WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Cleartrip Private Limited v. Ranveer Singh

Case No. D2014-0195

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Cleartrip Private Limited of Mumbai, India, represented by iBRANDPROTECT, India.

The Respondent is Ranveer Singh of Haryana, India.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <cleartripbusiness.com> is registered with GoDaddy.com, LLC (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on February 7, 2014. On February 7, 2014, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On February 7, 2014, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details.

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 February 21, 2014. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was March 13, 2014. On March 1, 2014, the Center received an email communication from the Respondent. On March 3, 2014, the Center received an email communication from the Complainant. The Respondent did not submit any formal response. Accordingly, the Center notified the parties about the commencement of panel appointment process on March 14, 2014.

The Center appointed Harini Narayanswamy as the sole panelist in this matter on March 25, 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 Complainant is in the business of online travel bookings and offers various travel services from the domain name <cleartrip.com>. The Complainant owns the trademarks CLEARTRIP and CLEARTRIP FOR BUSINESS and has registered trademark rights in these marks and other variants of the CLEARTRIP marks.

The details of the Complainant’s registered trademarks are:

CLEARTRIP, Figurative Trademark No. 1416199 dated January 24, 2006 in class 39;

CLEARTRIP.COM, Trademark No. 1648540 dated January 31, 2008 in class 39

CLEARTRIP GRAPHS, Trademark No. 1812961, dated April 29 2009 in class 39

CLEARTRIP MOBILE, Trademark No. 1812962, dated April 29 2009 in class 39

CLEARTRIP GRAPHS, Trademark No. 1812963, dated April 9, 2009 in classes 39 and 42

CLEAR TRIP CALENDAR, Trademark No. 1812964, dated April 29, 2009 in class 39 and 42

CLEARTRIP, Figurative Trademark No. 1416200, dated January 24, 2006 in class 42

CLEARTRIP.COM, Trademark No 1648541 dated January 31, 2008 in class 42

CLEARTRIP FOR BUSINESS, Trademark No. 1812962, dated April 29, 2009 in classes 39 and 42.

The Complainant is the registered owner the domain name <cleartripforbusiness.com> from June 2008 and operates a website from the domain name <cleartrip.com> since 2005. The Respondent registered the disputed domain name <cleartripbusiness.com> on October 16, 2013.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant states it was incorporated in the year 2005 under the name and style “Cleartrip Travel Services Private Limited” and changed its name to “Cleartrip Private Limited” in 2012. The Complainant states it currently has more than four hundred employees and facilitates over fifteen thousand booking per day and it has offices in United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. The Complainant claims the disputed domain name alludes to its business, its trading name and to its trademarks. The Complainant asserts it has conceived, adopted and used the CLEARTRIP marks and the public has come to associate the marks exclusively with the Complainant.

The Complainant states its marks have acquired goodwill, reputation, distinctiveness and secondary meaning associated with its services. It has been recognized for its superior quality services and adjudged “India’s favorite Travel Website” at Condé Nast Travelers Readers’ India Travel Awards 2010 and recognized as India’s best travel website at PC World’s Best Indian Websites Award 2006. Skoch Consultancy Services and Red Hat have also awarded the Complainant excellence in Open Source Technologies Implementation in 2007. The Jury of “PC World Web Awards 2008” has recognized the Complainant as the “Google of Travel Sites”. The Complainant states that it was awarded the prestigious “WITovation Award in the year 2001 for its pioneering efforts in use of mobile technology for travel. The Complainant contends the average web traffic to its website is about 160,000 to 170,000 visits per day and Alexa.com ranks the Complainant as the 199th most visited website in India.

The Complainant states it has twenty-five other domain names with the CLEARTRIP mark, including the domain name <cleartripforbusiness.com>. The only difference between the Complainant’s domain name and the disputed domain name is the absence of the word “for”, urges the Complainant. The Complainant states that its marks are extensively advertised through various media like newspaper, radio and other electronic channels and has spent INR 50 crores in the year 2012-13 to promote its trade name, domain names and trademarks. It has filed its balance sheet and published newspapers reports and articles as evidence.

