WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Zions Bancorporation v. Willis Pattison
Case No. D2014-0679
1. The Parties
Complainant is Zions Bancorporation of Salt Lake City, Utah, United States of America ("US"), represented by Callister Nebeker & McCullough, US.
Respondent is Willis Pattison, of Enfield, New Hampshire, US.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name, <zionsbanlk.com>, is registered with Network Solutions, LLC ("Registrar").
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center ("Center") on April 24, 2014. On April 25, 2014, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On April 25, 2014, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that Respondent is the registrant and providing the contact information and other details of the registration.
The Center verified that the Complaint satisfied the formal requirements of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy ("Policy" or "UDRP"), the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy ("Rules"), and the WIPO Supplemental Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy ("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 May 5, 2014. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was May 25, 2014. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent's default on May 26, 2014.
The Center appointed Debra J. Stanek as the sole panelist in this matter on June 2, 2014. The Panel finds that it was properly constituted. The Panel has submitted the Statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality and Independence required by the Center to ensure compliance with the Rules, paragraph 7.
4. Factual Background
Complainant is a banking and financial services company. It has used the mark ZIONS BANK for a range of banking and financial services for over 20 years. It owns several US registrations, including for the mark ZIONS BANK, registered in 2000, and for the mark ZIONSBANK.COM, registered in 2002. Complainant has owned the domain name <zionsbank.com> since 1995 and uses it to advertise and offer its services.
The disputed domain name was registered in January 2014. It appears that the domain name resolves to a "pay-per-click" page that displays links related to banking.
5. Parties' Contentions
1. Identical or Confusingly Similar
Complainant owns US federal trademark registrations for the marks ZIONS, ZIONS BANK, and ZIONSBANK.COM for its banking services.
The disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant's trademarks. The only difference between the ZIONSBANK.COM mark and the domain name is the letter "l" between the "n" and "k" in the term "bank" in the domain name, which reflects an easily made typographical error.
2. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Complainant has not licensed or authorized Respondent to use Complainant's marks in any domain name.
Respondent is not using the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. Instead, Respondent appears to direct visitors to third party sites through the results of banking-related searches.
Respondent's use of Complainant's marks is misleading and Respondent may be using them in conection with phishing and fraudulent activities.
3. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The disputed domain name is confusingly similar – and virtually identical to – Complainant's registered marks. Use of such a close domain name indicates that Respondent registered it primarily to disrupt Complainant's business.
The domain name is being used in connection with a website that provides links to banking and other services that are the same as or similar to those offered by Complainant.
By using the disputed domain name with the website, Respondent is intentionally creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainant.
Respondent did not reply to Complainant's contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
In order to prevail, a complainant must prove, as to the disputed domain name, that:
(i) it is identical or confusingly similar to a mark in which the complainant has rights;
(ii) the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect to it; and
(iii) it has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
Policy, paragraph 4(a). The Policy sets out examples of circumstances that may evidence a respondent's rights or legitimate interests in a domain name, see Policy, paragraph 4(c), as well as circumstances that may evidence a respondent's bad faith registration and use, see Policy, paragraph 4(b).
Although Respondent has not answered the Complaint, a default does not automatically result in a finding for Complainant. Rather, Complainant continues to have the burden of establishing the required elements. The Panel may, however, draw such inferences from Respondent's default as it considers appropriate. See Rules, paragraph 14(b).
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
Complainant has established its rights in the marks ZIONS, ZIONS BANK, and ZIONSBANK.COM by virtue of the evidence of its US federal trademark registrations.
Respondent's domain name is not identical to any of Complainant's marks. However, the disputed domain name differs from Complainant's ZIONS BANK and ZIONSBANK.COM marks only by the inclusion of the letter "l" before the "k" in "bank" (and in the case of the first mark, removal of a space and addition of the generic Top-Level Domain ".com").
The Panel is of the view that, as a general matter, a domain name is likely to be confusingly similar to a mark if it incorporates the mark or a variation of the mark. Here, the domain name consists of the ZIONS BANK and ZIONSBANK.COM marks with a typographical error that may be made by visitors seeking the "www.zionsbank.com" website.
The Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to a mark in which Complainant has rights.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Panel, consistent with the consensus view, finds that a complainant may establish that a respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of a disputed domain name by making a prima facie showing that a respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests. See WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Second Edition ("WIPO Overview 2.0"), paragraph 2.1 (after a complainant makes a prima facie case, the burden of production to show rights or legitimate interests in the domain name shifts to the respondent).
Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy sets out the following examples:
(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 to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue.
Nothing in the WhoIs record or other information in the case file suggests that that Respondent, who appears to be an individual, is or could be known by the disputed domain name. Respondent is not making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name. The domain name seems to be used to redirect visitors to other websites by through search results made available on the web page. Presumably, this generates "click through" revenue for the Registrar or Respondent or both.
The Panel concludes that Complainant has established that Respondent lacks any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
A complainant must establish that the domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith. The Policy sets out four non-exclusive circumstances, evidence of which may establish bad faith (see Policy, paragraph 4(b)(i)-(iv)):
(1) Registering the domain name primarily to sell it for more than documented out-of-pocket costs (see Policy, paragraph 4(b)(i)).
(2) Registering the domain name to prevent the owner of the trademark from reflecting the mark in a domain name, where there is a pattern of such conduct (see Policy, paragraph 4(b)(ii)).
(3) Registering the domain name primarily to disrupt the business of a competitor (see Policy, paragraph 4(b)(iii)).
(4) Using the domain name to intentionally attempt to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to [respondent's] web site or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with complainant's mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of [respondent's] web site or location or a product or service on [the respondent's] web site or location, (see Policy, paragraph 4(b)(iv)).
Complainant's rights in its marks long predate the registration of the disputed domain name. The Panel finds it is probable that Respondent was aware of Complainant's marks and related banking services at the time the domain name was registered. Under these circumstances, including the adverse inferences drawn by Respondent's failure to respond, the Panel finds that Complainant has established that Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name 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 <zionsbanlk.com> be transferred to Complainant.
Debra J. Stanek
Date: June 18, 2014