WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Zions Bancorporation v. Regina Sitwell
Case No. D2014-0773
1. The Parties
Complainant is Zions Bancorporation, of Salt Lake City, Utah, United States of America (“U.S.”), represented by Callister Nebeker & McCullough, U.S.
Respondent is Regina Sitwell, of New Albany, Indiana, U.S.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <zionsbankc.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 12, 2014, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On May 13, 2014, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that 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 15, 2014. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was June 4, 2014. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on June 5, 2014.
The Center appointed Jeffrey M. Samuels as the sole panelist in this matter on June 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
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, as well as mortgage lending. 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, <zionsbankc.com>, was registered on January 23, 2014. The disputed domain name resolves to a website containing related links to vacation-related sites.
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 “c” after “zionsbank”, which, according to Complainant, does not act to distinguish the disputed domain name from Complainant’s registered marks. “This appears to be an effect to take advantage of users seeking to find zionsbank.com and the services offered at that site, but who mistakenly type the domain name with one extra letter”, Complainant asserts.
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. “Instead, Respondent appears to be using the Domain Name to provide various banking-related search queries that direct consumers to the websites of third parties.”
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 website. According to Complainant, the website at the disputed domain name has posted links for websites, some of which appear to compete with services rendered under Complainant’s trademarks, with the apparent intention of generating “click-through revenue” for Respondent. “Furthermore, by the 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 Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel concludes that the disputed domain name <zionsbankc.com> is confusingly similar to the ZIONS, ZIONS BANK and ZIONSBANK.COM trademarks.
The disputed domain name incorporates, in full, the distinctive term “zions”. The addition of the letter “c” to the term “bank” in the disputed domain name does not sufficiently distinguish the disputed 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 confusingly similar to Complainant’s marks, resolves to a website with links to vacation-related websites. As contended by Complainant, Respondent apparently intends to earn income every time an Internet user clicks on one of the related 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 website with links to vacation-related websites. 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 website 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 websites, within the meaning of paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.1 See, e.g., L’Oréal Bioteherm, Lancóme Parfums et Beauté & Cie v. Unasi, Inc, WIPO Case No. D2005-0623 (“Such 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 <zionsbankc.com> be transferred to Complainant.
Jeffrey M. Samuels
Date: June 19, 2014
1 It does not appear that Complainant uses any of its marks in connection with vacation or travel services; thus, the evidence does not support a finding that the linked sites compete with services offered by Complainant under its marks. However, the disputed domain name, itself, clearly gives rise to a likelihood of confusion with Complainant’s marks, and is being used for commercial gain.