WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center



Lonely Planet Publications Pty Ltd v. Moniker Privacy Services / Darren Abela

Case No. D2008-0475


1. The Parties

The Complainant is Lonely Planet Publications Pty Ltd, Footscray, Australia, represented by Griffith Hack Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys, Australia.

The Respondent is Moniker Privacy Services, Pompano Beach, Florida, United States of America; Darren Abela, London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.


2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <lonelyplanethotels.com> is registered with Moniker Online Services, LLC.


3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on March 27, 2008. On March 28, 2008, the Center transmitted by email to Moniker Online Services, LLC a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain name at issue. On April 1, 2008, Moniker Online Services, LLC transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing the underlying registrant and contact information for the disputed domain name which differed from the Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email to the Complainant on April 7, 2008 providing the underlying registrant and contact information disclosed by the registrar and inviting the Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. The Complainant filed an amendment to the Complaint on April 7, 2008. The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amendment to the Complaint satisfied the formal requirements of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Policy”), 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 April 15, 2008. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was May 5, 2008. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on May 6, 2008.

The Center appointed Tobias Zuberbühler as the sole panelist in this matter on May 13, 2008. 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 publisher of independent travel books. Since the first use of the LONELY PLANET name and logo in 1973, approximately 444 titles have been published under the LONELY PLANET trademark. The Complainant distributes its publications in over 118 countries and has sold over 70 million books. Nowadays, the Complainant has extended its activities to online travel information, downloadable guides and mobile phone guides, television documentaries and television series.

The Complainant owns various LONELY PLANET trademarks in Australia, the United States of America, the European Union and several other countries and is the holder of dozens of domain names incorporating the word “lonelyplanet”.

When the Complainant became aware of the disputed domain name, it was being used to redirect traffic to the website “www.hotelsonline.net”. The Respondent Darren Abela was registered as administrative contact at the time. Some time after having sent cease and desist letters to the domain name holder at the time, the disputed domain name was transferred to Moniker Privacy Services. The disputed domain name now points to a generic webpage containing sponsored links, among others links to the Complainant which are shown as a sponsored link.


5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant objects to the use of the disputed domain name by the Respondent and bases its Complaint on the following grounds:

1. The domain name at issue is confusingly similar with the Complainant’s trademarks.

2. The Respondent makes no legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name at issue. The Complainant has no relationship with the Respondent and has never authorized the Respondent to use the Complainant’s marks or its trade name as a domain name. The Respondent has not commonly been known by the domain name and does not conduct any legitimate commercial or noncommercial business activity under the domain name.

3. The Respondent registered and uses the disputed domain name with the only purpose to divert customers to its own website for commercial gain.

Accordingly, the domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.

B. Respondent

The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions. On April 15, 2008 and May 6, 2008, Darren Abela, sent informal emails seeking for advice to which the Center replied on April 15, 2008 and May 7, 2008 respectively.


6. Discussion and Findings

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The domain name at issue is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s registered trademarks. A non-distinctive addition of the generic term “hotels” to the widely known trademark LONELY PLANET does not sufficiently differentiate the domain name at issue from the Complainant’s trademarks (Dig Eh Hotel LLC Delaware, Jumeirah Hospitality & Leisure (USA) Inc. and Jumeirah International LLC v. Liq-Wid Advertising Inc, WIPO Case No. D2007-0573, <essexhousehotel.com>). The Complainant has thus fulfilled the requirements under paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

There are no indications before the Panel of any rights or legitimate interests of the Respondent in respect of the domain name at issue. The Panel also refers to the use of the disputed domain name as explained below under the third limb of the Policy. The Complainant, having made a prima facie case which remains unrebutted, has fulfilled the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

Considering the factual background of this case as set forth under section 4 above, it is apparent that the Respondent intentionally intends to attract consumers to its website for commercial gain by creating confusion about the source and sponsorship of its website.

It may also reasonably be inferred that the Respondent knew about the Complainant’s trademarks and business when it registered the disputed domain name.

The Panel thus finds that the Respondent’s conduct constitutes bad faith registration and use, thus fulfilling paragraph 4(a)(iii) 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 <lonelyplanethotels.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Tobias Zuberbühler
Sole Panelist

Dated: May 27, 2008