WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

United States Cellular Corporation v. Ready Asset

Case No. D2014-0644

1. The Parties

The Complainant is United States Cellular Corporation of Chicago, Illinois, United States of America (the “United States”), represented by Sidley & Austin LLP, United States of America.

The Respondent is Ready Asset of Xiamen, China.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <uscelullar.com> (the “Disputed Domain Name”) is registered with Above.com, Inc. (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on April 16, 2014. On April 17, 2014, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Disputed Domain Name. On April 23, 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 April 23, 2014 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 April 29, 2014.

The Center verified that 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 May 8, 2014. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was May 28, 2014. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on June 4, 2014.

The Center appointed Michael D. Cover as the sole panelist in this matter on June 19, 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 was founded in 1983 and owns and operates the fifth largest telecommunications network in the United States. The Complainant provides products and services to over 4.5 million customers in the United States. The Complainant first used its UNITED STATES CELLULAR trade mark in the United States in 1983 and registered the domain name <uscellular.com> in 1996. The Complainant first used its trademark U.S.CELLULAR in 1999.

The Complainant is the proprietor of a number of United States trademark registrations which consist of or contain the trademark U.S.CELLULAR for a range of goods and services. The earliest of these has a registration date of November 19, 2002.

The Respondent is Ready Asset of Xiamen, China.

The Disputed Domain Name, which was registered in November 2013, resolves to a parking page displaying commercial links, certain of which relate to goods and services of competitors of the Complainant operating in the cell (mobile) phone and telecommunications area.

The Complainant attempted to resolve this matter by sending a cease and desist letter to what it then thought was the proper Respondent but no response was ever received by the Complainant.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant submits that the Disputed Domain Name is confusingly-similar and, in fact, almost identical to the Complainant’s trademark U.S.CELLULAR, in which it has rights. It states that domain names that are simply based on the misspelling of trademarks are nonetheless often regarded as confusingly similar with such trademarks and that such insignificant modifications to trademarks are to be considered as typo-squatting, as such conduct seeks wrongfully to take advantage of errors by users in typing domain names into their browser bar. It cites a number of previous UDRP cases in support of this contention. It also submits that the addition of the generic Top-Leve Domain (gTLD) “.com” within the Disputed Domain Name does not alter whether a trademark and a domain name are to be considered as identical or confusingly similar.

The Complainant submits that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name. It states that the Complainant has not licensed or authorized the Respondent to use the Complainant’s trademark. It notes that the Disputed Domain Name points to the parking website which will be generating revenue on a pay-per-click basis. It goes on to submit that the Respondent’s typo-squatting does not constitute legitimate, noncommercial or fair use of the Disputed Domain Name.

The Complainant submits that the Disputed Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith. It notes that the Disputed Domain Name was registered in November 2013, some 30 years after the Complainant first used its trademark UNITED STATES CELLULAR and 14 years after it first used U.S.CELLULAR. It says that it is obvious that the Respondent must have known of the Complainant and its trademarks when the Respondent registered the Disputed Domain Name.

The Complainant draws the Panel’s attention to paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy in this regard, in that, by using the Disputed Domain Name in connection with the parking website, the Respondent is attempting to attract Internet users, for commercial purposes, to the Respondent’s website by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s trademark.

The Complainant concludes by requesting that the Panel transfer the Disputed Domain Name to the Complainant.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

The Complainant is required to demonstrate on the balance of probabilities that the Dispute Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to its trademark U.S.CELLULAR, in which it has rights, that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name and that the Disputed Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Panel finds that the Disputed Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark U.S.CELLULAR, in which it registered rights for the purposes of the Policy. The Complainant has also established Common Law rights in the trademark U.S.CELLULAR through its extensive use of that trademark. The Disputed Domain Name incorporates the Complainant’s trademark U.S.CELLULAR in its entirety, with only the deletion of the full stops and the misspelling of the word ‘cellular’. Such misspelling and the removal of the punctuation does not alter the fact the Complainant’s trademark is the dominant feature of the Disputed Domain Name and the Panel accepts the submission of the Complainant that this is an instance of typo-squatting. The addition of the gTLD “.com” makes no difference to the assessment of identical or confusingly similar.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Panel accepts that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name. The Respondent has not been authorized or licensed by the Complainant to use its trademark.

There is no evidence to suggest that the Respondent has, before notice of the dispute, made demonstrable preparations to use the Disputed Domain Name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. There is also no evidence to suggest that the Respondent has been commonly known by the Disputed Domain Name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the reputation of the Complainant’s trademark. The evidence is to the contrary, in that the Disputed Domain Name resolved to a parking website, which offered goods and services of the Complainant’s competitors. There is evidence therefore that the Respondent has, by the use of the parking services, sought to attract, for commercial gain, internet users to that website by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s trademark U.S.CELLULAR.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The Panel accepts that the Respondent has registered and is using the Disputed Domain Name in bad faith. The Complainant’s trade mark is wellknown and the Panel infers that the Respondent must have known of the Complainant’s trademark when registering the Disputed Domain Name. As has already been noted in this decision, the use of the Disputed Domain Name in connection with the parking website establishes on the balance of probabilities that that the Respondent has sought to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to that parking website by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s trademark U.S.CELLULAR.

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, <uscelullar.com>, be transferred to the Complainant.

Michael D. Cover
Sole Panelist
Date: July 3, 2014