World Intellectual Property Organization

WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Google Inc. v. AA

Case No. DRO2010-0009

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Google Inc. of California, United States of America, represented by Rominvent S.A., Romania.

The Respondent is AA of Heerhugowaard, Netherlands.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <gogle.ro> is registered with RNC.ro.

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on November 30, 2010. On November 30, 2010, the Center transmitted by email to the RNC.ro. a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On December 6, 2010, RNC.ro. transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details. Following an email from the Respondent, dated December 8, 2010, by which the Respondent informed the Complainant about his intent to “giving up” the disputed domain name, the Complainant filed on December 10, 2010 a request for the suspension of the proceedings. The suspension was granted by the Center on December 14, 2010 for a period of 30 days. On January 14, 2011, the Complainant requested the reinstitution of the proceeding, because the Respondent had failed to transfer the disputed domain name as it previously informed he would do. The proceedings were reinstituted. The Complainant filed an amended Complaint on December 13, 2010 and January 27, 2011.

The Center verified that 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 January 28, 2011. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was February 17, 2011. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on February 18, 2011.

The Center appointed Beatrice Onica Jarka as the sole panelist in this matter on March 4, 2011. 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.

The Panel takes note of the Complainant’s request, dated December 8, 2010, by which it opted for English as the language of the proceedings due to the nationality of the Respondent and the English language of the previous correspondence. The Panel also notes that, the Respondent, by its email dated December 8, 2010, used English language and that he further, has not replied anything in connection to the Complainant’s choice of English as the language of the these proceedings. As a consequence, according to paragraphs 11 (a) from the Rules, the Panel determines that English shall be the language of these proceedings, and shall continue accordingly.

4. Factual Background

The Complainant in these proceedings is Google Inc. with its place of business in Mountain View, California, United States of America. The company runs one of the world’s most popular search engines on the Internet.

The Complainant was founded in 1997, when it started by registering and using the domain name <google.com>. From 1998, the Complainant has initiated the registration of the GOOGLE trademark for a number of goods and services in United States and all over the world, in classes 9, 11, 12, 16, 18, 21, 25, 28, 35, 38 and 42.

The Complainant offers products and services in more than one hundred languages and interacts with thousands of advertisers worldwide.

The Respondent registered the disputed domain name on May 11, 2004. The Respondent is apparently an individual located in the Netherlands.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant asserts that:

It owns international and community trademarks for GOOGLE, which is a famous trademark.

The disputed domain name is a mistyped version of the Complainant’s trademark GOOGLE, fact which renders it identical or similar with the Complainant’s trademark.

On information and belief, the Respondent has no prior rights or legitimate interests in or to the GOOGLE tradename or trademark and this case is a classical case of typo-squatting.

The disputed domain name was registered and used in bad faith.

The Respondent knew or should have known of the use of the famous GOOGLE trademark before registering the disputed domain name.

The Respondent is trading on the value established by the Complainant in its marks to attract users who misspell or mistype the Complainant’s mark when entering URL.

The Respondent’s conduct represents an intentional attempt to attract for commercial gain Internet users to his website.

The Respondent is benefiting from this confusion and diversion by receiving “click-through” commissions in accordance with conventional practices on the Internet.

The Respondent is attempting to take advantage of the Complainant’s reputation by capturing traffic from Internet users looking for the Complainant.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

A.1.The Complainant holds rights in the GOOGLE trademark

The Complainant has provided sufficient evidence showing that it is the owner of the GOOGLE mark. The Panel is satisfied in considering that the Complainant holds rights in the GOOGLE trademark.

A.2. The disputed domain name is confusingly similar with the Complainant’s GOOGLE trademark.

The disputed domain name resembles substantially the Complainant’s GOOGLE trademark. There is no difference between the two, apart from the omission of the second letter "o" in the disputed domain name.

