted evidence appears to be complete. However, between Complainant’s contentions regarding Respondent’s statements and the incomplete description set forth above, coupled with the fact that Respondent is in default and has not attempted to challenge these contentions, the Panel finds it likely that Respondent registered the disputed domain name in bad faith.

ii) Used in bad faith

As noted above, Complainant contends that Respondent attempted to sell the disputed domain name to Complainant for USD25,000, which is well above any possible out-of-pocket costs associated with the registration of the disputed domain name. An offer to sell a domain name for an amount that exceeds Respondent’s out-of-pocket expenses associated with the domain name registration has been held to constitute evidence of bad faith as per subparagraph 4(b)(i) of the Policy (Marie Claire Album S.A. v. Buy This Domain, WIPO Case No. D2002-0677; Fortum Corporation v. Li. Yen Chun, WIPO Case No. D2002-0324).

The website associated with the disputed domain name has also been used to compete with Complainant, to misdirect potential consumers of Complainants services to Respondent’s website, and to confuse potential consumers into believing that Respondent’s website is somehow affiliate with, or sponsored by, Complainant. Each of these actions, on their own, can constitute evidence of bad faith use of the disputed domain name.

While the Panel does not fully accept Complainant’s contention that Respondent’s use of links to competitors on the website is direct competition, a respondent does not need to be a direct competitor of a complainant; for the purposes of paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy it is sufficient if it provides a means for Internet users to access links to businesses that compete with, or rival, Complainant (PepsiCo, Inc. v. LaPorte Holdings, Inc. and Pepsiemployment.com a/k/a Henry Chan, WIPO Case No. D2005-0087).

The Panel finds that Respondent registered and used the disputed domain names in bad faith. The Panel finds this element of the Policy has been met by Complainant.

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 domain name <learningtree.co> be transferred to Complainant.

Timothy D. Casey
Sole Panelist
Date: January 27, 2012

 

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