WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Zions Bancorporation v. Virginia Arden
Case No. D2014-0771
1. The Parties
Complainant is Zions Bancorporation, of Salt Lake City, Utah, United States of America, represented by Callister Nebeker & McCullough, United States of America.
Respondent is Virginia Arden, of Johns Island, South Carolina, United States of America.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <zionsbankk.com> is registered with Network Solutions, LLC (the "Registrar").
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on May 9, 2014. On May 9, 2014, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On May 12, 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on May 16, 2014. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was June 5, 2014. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent's default on June 6, 2014.
The Center appointed Jeffrey M. Samuels as the sole panelist in this matter on June 13, 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
Complainant Zions Bancorporation owns U.S. trademark registrations for the marks ZIONS BANK (Registration No. 2,381,006), ZIONSBANK.COM (Registration No. 2,531,436), and ZIONS (Registration No. 2,380,325), as used in connection with various banking and financial services. Complainant has used the ZIONS mark since at least as early as 1891, the ZIONS BANK mark since at least as early as 1992, and the ZIONSBANK.COM mark since at least as early as 1995. Complainant also owns the domain name <zionsbank.com>, which was registered on July 5, 1995, and from which Complainant advertises and offers its banking services.
The disputed domain name, <zionsbankk.com>, was registered on January 23, 2014. The disputed domain name resolves to a website containing links to sites featuring banking-related activities. One such link is listed as "Zions Bank."
5. Parties' Contentions
Complainant alleges that the disputed domain name is highly similar or identical to its registered trademarks. It notes that the disputed domain name includes the letter "k" after "zionsbank," which, according to Complainant, does not act to distinguish the disputed domain name from Complainant's registered marks.
Complainant asserts that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name. Complainant indicates that Respondent is not a licensee of Complainant's marks and has not otherwise obtained authorization to use Complainant's marks. Complainant further maintains that Respondent is not using the disputed domain name as part of a bona fide offering of goods or services and that Respondent's use of Complainant's marks may tarnish them.
With respect to the issue of bad faith registration and use, Complainant contends that Respondent is clearly trying to divert consumers of Complainant to Respondent's website by using the dominant portion of Complainant's marks in the disputed domain name and on the site. "Furthermore, by using the dominant portion of Complainant's marks in the Domain Name and on the associated website, Respondent is intentionally creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant's mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of Respondent's website."
Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel concludes that the disputed domain name, <zionsbankk.com>, is, for all intents and purposes, confusingly similar to the ZIONS, ZIONS BANK and ZIONSBANK.COM trademarks. The domain name incorporates, in full, the distinctive term "zions." The addition of the letter "k" to the term "bank" in the disputed domain name does not sufficiently distinguish the domain name from the ZIONS BANK and ZIONSBANK.COM marks.
The Panel further finds that Complainant has rights in the ZIONS BANK, ZIONSBANK.COM, and ZIONS marks. The evidence establishes that Complainant owns trademark registrations for such marks and has used them in commerce for a substantial number of years.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Panel rules that Complainant has met its burden of establishing that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. As noted above, the disputed domain name, which is either identical or confusingly similar to Complainant's marks, resolves to a site with sponsored links to banking-related sites. Respondent, presumably, earns income every time an Internet user clicks on one of the sponsored links.
As such, the Panel finds that that the disputed domain name is not being used in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. There also is no evidence that Respondent is commonly known by the disputed domain name or that Respondent is making a fair or noncommercial use of the disputed domain name without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel holds that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith. The disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant's marks and resolves to a site with sponsored links to banking-related sites, including a site labeled "Zions Bank." Respondent, presumably, earns money each time one clicks on one of the links.
The Panel, therefore, concludes that, by using the disputed domain name, Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to her site or other on-line location by creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainant's marks as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of such sites or of the products or services on such sites, within the meaning of paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy. See, e.g., L'Oréal Bioteherm, Lancóme Parfums et Beauté & Cie v. Unasi, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2005-0623 ("[s]uch exploitation of the reputation of trademarks to obtain click-through commissions from the diversion of internet users is a common example of use in bad faith as referred to in paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy and identified in many previous decisions.")
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 <zionsbankk.com> be transferred to Complainant.
Jeffrey M. Samuels
Date: June 19, 2014