WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Commonwealth Bank of Australia v. WhoisGuard Protected, WhoisGuard, Inc. / Wallamedia
Case No. D2014-0082
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Commonwealth Bank of Australia of Perth, Australia, represented by Wrays, Australia.
The Respondent is WhoisGuard Protected, WhoisGuard, Inc. of Panama / Wallamedia of Santa Monica, California, United States of America.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <bankwestapp.com> is registered with eNom (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on January 21, 2014. On January 21, 2014, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On January 24, 2014, 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 3, 2014 providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting the Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint or an amended Complaint. The Complainant filed an amended Complaint on February 5, 2014.
The Center verified that the Complaint and 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 February 6, 2014. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was February 26, 2014. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on February 27, 2014.
The Center appointed Charters Macdonald-Brown as the sole panelist in this matter on March 5, 2014. 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 disputed domain name <bankwestapp.com> was registered on September 30, 2013.
The Complainant is a well-known Australian bank. Since acquiring the Bank of Western Australia Ltd in December 2008, the Complainant has been associated with the Bankwest brand.
The Bank of Western Australia Ltd has provided financial services in Australia since 1894 under the name Agricultural Bank of Western Australia. In 1944 the Agricultural Bank of Western Australia changed its name to Rural and Industries Bank of Western Australia (which was abbreviated to “R&I”) and in 1994 R&I changed its name to Bank of Western Australia Ltd and rebranded as “Bankwest”.
When Bank of Western Australia Ltd was acquired by the Complainant it became part of Australia’s largest provider of financial services. It is currently operated as a semi-autonomous business division within the Complainant. The Complainant is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, and its 2013 Annual Report attributed an annual profit of AUD 561 million to its “Bankwest” branded operations. The Complainant appears to have mistakenly stated that the annual profit attributed to its “Bankwest” branded operations is AUD 56 million in the Complaint, however nothing turns on this.
The Complainant provides at least the following services under the “Bankwest” brand: banking services, financial and financing services and information and business services relating to banking and finance.
The Complainant relies on numerous registered trade marks in Australia for BANKWEST (the “Mark”) on its own, with additional elements and with devices as well as “Bankwest” as a trading name of the Complainant. The following Australian registrations consist solely of the Mark and are the most relevant for the purposes of the Complaint:
- registration number 628389 in class 6, registered on 26 April 1994;
- registration number 628390 in class 9, registered on 26 April 1994;
- registration number 628391 in class 16, registered on 26 April 1994;
- registration number 628392 in class 25, registered on 26 April 1994;
- registration number 628393 in class 35, registered on 26 April 1994;
- registration number 628394 in class 36, registered on 26 April 1994; and
- registration number 628395 in class 41, registered on 26 April 1994.
The Respondent’s identity and contact details were shielded by WhoisGuard Inc.’s privacy protection service. Pursuant to a verification request from the Center, the Registrar provided registrant and contact details for the Respondent. These stated that the Respondent is called Wallamedia and is based in Santa Monica, California, USA.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that:
(i) the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trade mark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights;
(ii) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name; and
(iii) the Respondent has registered and subsequently used and is still using the disputed domain name in bad faith.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
According to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, for the Complainant to succeed in obtaining its requested order for transfer of the disputed domain name, it must prove each of the following:
(i) that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trade mark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights;
(ii) that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and
(iii) that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
Determination of identity or confusing similarity necessitates a comparison between the disputed domain name and the Mark. As noted by the panel in Dr. Ing. h.c.F. Porsche AG v. Vasiliy Terkin, WIPO Case No. D2003-0888, “… a domain name that wholly incorporates a Complainant’s registered mark may be sufficient to establish confusing similarity for the purposes of the UDRP.”.
The disputed domain name is comprised of three elements, in the following order: (i) the Mark; (ii) the word “app”; and (iii) the generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) “.com”.
Taking the three elements in reverse order, it is well established that the presence of the gTLD “.com” may typically be disregarded when comparing a domain name to a trade mark.
The word “app” in the context of the Internet is usually perceived to be an abbreviation of the word “application” meaning “application software”, being a small piece of software that can be downloaded onto a device and used to access the services of a particular entity, such as a bank. As the Complainant offers its own “app” called “Bankwest” (i.e. the name of the app is identical to the Mark) for download by its customers, the inclusion of the word “app” may serve to heighten confusion (Harrods Limited v. Peter Pierre, WIPO Case No. D2001-0456). The inclusion of the word “app” in the disputed domain name is therefore insufficient to distinguish the disputed domain name from the Mark.
The remaining element of the disputed domain name is identical to the Mark.
The Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Mark.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant contends that:
(i) the Respondent has never been authorized by the Complainant to register a domain name incorporating the Bankwest brand;
(ii) the Respondent has never been authorized by the Complainant to use the Bankwest brand in any way whatsoever;
(iii) the Respondent had not made any use of the disputed domain name in a way that establishes a legitimate interest arising from a bona fide offering of goods or services;
(iv) the Respondent is not making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name; and
(v) the Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name.
The Panel is satisfied that the Complainant has made out a prima facie case against the Respondent, which requires rebuttal. In the absence of any response from the Respondent and any obvious reason as to how or why the Respondent could be said to have any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no such rights or legitimate interests.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy sets out a non-exhaustive list of circumstances which indicate that the Respondent may have been acting in bad faith.
In particular, paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy states that “by using the domain name, you [the Respondent] have intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to your web site or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant's mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of your web site or location or of a product or service on your web site or location.”
The Panel considers that the circumstances described in paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy apply in this case and indicate that the Respondent has acted in bad faith. The bad faith conduct is demonstrated by the fact that the disputed domain name resolves to a page which features the disputed domain name in a large font at the top of the page and lists a number of links below, all of which seem to be related to credit cards. These links lead to further pages of links which list the Complainant’s competitors in the financial sector. The Panel assumes that the Respondent benefits from click-through advertising revenue each time an internet user clicks on one of the links displayed on the page. In Nine West Development Corporation v. Registrant  / Moniker Privacy Services / Registrant : Domain Administrator, WIPO Case No. D2008-0154, it was held that the diversion of Internet users in order to obtain click-through commission is an indication of bad faith.
In the Panel’s opinion, the Respondent is trying to attract Internet users to its page in order to generate click-through commission through the creation of a false link with the Complainant.
The Panel finds that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
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 <bankwestapp.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: March 18, 2014