In Google Inc. c. Varvunt Ben Ami / Michael Ben Ami, WIPO Case No. DFR2009-0040, where the same term “gogle” was part of the disputed domain name, the panel found that the Complainant’s trademark is so close visually, phonetically and conceptually to the “gogle” term that, any Internet user with average attention may confuse the term “gogle” with the Complainant’s trademark GOOGLE. The Panel finds that, the same line of reasoning is applicable to the disputed domain name in these proceedings.

Moreover, the Panel agrees that the term “gogle” is a mistyped version of the word element of the trademark, practice which represents “typosquatting’” where the domain name is a slight alphabetical variation from a famous mark. WIPO case law offers many examples of confusing similarity brought about through easily made typing errors by an Internet user. See in this sense, DaimlerChrysler Corporation v. Worshiping, Chrisler, and Chr, aka Dream Media and aka Peter Conover, WIPO Case No. D2000-1272 and Telstra Corporation Ltd v.Warren Bolton Consulting Pty Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2000-1293.

The Panel also considers that the suffix “.ro” does not render the disputed domain name distinctive.

Therefore, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar with the Complainant’s GOOGLE trademark and that the Complainant has proven the first element of the Policy.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Complainant asserts that the Respondent has no prior rights or legitimate interests in or to the GOOGLE trade name or trademark. The Complainant asserts and the Respondent did not rebut such assertion, that, the Respondent is not a licensee of Google Inc., nor is Respondent otherwise authorized to use the Complainant`s marks. Furthermore, from the evidence submitted in these proceedings, the disputed domain name is not, nor could it be contended to be, in any way, identified with or related to a legitimate interest of the Respondent. Moreover, from the Registrar’s information, the Respondent seems not to be commonly known by the name “google” or “goggle”.

According to prior WIPO URDP Panel decisions the Complainant is required to make out an initial prima facie case, the Respondent carrying the burden of demonstrating rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. (WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, paragraph 2.1).

The Panel finds that, in these proceedings, the Complainant has done enough to establish a prima facie case. The GOOGLE mark is well-known, internationally registered and distinctive. The fact that the Respondent has chosen a domain name similar to the GOOGLE mark, and is using it as a website identical to the Complainant’s original website implies a lack of any valid right or legitimate interest in the domain name. In this sense, the Respondent is unfairly capitalizing on the reputation and goodwill established by the Complainant. The Panel also concurs with previous WIPO UDRP decisions (see Edmunds.com, Inc. v. Digi Real Estate Foundation, WIPO Case No. D2006-1043) holding that “typosquatting” is the obverse of a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of a domain name.

In light of the foregoing, the Panel is satisfied that the Complainant has proven also the second element of the Policy.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The GOOGLE trademark’s famous and well-known worldwide, especially on the Internet, for the past 10 years. The Respondent knew or should have known of the use of the GOOGLE trademarks prior to registering the domain name. The Panel agrees with the Complainant that, because of the wide spread use and reputation of the trademark GOOGLE, Internet users also in Romania and worldwide would immediately believe that the disputed domain name is in some way associated with the Complainant.

The Complainant asserts that the website to which the disputed domain name resolves is identical the Google’s original one and this reveals the intentions of the Respondent, namely to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to the web site at the disputed domain name, or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion among the consumers. The Panel agrees that such situation is a strong indication of the Respondent’s bad faith registration and use. It is the Panel’s understanding that the Respondent is trading on the value established by the Complainant in its marks to attract users who misspell or mistype the Complainant's mark when entering the URL.

Moreover the Respondent’s email dated December 8, 2010, by which the Respondent indicates his willingness to “giving up” the disputed domain name, even if not followed by an accordingly course of action, may be considered an admission of the Complainant’s assertions regarding the disputed domain name.

In this sense, the Panel finds that the Complainant has satisfied also the third and last element 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 domain name, <gogle.ro> be transferred to the Complainant.

Beatrice Onica Jarka
Sole Panelist
Dated: March 18, 2011

 

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