WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Virgin Enterprises Limited v. None, Salman Faris Paravakkal / PrivacyProtect.org
Case No. D2013-0774
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Virgin Enterprises Limited of London, United Kingdom of Great Britian and Northern Ireland (“Unitied Kindom”); Geneva Branch, Geneva, Switzerland, represented by Stobbs IP Limited, United Kingdom.
The Respondent is None, Salman Faris Paravakkal of Malappuram of Kerala, India / PrivacyProtect.org, of Nobby Beach, Queensland, Australia.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <virginfone.com> is registered with PDR Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on May 1, 2013. On May 2, 2013, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On May 2, 2013, 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 May 7, 2013 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 May 17, 2013.
The Center verified that the Complaint 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 May 23, 2013. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was June 12, 2013. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on June 14, 2013.
The Center appointed Michael J. Spence as the sole panelist in this matter on July 2, 2013. 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 the proprietor of a group of over 200 companies operating worldwide with over 40,000 employees and an annual group turnover in excess of GBP 4.6 billion. One of those companies has, since 1999, provided mobile phone services in the United Kingdom with over 4 million subscribers. The Complainant’s operations are carried on under the trade mark VIRGIN, usually in association with some additional word describing the particular services offered, such as “virgin mobile”', “'virgin trains”, “virgin holidays”', “virgin radio” and so forth. The Respondent operates a website at the disputed domain name, apparently for commercial gain, using a logo and branding imitating that of the Complainant.
The disputed domain name was registered on September 29, 2012.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to its VIRGIN trade mark; that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name; and that it has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Finding
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The disputed domain name contains the Complainant’s trade mark in its entirety. The addition of the word “fone” does nothing to distinguish the disputed domain name from the Complainant’s trade mark. Far from distinguishing the disputed domain name from the Complainant’s trade mark, this material reinforces the suggestion of a connection with the Complainant’s trade mark, both because the word is descriptive of mobile telephone services offered by the Complainant, and because of the Complainant’s widely known practice of using its trade mark in conjunction with words descriptive of its services.
The Panel therefore finds that the Complainant has established the first element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy in relation to the disputed domain name.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
It is for the Complainant to establish, at least prima facie that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed name (Croatia Airlines d.d. v. Modern Empire Internet Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2003-0455, Belupo d.d. v. WACHEM d.o.o., WIPO Case No. D2004-0110).
In this case the Respondent has no connection with the Complainant or its trade mark. The Complainant has an extremely strong reputation in its trade mark and the likelihood of confusion is very strong. Moreover, the Respondent uses a logo and branding at its website imitating that of the Complainant. It is clear that use creating such a strong likelihood of confusion cannot give rise to rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. The Respondent has not submitted a Response: and has therefore not rebutted the Complainant’s prima facie case.
The Panel therefore finds that the Complainant has established the second element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy in relation to the disputed domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
In this case the Respondent appears to be attempting to exploit the strong likelihood of confusion between the disputed domain name and the Complainant’s trade mark for commercial gain by designing its website at the disputed domain name to have the look and feel of one of the Complainant’s websites (as evidence in annex 7 of the Complaint). Such circumstances constitute perhaps the clearest case of registration and use in bad faith.
The Panel therefore finds that the Complainant has established the third element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy in relation to the disputed domain name.
For 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, <virginfone.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Michael J. Spence
Date: July 13, 2013