The Complainant states the website resolving to the disputed domain name contains a link to its primary domain name <cleartrip.com>. Further, the Respondent’s website has used the trademark and logo of the Complainant’s CLEARTRIP mark and also copied the Complainant’s trademark, CLEARTRIP FOR BUSINESS. The upshot of the Complainant’s argument is that the Respondent is trying to pass off its services as that of the Complainant.

The Complainant contends the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to its registered mark and incorporates the trademark in entirety. The Complainant further argues that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name as the Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name and is not licensed to use the mark. There is no indication that the Respondent has any trademark registration or uses the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods. The use of the Complainant’s business name, identical logo and linking the disputed domain name with the Complainant’s website shows prior knowledge of its mark, states the Complainant. Attracting Internet users, misleading people by misrepresenting to be the Complainant, disrupting the business of the Complainant and providing incomplete WhoIs contact information further shows the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith. The Complainant therefore requests for transfer of the disputed domain name.

B. Respondent

The Respondent did not formally reply to the Complainant’s contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

The Panel is satisfied that the Respondent has been given a fair opportunity to represent its case in these proceedings. The Respondent has however chosen to send a very brief email and has not participated in the proceedings by filing a detailed Response to the Complaint. The Respondent’s email to the Center is dated March 1, 2014. The entire contents of the email is reproduced here:

“Dear Sir

Thanks for your email.

You may close this domain regarding this problem.

But i am informing you that our company name is CLEAR TRIP llp (LIMITED LIABILITY PARTNERSHIP).

If you have any issue regarding this you may close this domain.

We will book another domain by other company.

Thanks Regards

Ranveer”

The Panel now proceeds to discuss the merits of the case.

The Policy under paragraph 4(a) stipulates that the Complainant ought to establish three requisite elements in these proceedings in order to obtain the remedy of transfer of the disputed domain name.

(i) The disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and

(ii) The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and

(iii) The disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith by the Respondent.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The first requirement of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy stipulates the Complainant has to establish the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark in which it has rights.

The Complainant has provided extensive evidence showing its use of the trademark CLEARTRIP in commerce. The Complainant’s evidence includes copies of its Indian trademark registrations for the CLEARTRIP marks and its variants, the balance sheet of its company, certificate of incorporation of its company, newspaper articles and reports and other media references to the Complainant. The Complainant has also filed documents that establish it has registered trademark rights in the trademark CLEARTRIP FOR BUSINESS. The evidence filed by the Complainant therefore establishes that the Complainant has registered and unregistered trademark rights in the trademarks CLEARTRIP and CLEARTRIP FOR BUSINESS and that the marks have become distinct identifiers of its services. The Panel also notes the Complainant’s rights in the trademark CLEARTRIP has been recognized in a previous domain name dispute Clear Trip Travel Service Private Limited v. Rahul Bhatnagar, No. INDRP/368, filed before the National Internet Exchange of India. concerning the domain name <cleartripindia.co.in>.

The disputed domain name consists of the entire trademark CLEARTRIP along with the word “business”. As urged by the Complainant, it is well established and UDRP panels have consistently held that the addition of generic terms or words with the entire trademark does not sufficiently distinguish the domain name from the mark so as to avoid confusing similarity. See for instance Nobis Inc. v. Organization, WIPO Case No. D2014-0068 where it was discussed that if the disputed domain name contains the trademark in its entirety the use of generic words or abbreviations in the disputed domain name does not serve to distinguish the disputed domain name from the trademark in any significant way. Mere addition of generic or descriptive term does not exclude like hood of confusion when the domain name includes the trademark or a confusingly similar approximation, regardless of the other terms in the domain name Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Richard MacLeod d/b/a For Sale, WIPO Case No. D2000-0662, also see PRL USA Holdings, Inc. v. Spiral Matrix, WIPO Case No. D2006-0189.

