WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center


Google Inc. v. Manoj Sharma

Case No. D2010-0090

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Google Inc. of Mountain View, California, United States of America, represented by Ranjan Narula Associates, India.

The Respondent is Manoj Sharma of Mumbai, India.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <googlepride.com> is registered with Directi Internet Solutions Pvt. Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com.

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on January 19, 2010. On January 19, 2010, the Center transmitted by email to Directi Internet Solutions Pvt. Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On January 21, 2010, Directi Internet Solutions Pvt. Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact information. 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 the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on January 26, 2010. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was February 15, 2010. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on February 16, 2010.

The Center appointed Alvaro Loureiro Oliveira as the sole panelist in this matter on February 24, 2010. 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's business was created in 1997 under the name “Google” by Larry Page and Sergey Brin. The Complainant's primary website, “www.google.com”, was registered on September 15, 1997 and is widely recognized as the world's largest search engine that returns relevant results within seconds. The Complainant's mark GOOGLE is one of the world's best known brands almost entirely through word of mouth from users.

The Complainant's primary website “www.google.com” generates revenue by providing advertisers with the opportunity to deliver measurable, cost-effective online advertising that is relevant to the information displayed on any given page. According to the Complainant, the primary website receives 581 million unique visitors/month.

The Complainant also owns and operates a number of other “google” domains in other countries. The product and services of the Complainant reach more than 150 countries worldwide - including India, the country in which is based the Respondent. Besides, the Complainant has offices around the world including in the United States (“U.S.”), Australia, People's Republic of China, Hong Kong, SAR of China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Republic of Singapore, Taiwan, Province of China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russian Federation, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Egypt, Israel, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. The Complainant also offers products and services in more than 100 languages; the most popular languages after English are German, Japanese, Spanish and French.

The Complainant has obtained trademark registrations for its mark GOOGLE worldwide. The mark has been in use worldwide since 1997, when the first registrations were granted. In India, the Complainant's mark GOOGLE is registered under No. 845041 in class 09 since March 12, 1999. The Complainant attached a list of all existing registrations for this mark throughout the world, as well as copies of the U.S., Australian and Indian registrations.

5. Parties' Contentions

A. Complainant

Before filing this Complaint, the Complainant contacted the Respondent, in an attempt to obtain the transfer of the domain to the Complainant. The Complainant also asked the Respondent to remove the infringing content/references to the Complainant's GOOGLE and ADSENSE marks from the website “www.googlepride.com”.

The Respondent answered, informing that they would be discontinuing the website and also provided the Complainant with certain details to process the transfer. Since those details were apparently not accurate, the Complainant had to contact the Respondent several other times for the exact “authorisation codes” for processing the transfer. These attempts, though, were not fruitful as despite several follow-ups from the Complainant's end, the Respondent did not take any steps to provide the necessary information. This silence led to the filing of this Complaint.

The Complainant alleges in its Complaint that the disputed domain name is “nearly identical or confusingly similar” to the Complainant's mark. The Complainant alleges that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, and that the Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The disputed domain name <googlepride.com> is, indeed, confusingly similar to the GOOGLE trademark, as it is incorporated entirely within the disputed domain name. The addition of the word “pride” to the trademark GOOGLE does not sufficiently differentiate the disputed domain name from the Complainant's mark. On the contrary, it appears likely to be considered part of a “family of websites” created by the Complainant under the GOOGLE mark umbrella, such as “www.googlemaps.com”, “www.googleearth.com”, etc.

The Complainant, on its turn, has presented consistent evidence of use and ownership of the mark GOOGLE in an extensive list of countries throughout the world, including the U.S., the Complainant's home country, and India, home of the Respondent.

Given the above, the Panel concludes that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar with the registered mark of the Complainant.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

Given the clear evidence that the GOOGLE trademark is widely known, the fact that the services rendered under this mark has the impressive number of 581 million unique visitors a month, as well as the undeniable link between that mark and the Complainant, the Panel finds that the Complainant has established prima facie that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The fact that after agreeing to assign the disputed domain name the Respondent simply vanished without further notice enhances the Panel's finding that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests to the disputed domain name.

The Panel, thus, finds for the Complainant under the second element of the Policy.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The facts outlined in paragraph 6.B above can also be used to evidence the Respondent's bad faith in obtaining the disputed domain name.

As mentioned, the Panel finds that the renown of the GOOGLE trademark is undeniable; it cannot be likely conceived that someone that acts in the Internet business does not know of its existence.

In addition, the Respondent not only vanished after initially agreeing in the assignment of the disputed domain name, but the site “www.googlepride.com” is still operable. The Respondent has added a note at the last fourth of the site, stating that “Google and Google AdSense are trademarks of Google Inc., Neither are associated or affiliated with GooglePride.com”. This insertion, in fact, demonstrates the Respondent's awareness of the Complainant and its marks and in this case supports a finding that the disputed domain name was registered in bad faith.

All the points above lead to the conclusion by this Panel that the Respondent was fully aware of the Complainant and that the Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith. The Panel finds that the Complainant has also proved the third 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 disputed domain name <googlepride.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Alvaro Loureiro Oliveira
Sole Panelist

Dated: March 16, 2010