WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Go Daddy Operating Company, LLC v. Go Daadi / godaadi.com
Case No. D2014-0300
1. The Parties
Complainant is Go Daddy Operating Company, LLC of Scottsdale, Arizona, United States of America (“US”), represented internally.
Respondent is Go Daadi / godaadi.com of Bangalore, Karnataka, India.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <godaadi.com> (“Domain Name”) is registered with Go Canada Domains, Inc. (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on February 26, 2014. On February 27, 2014, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On February 27, 2014, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the Domain Name which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to Complainant on March 11, 2014, providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. Complainant filed an amendment to the Complaint on March 12, 2014.
The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amendment to 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on March 13, 2014. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was April 2, 2014. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on April 3, 2014.
The Center appointed Clive Elliott QC as the sole panelist in this matter on April 11, 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 Domain Name was registered with the Registrar on September 4, 2013.
Complainant asserts that is the world’s largest domain name registrar and web hosting provider, with over 12 million global customers and over 55 million domain names under management. Complainant also contends that by using the GO DADDY (registration no. 2558989 of April 9, 2002) and GODADDY.COM (registration no. 2945200 of April 26, 2005) marks (the “Trade Marks”), it offers domain registration, provides website hosting services, and offers other Internet services such as website design, email, SSL certificates, shopping carts and other products and services needed to build and maintain an online presence.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant asserts that it has spent a vast amount of time, effort and money advertising and promoting the Trade Marks throughout the United States and around the world and as a result the Trade Marks have become famous worldwide. Complainant further contends it has developed an enormous amount of goodwill in the Trade Marks.
Complainant submits that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Trade Marks because it consists of a misspelled and phonetically identical variation of the Trade Marks. Except for the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) designation “.com”, the Domain Name consists of “godaddy” spelt with a double “a” instead of a double “d” and replacing the “y” with an “i”, which sounds identical to Complainant's trade mark GO DADDY. Complainant contends that the misspelling of the Domain Name is not sufficient to distinguish it from Complainant’s marks, and it also creates a confusing similarity to the Trade Marks because when Internet users search for the Domain Name and web hosting services offered under the Go Daddy name, they find Respondent’s website and would likely be confused as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation and endorsement of Respondent’s directly competing website.
Complainant advises that it first used the GO DADDY Trade Marks around April 19, 1999 which is more than 14 years prior to Respondent’s registration of the Domain Name.
Complainant asserts that it became aware of the Domain Name registration on October 20, 2013. On October 30, 2013 it notified Respondent via email that the Domain Name was infringing on one or more of the Trade Marks. Complainant sent a further notice via email on January 8, 2014 reiterating its position and requesting that the Domain Name be transferred to Complainant. Complainant advises that it received no response to either email.
Complainant asserts that it has given no authorization to Respondent to use the Trade Marks in the Domain Name and as well as there being no connection between the parties, Respondent has no right or legitimate interest in the Domain Name. Complainant claims that the Domain Name is used for a website that is directly competing with it by advertising for identical goods and services (namely, domain name registrations and website hosting services) that Complainant offers using the registered GO DADDY Trade Marks.
Complainant also asserts that registration of the Domain Name for the purpose of offering services which directly compete with those offered by it under the GO DADDY Trade Marks demonstrates Respondent’s intent to disrupt the business of Complainant which is evidence of bad faith registration.
Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identity or Confusing Similarity
The Panel has no difficulty in concluding that Complainant is the owner of the GO DADDY and GODADDY.COM mark or name (hereinafter collectively referred to as the “Trade Marks”).
Complainant contends that it has acquired extensive goodwill and reputation in the Trade Marks. If, as Complainant has asserted, it is the world’s largest domain name registrar and web hosting provider, with over 12 million global customers and over 55 million domain names under management, this contention is clearly justified.
Further, there is some basis for the submission that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Trade Mark because it consists of a misspelled and phonetically identical variation of the Trade Mark. Respondent has had the opportunity but has failed to file a response and endeavour to explain, in accordance with the Policy and Rules, why it registered a domain name which is phonetically identical to and a misspelling of such a well-known trade mark belonging to another entity. As a result, the Panel finds that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Trade Mark.
Accordingly, the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy are met.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Respondent is not affiliated with Complainant and has not been authorized by Complainant to use and register its trade marks or names or to seek the registration of any domain name incorporating the Trade Mark.
The use by Complainant of the Trade Mark preceded the registration of the Domain Name. The Domain Name makes an obvious and direct reference to the Trade Mark and domain name registration, website hosting services, and other Internet services provided by Complainant.
Complainant alleges that the Domain Name is used for a website that is directly competing with it by advertising for identical goods and services (namely, domain name registrations and website hosting services) that Complainant offers using the Trade Mark.
In the absence of any denial the Panel accepts that the Domain Name was registered for such purpose. It is now well established that the registration of domain names for the purpose of redirecting enquiries or hits in circumstances such as the present is not consistent with rights or legitimate interests on Respondent’s part.
It is therefore established that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name under paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy requires that Respondent has registered and is using the Domain Name in bad faith.
It is again not difficult, in the absence of any evidence or submission to the contrary, to infer that Respondent knew or must have known of Complainant’s Trade Mark at the time it registered the Domain Name.
In the present case, the overall circumstances enable the Panel to infer that the Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith in accordance with paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.
For the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the Domain Name <godaadi.com> be transferred to Complainant.
Clive Elliott QC
Date: April 17, 2014