In the present case, the use of the word “business” with the CLEARTRIP mark, the Panel finds, renders the disputed domain name confusingly similar to the trademark. Particularly when the Complainant’s other trademark CLEARTRIP FOR BUSINESS uses the same word, the addition of the generic term “business” with the entire CLEARTRIP trademark does not serve to distinguish the disputed domain name from the mark so as to avoid confusing similarity.

The Panel finds that the Complainant has established that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to a trademark in which it has rights. The Complainant has successfully established the first element under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The second element under paragraph 4 (a) of the Policy requires the Complainant to make a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Policy under paragraph 4(c), provides some circumstances by which a respondent may demonstrate rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, these are:

(i) Before any notice to you of the dispute, your use of or demonstrable preparations to use, the domain name or a name corresponding to the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; or

(ii) You (as an individual, business, or other organization) have been commonly known by the domain name, even if you have acquired no trademark or service mark rights; or

(iii) You are making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue.

The Panel finds there is no evidence on record that shows the Respondent has used the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. Further the Respondent does not appear to be using the disputed domain name in connection with any legitimate noncommercial or fair use purposes and the Respondent has no permission or license to use the Complainant’s trademark.

The Panel finds the name of the registrant organization provided by the Respondent in the WhoIs registration records is “Cleartrip LLP”. The Respondent in its email has stated: “Our company name is CLEAR TRIP llp (LIMITED LIABILITY PARTNERSHIP).” The Respondent has however not provided any evidence to prove whether CLEAR TRIP LLP is a legitimate entity. Further, the Respondent goes on to state, “If you have any issue regarding this you may close this domain. We will book another domain by other company.” The Respondent has indicated its willingness to relinquish the disputed domain name.

In the Panel’s view, the submissions made by the Respondent in its email communication, under the circumstances in the case, are indicative of the Respondent’s lack of rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Respondent has not attempted to provide any evidence to support its statements. The Respondent has made no attempt to rebut the allegations and submission made by the Complainant. The mere submission of a bald statement that the name of the registrant organization is “Cleartrip LLP”, bereft of supporting evidence, in the Panel’s view, does not establish any rights in favour of the Respondent. The Complainant has made a prima facie case and the Respondent has failed to provide any evidence demonstrating its rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

The Complainant has accordingly satisfied the second requirement of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The third element under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy requires the Complainant to establish that the disputed domain name was registered in bad faith and is being used in bad faith.

The Complainant has urged that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith on the grounds that the Respondent has used the Complainant’s mark, business name, identical logo and has linked the disputed domain name with the Complainant’s website. These actions by the Respondent, shows its prior knowledge of the Complainant’s mark and intentional use of the disputed domain name to attract Internet users. The Complainant has further argued that the Respondent has provided incomplete WhoIs contact information and misleads people by misrepresenting to be the Complainant.

The evidence on record shows the Complainant has indisputable rights in the CLEARTRIP trademarks; as discussed in the previous section, the Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name and uses it to mislead the public as to the origin and source of the disputed domain name by using a trademark that is obviously connected to the Complainant. The Respondent’s use of the Complainant’s logo, and providing a link from the disputed domain name to the Complainant’s portal, as asserted by the Complainant, shows the Respondent ought to have prior knowledge of the Complainant’s mark and this may be interpreted as bad faith registration. See Missoni S.p.A v. Amer Alkharabsheh, WIPO Case No. D2012-0078 (registration of the disputed domain name with prior knowledge of the complainant’s mark is bad faith registration).

The Respondent appears to be intentionally attracting customers based on the trademark of the Complainant, and given the circumstances in the present case, it is considered bad faith use of the disputed domain name under the Policy. The Panel finds the manner in which the Respondent is using the disputed domain name creates a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of the disputed domain name by the Complainant and considers it as bad faith registration and use of the disputed domain name, as envisaged under paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.

Having considered the submissions made by the parties and the facts and circumstances of the case, the Panel finds on balance, the Respondent has registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith.

The Complainant has satisfied the third requirement under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.

7. Decision

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 <cleartripbusiness.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Harini Narayanswamy
Sole Panelist
Date: April 8, 2014