WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Allstate Insurance Company v. PrivacyProtect.org / Web Services Pty,
Case No. D2011-0289
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Allstate Insurance Company of Northbrook, Illinois, United States of America, represented by Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo, P.C., United States of America.
The Respondent is PrivacyProtect.org of Munsbach, Luxembourg / Web Services Pty, Aditya Roshni, New Delhi, India.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <allsttae.com> is registered with Answerable.com (I) Pvt Ltd. (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on February 10, 2011. On February 11, 2011, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On February 12, 2011, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the disputed domain name which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on February 23, 2011 providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting the Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. The Complainant filed an amended Complaint on February 24, 2011.
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(a) and 4(a), the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on March 2, 2011. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was March 22, 2011. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on March 23, 2011.
The Center appointed Clive Duncan Thorne as the sole panelist in this matter on April 7, 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.
4. Factual Background
According to the Complainant it is the largest publicly held personal lines insurer in the United States. Since its founding in 1931, the Complainant has become a well-established and a well-known insurance company and provides insurance services all over the United States.
The Complainant has continuously used the ALLSTATE trademark since its founding in 1931. The trademark ALLSTATE is the trademark used to identify products, services, activities and events relating to the Complainant. The Complainant was granted its first Federal trademark registration for ALLSTATE in 1961.
In 2009, the Complainant’s revenues were approximately USD 32 billion dollars. The Complainant has generated billions of United States dollars in sales of products and services under the trademark ALLSTATE in the United States.
The Complainant sets out details of United States trademark registrations for the mark ALLSTATE. These are set out in Annex C to the Complaint. In particular, the Complainant owns the following United States (U.S.) trademark registrations for the mark ALLSTATE:-
(1) No. 717683 for "underwriting of the following types of insurance: life, annuity, accident, and health”, registered on June 27, 1961.
(2) No. 761091 for “business of making, writing, and underwriting of insurance”, registered on December 5, 1967.
(3) No. 840187 for "insurance underwriting services” registered on December 5, 1967.
In addition to the above the Complainant owns over 30 additional United States registrations for the trademark ALLSTATE for a wide range of goods and services including investment advisory services, banking, mortgage lending, and financial services.
Exhibited to the Complaint as Annex D is a copy of a U.S. trademark registration no. 3164787 dated October 31, 2006 for ALLSTATE.COM for various financial services.
In addition, the Complainant owns numerous foreign trademark registrations. It has devoted hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising and promoting its services in the United States under the trademark ALLSTATE. It has also been the subject of numerous articles in the media, including national and international print, radio and television. The Complainant submits that as a result of its extensive promotional efforts and the wide acceptance of its services that the mark ALLSTATE has become one of the most widely recognized brands amongst consumers.
The Complainant has registered over one thousand domain names worldwide using the mark ALLSTATE. These include: <allstate.com>, <allstate.org> and <allstate.net>.
According to the Complainant the Respondent registered the domain name <allsttae.com> on January 16, 2007. It submits that the disputed domain name incorporates a common typographical error of the Complainant's well known ALLSTATE trademark. In particular, it differs from the trademark ALLSTATE.COM by inverting the letters "a" and "t".
The disputed domain name redirects Internet users to a website located at <allstaterentersinsurance.com>. An extract from this website is exhibited as Annex F to the Complaint. The Respondent's website features a variety of advertising links concerning the field of insurance, including links to the Complainant and its direct competitors in the insurance market. For example, the website located at the disputed domain name features pay-per-click advertisements for 21st Century Insurance, State Farm Insurance and Liberty Mutual, among others.
On December 10, 2010 the Complainant emailed the Respondent pointing out that the Respondent was infringing the Complainant's rights by using the disputed domain name. The letter was sent to the Respondent by email to the address provided on the registration. Apparently no response was received. A copy of the email is exhibited at Annex G to the Complaint.
In the absence of evidence to the contrary from the Respondent, the Panel accepts the truth of the above evidence as adduced by the Complainant.
5. Parties’ Contentions
1. The Complainant submits that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights. It submits that the trademark ALLSTATE is famous and that the disputed domain name, because it includes a common typographical error of the trademark ALLSTATE is a form of "typosquatting".
2. The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interest in the disputed domain name. In particular, the Complainant submits that the Respondent is not commonly known by the trademark ALLSTATE and the use made is not a bona fide offering of goods and services.
3. The disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith. The Complainant submits that:-
(i) Bad faith is shown where the Respondent is using a well-known trademark and there is no legitimate use of the trademark.
(ii) There is a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant's trademark rights.
(iii) There is no question that the Respondent knew or should have known about the Complainant's trademark rights.
(iv) Typosquatting itself is evidence of bad faith registration of a domain name.
(v) The Respondent is using the disputed domain name for commercial gain by redirecting Internet users to a third party website that features advertising links to the Complainant as its competitors.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
Based upon the evidence of the Complainant's rights in the trademark ALLSTATE the Panel finds that the Complainant has rights in the trademark ALLSTATE.
The distinction between the trademark ALLSTATE and the disputed domain name is that the second "t" and second "a" as used in the domain name inverted. The Complainant submits that this is a common and predictable misspelling of the trademark ALLSTATE. It submits that this constitutes "typosquatting" which is a form of cybersquatting in which a respondent registers and uses a domain name that is a common mis-spelling or predictable mis-typing of a distinctive mark in order to take advantage of typographical errors made by Internet users seeking a complainant's commercial website. It relies upon a number of earlier authorities including Wachovia Corporation v. American Consumers First, WIPO Case No. D2004-0150 (July 7, 2004), and Société des Produits Nestlé v. Belize Domain WHOIS Service Lt., WIPO Case No. D2009-0392 (June 2, 2009).
The Panel accepts the force of this submission and finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the trademark ALLSTATE.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
There is no evidence before the Panel that the Respondent is commonly known by the trademark ALLSTATE or by the mark or name “Allsttae”. It also finds in accordance with the Complainant's submissions that the use of a confusingly similar disputed domain name does not constitute legitimate use.
In the absence of submissions to the contrary from the Respondent the Panel finds for the Complainant in respect of this element.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Complainant relies upon paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy to the effect that bad faith exists where the Respondent uses the domain name to intentionally attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant's marks as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of its website. It submits that that is the case here.
The Panel accepts this submission. There is evidence of confusion supported by the use made by the Respondent when using the disputed domain name to access its website which is in commercial competition with that of the Complainant.
There is no evidence before the Panel that the Respondent is using the Complainant's well-known trademark in a legitimate manner.
The Complainant also relies upon earlier UDRP decisions including National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, Inc., d/b/a Minor League Baseball v. John Zuccarini, WIPO Case No. D2000-1011 (January 21, 2003) in which the panel stated that "typosquatting is inherently parasitic and of itself evidence of bad faith". In the Panel's view, that is the position here.
Accordingly, the Complainant succeeds in proving this element of the Policy.
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 <allsttae.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Clive Duncan Thorne
Dated: April 20, 2011